Monday, 7 July 2008

Horse racing as in the old times

The Oak Park Amateur Picnic Race Club was formed in 1904 and was then known as the Lyndurst Amateur Race Club. The first President was J.H.S. Barnes, Secretary C. Maunsell and there were 36 original members. Races were held annually on the Wednesday and Thursday of the week in which the 24th May fell. Membership to the Club was two pound two shillings.
From records, the originals now in the Oxley Library in Brisbane, Lyndhurst Picnic Races were first held on the 15th May 1885 with the main race being "The Einasleigh Cup" of one and a half miles. The nomination fee for this race was two pounds and the prize, a Silver Cup valued at twenty-five pounds. Two further meetings were held in1889 & 1895.
The Lyndhurst Races were the big social event in the district and many people traveled hundreds of miles to Lyndhurst for the festivities. Some of the properties represented in the early days of the Club were "Maryvale", "Werrington", "Mt. Sturgeon", "Wandovale", "Springfield", "Oak Park", "Spring Creek", 'Cashmere", "Rosella Plains", "Christmas Creek", "Gregory Springs", and "Chudleigh Park". People arrived in buckboards and on horse back while all the camping gear was transported in buggies with up to eight horses in harness. J L Nimmo Esq., the uncle of the current Patron of the Club, was usually responsible for the Oak Park gear. In the early 1920's motor vehicles replaced some of the buggies and in 1922 the late N.V. Collins drove his family to the Lyndhurst Races in his first car.
In 1929 The Oak Park Amateur Picnic Race shifted from Lyndhurst to the present site on the Copperfield River on Oak Park. With the transfer to Oak Park the club introduced new activities to coincide with the Races and in 1929-30, a Camp Draft was held near the Oak Park Spring Paddock. 1930 also saw a demonstration of Polo Crosse by Roger White from "Mt Sturgeon".
Racehorses were the local Stations' mustering horses that showed a lot of pace, but it is to be remembered, all these stations had been breeding thoroughbred horses for almost 40 years. Races started at 9am and there have been as many as 130 horses competing in 11-12 races a day. At night the people danced, and there were even Merry-go-rounds for the children.
When the club shifted to Oak Park , so did Fred McLean. His catering was of the highest standards and meals could be obtained at all hours of the day and night. He brought a huge dining marquee, a fantastic collection of silver table ornaments and all his cooking gear from Hughenden by truck; a long way in 1929. Later, his daughter May and son-in-law Charlie Crossland carried on his catering business until 1974.
For many years, the racehorses were brought directly to the track and placed in a Central Paddock for three weeks before being released for 10 days training. They were strictly grass fed, but due to falling numbers and droughts, plus the red tape of racing today, the horses are no longer padocked and are corn fed.
During 2007 the local area had a large amount of rain prior to the races, and the horse races had to be cancelled due to the wet condition of the track. This was the first time that the horse races were replaced by foot races and other novelty events.
The Race Meetings have been held for over a hundred years and it is hoped that the traditions of the past will survive for many years to come.

Thanks to everyone for your hospitality and generosity...I'll never forget


Svana Domaradottir said...

i knew some australian men in holiday and i thoungh about you ^_^

Antonella said...

Before this year ends, I want to go see the race horses! I do not I ever seen in my life!


Crazy Drile said...

Hey Svana hahahhaha yeah! you got the style....Yiiiiiiihhhhaaaaaa!!!

Nice to see you here again


Crazy Drile said...

Antonella, this magical race is just one time per year (one week)...then this place is empty and alone waiting for 12 month.
Is a fact you should come, is a unique experience
You can smell magic in the air

Take it easy
Greetings in Italy

Crazy Drile

amy said...

wow ... you dress very formal in the outback .. and i can not believe that there are so many pretty ladies in the outback ...

they are very pretty with their lovely hats ...

Have a lovely raining day

Crazy Drile said...

Amy, normally bush people dont dress up so much, but we always make an exception for races. In the old days, Races were a once a year special event for bush comunities. You have to appreciate that in those days people didnt have vehicles, only the horse, so races were a big deal! Most people only got to dress up for the races or Christmas dinner


Gabriela said...

Seba: es tan lindo lo que estas viviendo que se me ocurre que es una película, pero es al revés, las películas están tomadas de ésto.-
Que preciosos los vestidos y sombreros de las niñas, es como de otra época. Quien se podría imaginar que en medio del desierto se puede ver algo así.

Me hacen falta tus comentarios. Te echo mucho de menos.

God bless you. Cheers

Ula said...

Good post.

Alexandra Bleile said...

no sabia donde poner mi comentario. donde estas ahora?? estoy en auckland finalmente y tal vez podemos meet up somewhere? tienes un mobil aqui tambien? solo tengo un numero australian: 0450650267 o mandame un email a
si todavia estas en new zealand, escribame por favor!! espero que te gueste tu viaje y que estes bien. besos, alexandra - la alemana de westech :)