Towong Turf Club
They're racing: a small club with a remarkable history
The Towong Turf Club is testament to this rather grand statement. The Melbourne Cup was instituted in 1861, and only ten years later they were racing at Towong and the club was officially formed.
“Australians love racing. General public interest in racing is far greater in Australia than anywhere else in the world.”
Jim Haynes, THE BEST AUSTRALIAN RACING STORIES
Races had actually been held even before that, on “Findlay’s Flats” an area now on Towong Hill Station and still referred to by the Mitchell family as “the racecourse”. Later, races would start on a stretch of the Murray Valley Highway on either side of Towong finishing at the prominent “Mag’s Tree” in the school yard, where local schoolboys would sit to eat their lunch. The following description from local historian John Whitehead throws more light on these early races:
In 2021 the Towong Turf Club celebrated 150 years of racing at Towong. With the help of a generous grant from Towong Shire, local history enthusiasts created commemorative panels which chart the development of the Towong Turf Club, focusing on three areas - The Club, the horses and the people who made it happen.
These panels are on permanent display at the racecourse, and have already attracted wide public interest. They offer colourful highlights from the Turf Club’s remarkable story, with facts, figures, a comprehensive historical timeline, evocative photographs from both a different era and more recent times, and an overarching sense of the importance of this iconic club to the community. But they are, naturally, limited in scope and there are so many more stories to tell.