On This Day - WEDNESDAY, 5 JANUARY
January 5, 2022
Early formal racing
On 26 May 1840, a group of emancipists with an interest in horses and racing met to establish annual subscription races. They called themselves the Australian Race Committee and held race meetings at Homebush. The first race was held in March 1841 and drew competitive fields. They continued to race regularly at Homebush and it was from the members of this group that the Australian Jockey Club would develop in 1842.
On this day – 5 January 1842, members of the Australian Race Committee met for the purpose of transforming the body into a permanent institution, to be named the Australian Jockey Club. The governor, Sir George Gipps was invited to be a patron, and Sir Maurice O’Connell the Vice Patron. Membership was limited to 20, James Chambre was elected as the first secretary/treasurer and four stewards were to be elected annually.
The AJC and Randwick
The AJC continued to race at Homebush, and in 1859 a push to further formalise racing came in 1859. A committee had been elected the year before and now, they added a President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. E. Deas Thomson was the first President, with Alfred Cheeke as Vice. S. C. Burt became the Treasurer while George Rowley was re-elected as Secretary. Part of the revitalisation of the AJC was a transfer of their racing away from Homebush. The alternate was Randwick, and in 1860 the AJC held their first race meeting at the course.
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