The written recordsÂ held by the club, dated from 1945,Â areÂ somewhat spasmodic and rather sketchy. Records exist (Courtesy of the Adelaide Observer) of a race meeting being held in 1891, one year after OodnadattaÂ was founded.
Other records tell of the 1922 Oodnadatta Cup. This wasÂ run overÂ one and a halfÂ miles for aÂ 50 poundÂ stake and a 25 guinea trophy. The results of this race were as follows:
1st Place:Â Â Â Â BARDUS, owned by Mr. M Rasheed and ridden by ‘Brick’ Brady
2nd Place:Â KALINTA
3rd Place:Â Â FIELD GLAS
BARDUS paid a dividend of three shillingsÂ and four pence halfpenny for a two shilling and sixpence investment.
Chairman: Mr. Ernest KempeÂ Â Â Â Secretary: K BolanÂ Â Â Â Treasurer:Â Â Not recorded.
In 1945 the Oodnadatta Sports Club was disbandedÂ and the Oodnadatta Race Club was formed. Full membership in 1945 was 15 shillings , or the equivalent of $1.50, for gentlemen. Ladies received membership for free. There appears to have been some lively discussion that year amongst the committee over minimum weight to be carried. At that timeÂ it was 11 stone (70 kilos) for all races other than hack races which were 12 stone (75.5 kilos). Suggested penalties for a win ranged from 3 poundsÂ (1.5 kg) to 7 pounds (3.5 kg). All horses were to be strictly grain fed.
Patron: Mrs. BrownÂ Â Â Â Â Chairman: Mr. Ernest KempeÂ Â Â Â Â Secretary/Treasurer: Mr. J Palmer
This appears to have been the first year in whichÂ the Oodnadatta Cup was held, but with a stake of three guineas ($6.30) it was by no means the main race of the meeting. The Flying HandicapÂ and The Victory Handicap (first meeting after the end of the Second World War) both drew a stake ofÂ four guineas ($8.40). There was a motion that all runners be in colours. There is a charming minute about the meeting being adjourned forÂ one hour for a church service.
Patron: Mrs. BrownÂ Â Â Â Chairman: Mr. Ernest KempeÂ Â Â Â Secretary/Treasurer: Mr. J Palmer
Whilst the ladies could still enjoy free membership, membership fees had risen toÂ one poundÂ ten shillingsÂ ($3.00). Catering was an issue in 1947 as nobody was willing to take on that task. Some of the runners were Flood Bird, Grey Tail, PopeyeÂ and Pop Gun, all well known names at the time. Other stand outs included Palmolive, SolyptolÂ and Beauty Spot (surely her stable name was ‘Lux!’)
Chairman: The Presbyterian Padre ‘Skipper’ PartridgeÂ Â Â Â Secretary/Treasurer: J Coverdale.
Station names began appearing on the programme for the first time,Â Â no doubt as a result of the donations receivedÂ and with the hope that others would follow suit. A lady was elected on to the committee for the first time on record. Her name was Miss Molly Breadon of Todmorden Station.
The date for the 1950 meeting was set for the King’s birthday weekend, however one week beforehand, probably due to seasonal conditions, the meeting was postponed until mid July. Eighteen radio telegrams were sent out at a cost of 36 shillingsÂ ($6.60) and five ordinary telegrams at ten shillings and ten pence($1.10) advising horse owners and important guests of the change.
Membership fees increased to two guineas ($4.20) and patrons were asked to bring their own food whilst the club provided hot water, tea and sugar. An insurance policy costingÂ six pounds five shillings was taken out to cover all jockeys.
The drought was getting worse and most stations felt they could not supply any starters other than a few corn fed horses until at leastÂ five weeks after a general rain.Â As the season was so bad, the race date was plannedÂ six weeks after a general rain. A pianist was engaged for the dance. Apparently the meeting was finally held in October and ran at a loss of 47 poundsÂ two shillings and five penceÂ ($94.24).
The drought had finally broken, the meeting was scheduled for AprilÂ and itÂ was held on time. It was proposed at this time that the meeting become registered instead of just a picnic meeting, but the motion lapsed for want of support. The Gymkhana was held on Sunday.
Four hundred tickets atÂ five pounds ($10.00) were sold in a Holden Utility Raffle and although there were no records to show what profit was made, presumably it was substantial. Raffles were not legal at that timeÂ and the minutes state that “four hundred people will be invited to attend a luncheon for which each will payÂ five pounds.” They all received a nice little printed ticket for attending.
There are no records for this year, but the club again ran a raffle, this timeÂ for a Peugeot carÂ which was won by Robyn Kempe of Mt Barry, Â at that time a very small girl.
A ‘Mr. J Field’ complained of the lack of supplies for eatingÂ andÂ drinking, other than beer.
Eight races per day were introduced:
Evelyn Downs Maiden
Stuart Creek Open Trial
Mt Willoughby Handicap
Welbourn Hill Handicap
Nilpinna Open Trial
E J Brown Novice
Anna Creek Handicap
Mt Clarence Consolation
Jockey J Hunter complained of interference in past races and was supported by Jockey W Greenwood. It was claimed that the stewards were not performing their jobs properly. Brad Russell had no control over his horse.
Complaints wereÂ again made that the stewards were not doing their job properly. A competition for a colt foal by ENGRAVER was conducted, with tickets beingÂ one pound each.
