HORSE TALK (ABOUT MELBOURNE'S NORTH WEST AND THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA, VIC., AUST.)
Jackson's Hill (from Dalkeith,near the turn off to Mornington) to The Briars, is named after Phyllis Jackson (nee Vale)and her husband, Herbert A.Jackson. She was a noted equestrian and brought out an international expert to improve the training of horses and riders. (See the lengthy article, with pictures, in The Argus of 23-9-1954.) Her trainer Bill Bull, no slouch himself, was amazed at the improvement. One of her employees, Sue Knight, was placed in the Garryowen in 1950. Phyllis also owned racehorses and Helion came 2nd in the 1954 Melbourne Cup behind the great Rising Fast.
An early race meeting on the Peninsula was the Schnapper Point Handicap of 3-2-1868, conducted on Rennison's land at Moorooduc 152 D-E 7. Rennison ran the hotel on the Esplanade now called the Royal . He apparently had a hotel at Mordialloc when the Mornington Football Club drowning tragedy occurred.
Alfred Jones was born in London and went to Canada with his family at the age of 10 in 1832. Coming to Australia he had fair success at the diggings and then supplied Melbourne with firewood, loaded onto the LIVERPOOL which was anchored a mile offshore at Canadian Bay. After renting at Baxter's Flat for five years, he established the Almond Bush Stud east of Jones Rd at Somerville. Two of his horses were Lord Somerville and Lady Somerville, the latter travelling all the way to Kensington Park to race. Hodgins Rd is named after one of his two fellow Canadian partners in the firewood business. Canadian Bay Rd was formerly called Boundary Rd.
(The above three items are from my THE FEMALE DROVER: A HISTORY OF MOOROODUC.)
The retirement village for famous racehorses is at historic Woodlands, near the north east corner of Melbourne Airport. This is fitting because it was the venue for frantic riding from its earliest days, as described by Rolf Boldrewood,author of "Robbery Under Arms". The property was owned briefly by C.B.Fisher who has been dubbed the "father of the Australian Turf". Woodlands was also associated with the Oaklands Hunt with the kennels being situated there for some time.
Fisher owned the famous Maribyrnong Stud but lost that and Woodlands, which passed to Tommy Bent's ownership. Much of the stud was later occupied by the cordite factory; Bent had Chifley Drive built at Government expense for his subdivision! Fisher Pde (behind Flemington Racecourse), Charles St and Hurtle St (named after Charles Fisher's older brother who established the stud) are streets in Ascot Vale West.
Peter McCracken left Stewarton (the northern part of Gladstone Park)in 1855 and moved to a dairy farm on part of J.R.Murphy's Kensington Park until his Ardmillan mansion was built. His presence is recalled by McCracken St. The following comes from my EARLY LANDOWNERS: PARISH OF DOUTTA GALLA.
ALLOTMENTS 17, 18, 19. (McCRACKEN?S DAIRY, THE RACECOURSE.)
This land, bounded by Macaulay Rd, Dynon Rd, and the lines of Lloyd St and Hampden Rd, was granted to John Robert Murphy at about the time he was granted a 2 acre block at the south east corner of Stubbs and Parsons St in 1949.
Allotment 17 was leased by Anah Lewis for 14 years. Allotments 18 and 19 were leased to A.E.Brodribb for 14 years but it is known that by 1855 the 132 acres comprised all or part of McCracken?s dairy. (McCracken may have been leasing the crown land west of Rankins Rd too.)
In 1855, Peter McCracken quit his lease on ?Stewarton? (Gladstone Park) and lived on the dairy while his mansion was built on ?Ardmillan? in Moonee Ponds. In 1861 a fire burnt all the haystacks and by the end of 1862, Peter was thinking of giving up the dairy because the grass was poor and it was costing more for hay than the milk was worth. Soon after, James Hyslop, who had worked for Peter since 1858, was out of a job (P.233 Victoria and Its Metropolis).
