Gunbower Racing Club
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Race Info Ph (President) - Mick 0428 509 982
GUNBOWER RACING CLUB HISTORY
The first Gunbower Race Meeting, as reported by the Riverine Herald, was held on Saturday, January the 22nd in 1881. According to the records the race course was situated opposite the Gunbower Hotel on Gunbower Station property.
The meeting was very successful with the weather being ideal, a large attendance and the five races were closely contested. The races then were a little different to today’s racing. They had a Maiden Plate, Gunbower Handicap, Handicap Trot, Handicap Hurdle and a Farmer’s Race. The Farmer’s Race was restricted to those within a radius of twenty miles and they had to race once around the course and they then had to draw a 30 cwt in a dray once around the course within half an hour after passing the post. A Horse’s performance worthy of mention was Blue Jacket who raced a total of seven miles in three consecutive races to win a 1st in the Handicap Hurdle, a 2nd in the Handicap Trot and a 3rd in the Gunbower Handicap. There were also foot races and numerous games of chance held throughout the day.
In 1893 a request was made to the Crown Lands Department of Melbourne that a piece of land be permanently reserved for public use as a race course and recreation ground in Gunbower. The grant of land comprising 127 acres, 1 rood, 15 perches (Fox Island Recreation Reserve) was approved by the Governor in council on 30th, January 1894. As this land was heavily timbered considerable work had to be undertaken before the reserve was ready for horse racing. In 1913 a letter was written to the Lands Department requesting permission to erect fencing and buildings on the Reserve property. This permission was granted and a number of the present buildings go back to that date. In 1981, the year of the Centenary, a new Administration block was built and opened by the late Eddie Hann our local member for Rodney. The money was raised by 60 members of the district by donating $200 each and the balance was matched by the Racecourse Licensing Board.
Records are consistent for most of the Race Club’s history and into the 1900s. During the years of First and Second World Wars records have been lost. Today the Club runs a Non Tab Meeting consisting of 6 races with the crowd averaging around 1500 to 2000 people and still maintains its classic country atmosphere.
Some notable achievements throughout the history of the Club are of J.J. Brereton, who was a local, and Secretary of the club for 35 years. Keeping family involved his son Basil was involved as a child performing various jobs and as he grew older the jobs gained more responsibility until he became President for a time. Grandson Peter was the same helping out at the races and held the position of President for 6 years in more recent years.
It was J.J. Brereton who introduced Jack Styring - Race Broadcaster to the Gunbower Races back in 1952. Jack Styring was only 22 at the time with very little experience but stayed with Gunbower and in 2012 with his 60th consecutive call under his belt entered the Guinness Book of Records for the most consecutive race calls. Jack was awarded the OAM for his contribution to the Australian Racing Industry.
Pick ups are also available from Torrumbarry Hotel.
Bookings preferred please phone 1300 139402.
Coaches run from Bendigo, Shepparton and Murchison East
Visit www.vline.com.au for timetables and further information
Visit http://www.vline.com.au/home/ for timetables and further information
Only a short 55km drive away is Echuca-Moama. Echuca is situated on the Mighty Murray River only 2 hours drive Melbourne.
Echuca is famous for its historic red gum wharf, paddle steamers and the port precinct.
There are many wineries to visit, you can play golf, go water sking, fishing or just go for a cruise down the Murray on one of the paddle steamers.
We also recommend Gunbower Hotel famous for it's McGillivray Aged Steak. Give Richard & Helen a call on 54871214
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Gunbower Racing Club