Petersham Race Track

During the Dulwich Hill Fair, we were asked about the location of the local horse racing track. As promised, here is some information ….

This lovely picture is held by the Library of NSW entitled Race Meeting at Petersham (c. 1845)

The race meeting depicted here was held at the private racecourse of Thomas Shaw, licensee of the Woolpack Inn (now the Bald Faced Stag Hotel) on Parramatta Road at Leichhardt. The racecourse was situated on land leased by Shaw immediately opposite the hotel and extending back to the present railway line. Horseraces were regularly held on this course throughout the 1840s and subscribers, including well-known Sydney sportsmen, paid from 2s 6d to 1 guinea (21 shillings) to attend.

The view of the course is from the grandstand situated in Railway Street. Race entries were taken at Mr Oatley’s Sportsman’s Inn in the city five days before the meeting with advertisements stating: ‘all the riders to appear in Jockey Costume’. This was in line with regulations introduced by the Australian Jockey Club, established in 1842. The jockeys are shown riding upright in the saddle, with long stirrups and reins, a practice that was continued until the late nineteenth century.

Reference: NSW Government Shop Online

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