Tasmanian Turf Club History
The Tasmanian Turf Club was established in 1826 and has enjoyed a rich and vibrant history of thoroughbred horse racing. There are gaps in the history of the original Tasmanian Turf Club, formed in Ross in 1826 but it is agreed that the club’s real establishment dates from 1871. Since then racing has been conducted by the Tasmanian Turf Club continuously.
Although the Launceston Cup dates back to 1865, it is obvious racing prior to 1871 was conducted by groups of racing enthusiasts. Racing historians are of the opinion the organisers of the earliest race meetings in this state were officers of the military fraternity located in Launceston.
The first race meetings in Launceston were held on Elphin Road, on a straight course. The prize-money was substantial, up to 50 sovereigns, plus sweepstakes for each race. The Launceston Advertiser reported an attendance of 3,000 persons – “high and low, rich and poor all huddled together, but no pick-pockets”.
The Tasmanian Turf Club was formed at a meeting held in the International Hotel, Launceston, where the National Australia Ltd Bank was located. In 1871 a committee was elected. The committee met a few days later and racing rules were adopted along with a programme for 1871 three day Cup Carnival, with 705 pounds allocated as prize money for fourteen races.
At the meeting, Mr H.E. Lette MHA presided over a representative attendance of 90 gentlemen. A committee of seven was elected including Mr William Field, W Dodery, H Gamble, F Coker, WH Mence, N Hartnoll and W Atkinson. During 1913-14 the committee undertook their most important project - erection of a grandstand (much of which remains today) replacing a much smaller building erected in 1876. A tender by Messrs Hinman, Wright and Manser of 8,500 pounds was accepted. The stand opened in 1914, the complete cost being 10,268 pounds.
In 1978/79 the Newnham and Longford Racing clubs were amalgamated to form the current Tasmanian Turf Club.
- Chairman: Mrs Alison Archer
- Deputy Chairman: Mr Brent Crawford
- Honorary Treasurer: Mr Ossie Camenzuli
- Miss Sue Rees
- Mr Jim Wimmer
- Mrs Tania Freestone
- Mr Leon Hills
- Mr John McKenna
- Mr Brent Crawford
- Mr Andrew Crosby
- Gary Rayner
- Administration Officer: Kathy Hill
- Accounts: Felicity Oakenfull