New look race course and club facilities for Port Macquarie, 1967

Racegoers: Always a popular outing, the Marks family at the races on Easter Saturday, 1967. From left, Kerrin Anderson, Mrs Ian Anderson, Mrs Les Boston and Mrs G E Marks.

Racegoers: Always a popular outing, the Marks family at the races on Easter Saturday, 1967. From left, Kerrin Anderson, Mrs Ian Anderson, Mrs Les Boston and Mrs G E Marks.

Big crowd of holidaymakers and fish biting

Port Macquarie has a big crowd of holidaymakers here for the May school holidays. Booking agents say demands for flats have been heavy and most of them are full.

Yesterday’s rain should clear with the cooler winds and a return to those glorious summer days of last week is anticipated. The fish have been biting well, jewfish, bream, and blackfish particularly.

Local pharmacist John Christian and Les Nelson landed five jewfish on Friday night of an average weight of, ten pounds. On Saturday night Les Nelson hooked and landed — a 53.5lb jewfish on an 18lb breaking strain line. It took three-quarters of an hour to land the fish which had the hook embedded in its tail.

Au revoir meeting for the old race track

Racing fans will be attending an historic meeting here on Saturday next, for it is to be the last meeting on Port Macquarie’s race track, a track that has been in use for more than 140 years.

It is not to be the end of racing in Port Macquarie, however, for a new era has dawned, bringing with it a reconstruction program for both the course and amenities.

An exciting plan adopted by the trust for the present site shows a completely remade track, with the grandstand and amenities moved to park-like surroundings on the eastern side of the course, adjoining Wauchope Road.

An inner track is to be provided for the training of horses so that a high class condition will be maintained at all times on the new course. A straight, of more than a furlong in length, leads to the winning post.

Trust president, Mr Athol Platt, has enthusiastically pursued the negotiations which have led up to the starting point – the last meeting on the old track and then a demolition and reconstruction program.

Once the work commences it will be some time before racing resumes at Port Macquarie. But what a day that will be, with everything as it should be on a racecourse.

Although racing started on the Port Macquarie course in the 1840s, it was not until January 10, 1865, that the land was dedicated as a racecourse reserve by the State Department of Lands.

The Surveyor-General’s deed of 1864 appointed Messrs J. J. Fenn, F. Webber, James McInherney, D. W. Brien, William A. Spence, James Butler and Thomas Platt trustees of the racecourse at Port Macquarie “in lieu of those formerly appointed who have left the district”. The members of the trust sharing the task with Mr Platt are Messrs Fred Parry, Ian Parker, Les Stewart, Cliff Gott, the late J. W. Hennessey, and Keith Uptin.

The recent death of Mr J. W. Hennessey was a severe blow both to the race club and the trust, and his drive and enthusiasm will be difficult to replace. 

The trust hopes to let a contract for a major part of the work of reconstruction at an early date.

Outdated: Port Macquarie Race Track, circa late 1960s, made way in 1967 for a remade track with grandstand and amenities moved to the eastern side of the course.

Outdated: Port Macquarie Race Track, circa late 1960s, made way in 1967 for a remade track with grandstand and amenities moved to the eastern side of the course.

Saturday’s au revoir meeting carries $400 prizemoney, and appropriately enough each race has been so named as to recall some of those associated over the years with racing in Port Macquarie.

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