A credit balance of 195 pounds was recorded. The question of the club’s rights to use government land was to be investigated.
Mr. John Kempe was made a life member of the club, the only one we can find recorded. Champion Motors supplied, at a price, a Land Rover to be raffled for the following year and tickets were $2.00 each.
From the money raised over the race weekend, $200.00 was donated to the A.I.M. and $500.00 to the R.F.D.S. It was unanimously agreed that a door be swung on the men’s toilet.Â The committee wasÂ still hoping that it would be done before the 1991 meeting. It seems men feel as defenceless as women with their pants down! The ‘tote’ had apparently not been operating for some years due to a change in the Rules of Racing, but moves were afoot to reinstate it for the following year. Membership was raised to $5.00 for gents and $3.00 for ladies. Day tickets were $2.00 and $1.00 respectively. Obviously Women’s Lib was still only embryonic but the writing was on the wall with women no longer admitted free.
1969 Cup Winner
1969 Oodnadatta Cup Winner ‘Starnet’
For the first time it was proposed to pipe the Â town water supply to the course. (This may have happened in 1981) Membership became $6.00 for gentsÂ and $4.00 for ladies.
Robin Greenwood was given an inscribed gift from the committee for diligence in selling member’s tickets and raffles over several years. Down pipesÂ and guttering were to be erected from the grandstand to the tank. Members tickets became $7.00Â and $5.00 with a free race book thrown in.
Gross receipts for the 1977 meeting were about $8,500.00. Membership fees were to be raised to $12.00 which included the Sunday barbeque. Women’s Lib. was to the fore at last, for the $12.00 fee applied to both sexes. The Racing Club and Gymkhana Fund amalgamated and became the ‘Oodnadatta Racing & Gymkhana Club’.
Income from the 1978 meeting was a record $15,156. Members felt the two furlong flutter should be deleted from the gymkhana programme because of the danger of a serious accident due to the utter fearlessness coupled with lack of judgment of the young riders.
As in previous years, the definition of ‘local bred’ was questioned but in the interest of improved breeding strains it remains as ‘foaled, but not necessarily sired in the district’. $1,000 each was given to the A.I.M. & the R.F.D.S.
Obviously not everybody considered Oodnadatta as the end of the earth! Â Peter Pilarek, a stalwart of the tote office for many years, travelled up from Port Augusta for the race meeting. $2000 was given to the R.F.D.S. aeroplane appeal and $500 for the hospital.
Despite a successful meeting with gross receipts of $17,000 rumours persisted that this would be the last Oodnadatta Race Club meeting.
The Pastoral Cup was introduced for the first time for open horses. This cup was taken back to Marree by Reg Dodd and ‘Rulers Retreat’. The Oodnadatta Cup was won by 14 year old ‘Pale Face’ in magnificent style and was a credit to his young trainer Rodney Fullarton. Sadly one of Rodney’s horses had to be destroyed after breaking a leg in the last race. This is the first time anyone remembers this happening. A new toilet block was built.
A motorbike raffledÂ and won by ‘Crackers’ Kraenhbull was donated back for auction. The trophy stand was erected and various charities were the recipients of $5,500. Moves were made to make the Pastoral Cup as prestigious as the Oodnadatta Cup whichÂ was for locally bred horses, but the general feeling was that the Oodnadatta Cup should remain the premier event. George Birchmore was awarded life membership of the club, for services to racing in the area over main years. Our records show only one previous life membership had been awarded, so they were not easily come by. Gross incomeÂ was $22,959 but rumours continued that the club would not be able to survive.
Robin Greenwood retired as secretary after many years of devoted service. She was replaced by Jill Napier with Krystal Williams being elected treasurer. Professional jockeys would be eligible to ride, but as it turned out, all major races were won by locals.
1986 – Jubilee 150 Year
The ‘Creche’ area had arrived. Mobile starting gates were used for all open races, for the first time in the north. Life memberships were awarded to Robin Greenwood, Bob BurgessÂ and Roly Millhinch. Mr. Greg owned by ‘Boof’ Smith of New Crown won his third cup in a row. He was ridden by Gary Birchmore in the time of 2.12. Starting stalls purchased from Mt Gambier andÂ used for the first time were very successful.
A camel race was introduced to the gymkhana programme andÂ proved very successful. Whether for curiosity or loyalty, visitors from as far afield as Millicent, Mt Gambier, Coonalpyn, QuornÂ and Adelaide arrived to help boost the crowd. The takings wereÂ a recordÂ $34,000 gross.
A roller was purchased for upgrading the track. A steward’s standÂ and new tote building were built during working bees, thanks to a large number of new, youngÂ and enthusiastic members.
The club purchased a cold box. Thirty two people attended aÂ two day busy bee making light work of the improvements. The Saturday night was given to local organisations to raise funds. A donation was given to the Progress Association to erect a new cemetery fence.
The Sunday GymkhanaÂ and Monday Races were abandoned due to rain, however most patrons filled in their time admirably.
The gymkhana was finally held with the Bronco Branding in July.
The Club finally came incorporated’.Â A new PA system was purchased making both the course broadcastingÂ and general announcements much easier. The children’s play groundÂ and sand pit areas were coveredÂ and extensively used by youngsters. A new lighting plant was purchased for use in 1990.
In excess of $7000 was donated to various charities.