The Adelaide Showground holds many of Adelaide's most popular events, including the Royal Adelaide Show.
The Showground (also popularly known as the Wayville Showgrounds) is located in the inner-southern Adelaide suburb of Wayville, just south of Greenhill Road. They are bordered by Goodwood Road (east), Leader Street (south), the railway line (west) and Rose Terrace (north). The Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia (RAHS) has controlled the site since the 1920s, the land having been purchased by the South Australian government prior to the First World War. The Royal Show moved to the present site in 1925.
The Showground has one of the largest under-cover exhibition spaces in the Southern Hemisphere, and hosts over 140 exhibitions and conferences each year, as well as University of Adelaide and University of South Australia examinations. The RAHS also leases the former Investigator Science and Technology Centre to the Edge Church.
In 2008 Premier Mike Rann announced that the largest rooftop solar installation in Australia would be installed on the new Goyder Pavilion, the centrepiece of the Adelaide Showground upgrade. The $8 million investment saw 10,000 square metres of solar panels installed, generating 14,00 mega-watt hours of solar electricity, the equivalent to powering 200 South Australian homes and saving 1,400 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. The size of the project meant that the Adelaide Showground is registered as a power station.
The main arena of the Showground, which at its peak in the 1920s and 1930s held 35,000 people, but now can hold approximately 14,000, was known as the Speedway Royal during its heyday from 1926 until 1934, and is sometimes referred to as "The birthplace of Australian Speedway", even though dirt track speedway in Australia actually started in Maitland, New South Wales, in 1923. The Speedway was held on an egg-shaped track that has been the main arena since 1926.
The track itself has a dirt and sand mixture over a concrete base and is 510 metres (560 yards) in length. When used it was one of the fastest speedways in Australia with wide open corners and both the front and back straights being over 90 metres (98 yards) in length. In 1928, Wayville was promoted as "The World's Fastest Dirt Track Speedway".
Wayville stopped hosting speedway meetings after 1934. Reasons for this remain unclear, though one theory is that as the arena was also used year-round as Adelaide's harness racing track it was felt that the speedway meetings chopped the track up too much. Another theory was that due to the Great Depression, the promoters could no longer afford to run meetings at the venue. Other than various demonstration runs at the Royal Adelaide Show, speedway would not return to Wayville until 1986, a gap of 52 years. This event was the first West End Speedway International in February 1986 featuring some of the worlds best motorcycle speedway riders. Wayville has also hosted the Australian Solo Championship in 1928 (6 laps), 1929 (3 laps), 1930 (3 laps), 1931 (6 laps), 1932 (3 laps) and again in 2002. It also was the Adelaide venue for the short lived Series 500 (Australian Masters Series) between 1995 and 2000, which featured world championship riders.