History

The Young district has a long history and association with horse racing. The first races were held on Boxing Day 1860. Following this the Burrangong Race Club (not the picnic race club) was formed and the club’s first annual meeting was held over three days commencing on Tuesday, May 7 1861. Business almost ceased and the miners had a week holiday. The racecourse was laid out on the unoccupied flat near Zouch and Lovell Streets beside the site of the railway line of today. Mr Charles Quail of the Globe Hotel at Yass built a temporary grandstand and the ground was a maze of booths and stalls that were well supplied with dining rooms.

In 1862 the races were held at a racecourse out of town at a location known as Three Mile Rush. It is unknown if this was the site of the Burrangong Racecourse, which was located at Burrangong Station on Monteagle Road.

The Burrangong Picnic Race Club formed in 1888 and its annual races were reported as the social event of the year. Due to the distance from town the race club ran trains between Young and Burrangong, but this proved to be a bad investment due to the difficulty of guaranteeing patronage.

In 1920 a new course was selected on 60 acres of the 370 acre town common on the eastern boundary of the showground. The new track on the northern side of the P & A Society’s grounds was in operation in 1923 but was not completed for two years after that. It was never a success. Horse owners did not like it and were loath to nominate. After a few meetings, with finances low, the club decided to ask the trustees and Minister to sell it. In 1929 it was cut into small blocks and sold. In 1933 the re-formed race club secured the old Burrangong Station racecourse, which had been abandoned, from W. Jasprizza and held its first meeting in June. However, in 1947 D. H. McFarlane commissioned Surveyor V. R. Alldis to design and lay out a racecourse in a paddock on his property “Toompang” on the Temora Road, on a site where Kingsford Smith had landed a number of years earlier. The nine furlong course was considered one of the best in the state with its ultra-modern amenities blocks placed into use in 1954. The Burrangong Picnic Race Club later acquired the racecourse. The former race course in town was sold by the council in 1955 for £5107.

The Burrangong Courier reported in July 1862 the results of the Burrangong Race Meeting that occurred near Donohue’s Wedding Mountain Inn at Three Mile Rush. There were four races on the program, which included a race of twenty pounds to the winner for horses that had never previously won any advertised prizemoney. This race was conducted in two heats with a final, with all honours taken out by Mr Murphy’s chestnut mare. Another of the races on the program was the Miners Purse of eight pounds that was won by Mr Ryan’s horse Brown George. The third and fourth races were for Hack’s, with Jimalong Joe and Saunder’s Chestnut Pony victorious. An exciting foot race between Mr. Harris and Mr. Regan, over one hundred yards for drinks for all hands on the course, was won easily by Mr Harris distancing Mr Regan, who unfortunately tripped and kissed the green.

Excerpt from The Sydney Morning Herald, 5th August 1862:

The races advertised for Monday last, on the excellent course near Donohue’s Wedding Mountain Inn, Three Mile Rush, were well got up, and the running was, on the whole, very creditable for untrained horses. The turf was moist and heavy, but it was dry overhead, and a large number of sporting gentlemen congregated to witness the sports of the day. Amongst the most laughable incidents which occurred was a discreditable trick played by a would-be sporting butcher. He was directed by Mr J. C. Clark, Clerk of the Course, to refresh one of the horses with a bottle of ale; but the knight of the cleaver drank the beer himself and gave the horse a bucket of water, for which the clerk of the course very properly horsewhipped him, on the course.