The RNA is deeply saddened by the passing of a man who epitomised the spirit of the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) – Ken Crotty OAM.
Since coming to the show as a six year-old in 1939, he has attended every Ekka since and had been stewarding in the beef section for a remarkable 50 years.
In almost 80 years he only missed one show – in 1942 – when the Ekka was not held due to World War 2 when the Showgrounds were used as a staging depot for troops.
RNA Beef Committee Chairman Gary Noller paid tribute to a much loved member of the Ekka family who gave so much of his time.
“Ken lived and breathed the Ekka,’’ he said.
“His selfless dedication to ensuring our beef competitions were conducted to the highest standards over many decades is an enduring part of the legacy Ken has left,’’ he said.
“He gave so much to the Ekka, he loved what the show stood for – the people, the traditions, the competitions.”
A butcher by trade, Ken started stewarding for beef cattle in 1968 and became an honorary council steward in 1981.
In 2010, the RNA bestowed its highest honour when he was awarded the prestigious Ekka legend award.
The Show Legend is a celebrated award that recognises the resolute dedication and effort made by an individual to both the RNA and the Ekka.
After beginning his apprenticeship as a butcher in 1946 as a 14-year-old, Ken spent 17 years in the trade before studying to become a State meat inspector.
Mr Noller said it was this expertise in the beef industry that made Ken such a respected and admired figure at the Ekka.
“He was such a generous man in many ways, he spent a large amount of time utilising all his knowledge and skills to mentor other stewards,’’ he said.
“We are so indebted to him, his knowledge, integrity, expertise, record keeping and wonderful rapport he had with everyone is going to be sadly missed.”
In 2014, Ken was awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) medal for his service to the agricultural show movement in Queensland, and to the community.
Mr Noller said like the Ekka legend award it was richly deserved and paid tribute to what Ken has given to the Queensland beef industry and the show movement.
“The Ekka won’t be the same again, our beef competitions and the industry are forever in his debt,’’ he said.
“He has left an incredible Ekka legacy, one that we will honour for generations to come.”