Trade Fair Rhodesia 1978
29th April – 7th May, 1978
In 1978, Rhodesia held its nineteenth annual Trade Fair Rhodesia. The first Trade Fair was opened in May, 1960, by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, when it was known as the Central African Trade Fair. From 1969, it became known as Trade Fair Rhodesia.
Situated in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city, the Trade Fair was Rhodesia’s “shop window” for primary, secondary and tertiary industries which included agriculture, steel, coal, tobacco and textiles right down to African Home Crafts, to name but a few. The site covered an area of approximately 28 hectares and included 10 hectares which formed the original grant of land made to the “Rhodesian Landowners and Farmers Association” who first held an Agricultural Show on this same site in May, 1899. By 1978, Trade Fair Rhodesia boasted over one hundred permanent buildings, many of them having been specially constructed for the first Trade Fair, held in 1960.
The central and most prominent feature was the Fair Spire, originally known as the Skylon, was constructed for the first Trade Fair. The vast Exhibition Hall was originally called “The Main Hall” and later “The Hall of Rhodesian Industry”. It provided some 3,730m² of covered exhibition space completely unencumbered by any supporting pillars. In 1970, it was officially renamed The Tony Ellman-Brown Hall in memory of the late Tony Ellman-Brown who had, for many years, been very closely associated with the Bulawayo Agricultural Society and Trade Fair.
Another well known pavilion, and perhaps the oldest, was the “Bourchier Wrey Hall” named in memory of Sir Bourchier Wrey, who was elected first President of the Bulawayo Agricultural Society in 1908. In the early days it was originally used for agricultural exhibits and by 1978 was extended and renovated several times. During 1940-41 it was used to accommodate R.A.F. personnel who formed the I.T.W. (Initial Training Wing) of the wartime Flying Training Scheme.”
- PTC Bulletin No 1 of 1978