This post is a collection of information regarding the Eltham Racing Club and race meetings (horse & other) that were held at the Eltham Park (now known as Lower Eltham Park). I will try to add most of the information I have gathered, but not all at once. Implying authority is not my intention and any input is welcome.
I do not have a complete overview, or complete history of the track, or the club, for example: it appears to have been inaugurated around the mid to late 1850s, but there would have been discussions probably earlier, there may have been informal races before the track was made. Also, the formation is easier to follow than the demise.
The first official races were to be held on 24/12/1855 or 20/12/1855.¹
A site was chosen and cleared for a racecourse of three-quarters of a mile (6 furlongs) distance to be formed.
The research in this post is primarily based on information obtained from digitized historical newspapers and at the time of writing no information has been sourced with regards to if the race meeting of December 1855 went ahead.
The next report is form 1856: the first image is from Monday 27 October 1856, advertising the two-day event. The second is from Thursday 13 November 1856, reporting on the first day of the meeting.²
1857, November 19th and 20th, another two-day meeting, with the following races:
A Trotting Race
The Consolation Stakes
1858, November 18th:
THE ELTHAM RACES.
Yesterday was the first day of the Eltham meet. Considering the distance from town, the attendance was what might be called good. There were four races during the day. The first was for the Eltham Purse, which was won by a horse named Tiger.The Maiden Plate was next competed for, and was borne off by a horse of Major Newman’s. Then the Farmers’ Purse was dis-played, and was cleverly won by Mr. Lang’s c. g. Lamplighter; and the prize for the Pony Race was taken by Sly-go. This closed the days sport, which afforded much amusement to large party of the neighboring residents.³
End of info from 1850s (to date).
THIS POST IS A WORK IN MOTION, TO BE CONTINUED
¹The newspaper referenced: 1855 ‘DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 15 December, p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4825805, also has an interesting article titled “ELTHAM.-The village of Little Eltham, a few miles beyond Heidelberg, has a history peculiarly its own”.
²The same edition of the Argus (13/11/56), reports: At the City Court yesterday, there were no less than nine cases of lunacy. Sarah Johnston, well known at the court, and a young woman of superior manners and education, was charged with dancing about the street with a bunch of flowers in one hand and a looking-glass in the other. Another man William Linsdell was charged by a Chinaman with stealing a jar of ginger from his premises. The prisoner was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment.
³The Argus, 18 November, p. 7, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7304774