Tuesday 25 July 2017

Country track or city track?

Menangle Park Racecourse was officially opened in 1914, although racing had taken place there as early as the 1870s. By the 1920s, sixteen registered race meetings were being held annually as well as six pony racing meetings and six trotting meetings, however a great threat to the Menangle Racing Club's status as a provincial track was about to occur. This came by way of the deviation of the railway line between Regents Park and Cabramatta.
When the racecourse was originally opened it fell outside the 40 mile limit by railway set by the Gaming and Betting Act of 1912. This entitled it to certain rights and privileges, i.e. the number of race meetings which could legally be held. However, the deviation of the railway meant that the course was now only 38 miles from Sydney.
In November 1925 a special bill was approved by the State Labor Caucus to place the Menangle Park Racecourse in the same class as those courses that were situated more than 40 miles distant from the metropolis. Unfortunately Mr Lang, the premier of NSW dropped the bill in December, leaving the directors of the Menangle Racing Club in a dilemma. As a temporary solution, Menangle's race meetings were transferred to Kembla Grange which had been out of use for some years.

 The bill was presented again in 1927, and finally Menangle Park was restored to it's provincial status. After a two year hiatus, racing returned to Menangle Park in April 1927.

Written by Claire Lynch

Early Menangle by J.J. Moloney
Campbelltown Library pamphlet files

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