The Australian Turf Club has joined in paying tribute to former NSW Government Minister and MP Paul Whelan, following his passing after a long battle with illness.

Mr Whelan – a popular and well known horse breeder after his 30-year political career – was also a former Royal Randwick Trustee.

He began his working career as a solicitor, before becoming an alderman on Ashfield Municipal Council, and later serving as a minister in the Wran and Carr Labor Governments.

Highly regarded for his bright attitude and straight thinking, Mr Whelan retired from politics and became proprietor of Luskin Park Stud in the Hunter Valley, breeding top class horses Foxwedge and Rock Classic.

He also part-owned Flying Artie, a Group 1 winner and now an up and coming sire.

Mr Whelan also served on the committee of Thoroughbred Breeders NSW.

Australian Turf Club Chairman Matthew McGrath paid tribute to the service of Mr Whelan in both politics and racing.

“Paul Whelan not only had a successful and well respected political career, but also had a great passion for racing and gave wonderful service to our Club and the racing industry,” Mr McGrath said.

“He served as a Royal Randwick Trustee including after the formation of the Australian Turf Club, providing wonderful guidance for our world-famous racecourse.

“The Australian Turf Club offers its sincere condolences to Mr Whelan’s wife Colleen and family.”

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