Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tynong & District Coursing Club

A meeting was held in late August 1941 to form the Tynong & District Coursing Club. The President was Peter Gleeson and the Secretary was Ernest Oram. Peter Gleeson was a farmer at Tynong and Ernest Oram was the storekeeper at Tynong   I am unfamiliar with grey hound racing,   but apparently a Coursing Club conducts plumpton meetings where two greyhounds compete on a straight track and are released from a set of slips instead of a starting box.

The Argus September 1 1941, page 3

In the March of 1942 the newly formed club was allocated the rights to conduct the classic coursing events – the Derby and the Oaks. The report in The Argus, said that the Tynong Club has practically completed the building of a magnificent enclosure on a site distant a mile from the town.  The course was on the Gleeson property on the Eleven Mile Road, near the corner of the Nine Mile Road (the Tynong-Cora Lynn Road) near where Gleeson Road adjoins the Eleven Mile Road, today. The opening meeting was held on May 16, 1942. The events included an All aged stakes, two Bitch Puppy stakes, two Dog Puppy stakes and a Maiden stake.  The All Aged stake was won by Palm Grove, owned by Rupert Colliver, a neighbour of the Gleesons.

Various other meetings were held in 1942, including the Derby in July and the President’s Cup meeting in August. The prize for this event was a Cup plus £25, a fairly substantial prize, the equivalent of about one month’s wages. The Club also raised money for the Red Cross and by October 1942 had raised £200.
In 1943, the Tynong Club won the right to host the Waterloo Cup. The first Waterloo Cup was conducted in 1873 and the event is still being held, in fact the 2011 and 2012 Waterloo Cups were conducted at the Lang Lang Coursing track. The 1943 event took place over two Saturdays on July 31 and August 7.  It was won by Keep Elert, defeating Air Flash, and the prize was £250 pounds, plus a Cup. 

There are reports about races throughout the 1940s and the Tynong Club appears to have grown in status fairly quickly, in fact it was reported in the Gippsland Times of September 19, 1946 that the Sale Club aims to take some Tynong glory and get a classic such as the St Ledger, Oaks, Derby or the blue ribbon event of plumpton coursing, the Waterloo Cup. It failed to get the Waterloo Cup as Tynong hosted it again in 1947 and also in 1954. The 1954, the Cup was won by Byamee, who is in the Greyhound Hall of Fame for winning the event from 1953 to 1955.

An article in The Argus of February 17, 1954 talked about grey hound racing in general and the fact the Victorian Government was legislating to bring in ‘tin hare racing’.  I presume that previous to this, live hares were used as the lure. There had been reports in various papers on Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper about community groups conducting ‘hare drives’ and bagging hares to be sent to the Tynong Coursing Club. The article also said that grey hound racing was at the cross roads and in the doldrums and that it had been unwise to change the venue of classics, such as the Waterloo Cup, and hold it in places that had  insufficient accommodation ...or accommodation unfit to house a greyhound, let alone humans.  I don’t know if that referred to Tynong, but it was a fairly isolated course, with the nearest accommodation being the Garfield, Nar Nar Goon or Pakenham Hotels.

In June 1955, Mr M. A. Cunningham, the treasurer of the Club, collected the major prize money for his four entries at the Tynong Club meeting.  In fact, one of his dogs, Belabek, left the crowd flabbergasted, when it won by 12 lengths.  The last line in the article was Fielders [bookmakers] said it was one of the worst days they had seen this season. The Tynong Coursing Club was still going in May 1956, but Dad thinks it didn’t go on for much longer after that.

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