When Anah?s lease finished, and McCracken quit his dairy, the whole 198 acres was leased by cattle salesman Samuel Cox. He probably fattened cattle and sheep on it. Pigs might have been kept there too by pork butcher, William Samuel Cox. Three years later, in 1867, W.S.Cox took over the lease, and in 1872, he extended it for five years with an option of another five years. In 1871, he?d moved from Abbotsford St to ?Kensington Park?. The KENSINGTON PARK RACECOURSE commenced operation in 1874. When it closed at the end of 1882, Cox took out a lease on, and then bought, Feehan?s farm (now called Moonee Valley Racecourse).
Unlike most football clubs, whose players were firstly cricketers, the Essendon club was formed by the horse-riding fraternity. One of its players actually rode a horse to victory at Moonee Valley before donning the black and red.
Brothers John and Jim Gilligan were killed in the 1930's, within a few years of each other, in accidents involving horses. John, a married dare-devil, had become part of Bulla and Tullamarine folklore by riding his horse up the stairs of the Inverness Hotel. He was riding home in the dark and did not notice that the top rail of a fence had been replaced. Jim was a sensible bachelor and politely refused the offer of a joy flight from a daring young man, who had landed nearby, but died at St Vincents Hospital on 15-8-1938 as a result of an accident during the trip home in his jinker, when his house stumbled . John's second given name was Lawrence which might indicate that his mother was a daughter of John Lawrence, an early resident on Machell's subdivision between Mickleham Rd and Section Rd at Greenvale.John died suddenly on Dec. 2nd at the age of 47.His wife and their children are detailed in the death notice. (The Argus, 4-12-1936, page 1.)See more about the Gilligans in the REDDAN journal.
Alister Clark was the President of the Moonee Valley Racing Club from its formation until his death. Owner of Glenara, venue for many Oakland Hunt Club functions, he was a famed rose breeder (with the assistance of William Peers who left when he won a lottery) and great jockey, Darby Munro, said that he appreciated Alister's roses more than the loot when he'd won the Alister Clark Stakes. The club had been formed at J.B.McArthur's Hosie's Hotel; McArthur remained Alister's Vice President until his death and hosted the Oakland Hunt at "Arundel". Needless to say there was a strong association between the M.V.R.C. and the Oaklands Hunt.
John Wren, star of the original "Underbelly" (and even worse, financial backer of the Collingwood Football Club!) ran the Ascot Racecourse on the area east of the Showgrounds that became a Housing Commission estate with streets named after war heroes such as Weary Dunlop. As with most country race meetings (such as at Tullamarine) the horses that raced were referred to as ponies.
James Purves and his son James Liddle Purves bred horses at Tootgarook Station and James had also done so at Chinton Station near Mt Macedon. It is more likely that the day to day running of their stud was undertaken by James Purves' brother, Peter (the mason)until his death in 1860 and later his sons at Tootgarook and Green Hills on Purves Rd (south of Chapman's Sea Winds.)
The Maddens became the owners of the former Flemington estate of Hugh Glass and supplied horses to the Army in India. Travancore (the property's new, and present, name) and most of the street names recall the involvement with the sub-continent. The Maddens were probably also involved at Mornington and at Bangalore St in Kensington.
Farmers were often involved in horse breeding, especially of draught horses, which were the tractors of the day. Rajah, famed on the Indian Turf, stood at both Randall's "Hindhope" (the Rosebud Plaza site) and Brady's "Mt Evergreen" on Purves Rd.
Edward Gomm of Somerville was another to offer the services of his stallions. Billy Gomm used the telephones of the Lands Department, in which he held a very senior position, to become the biggest S.P. bookie in Melbourne. When he was sprung taking bets in their Somerville Hotel, he was banned from entering the building so his brother (and fellow legend of the Somerville Football Club) had to save the day. Billy was usually well dressed, but when he returned to "Glenhoya", he dressed like a hick and once drank at a Mornington race meeting with Sir Reg Ansett while wearing a shoe and a gumboot because he couldn't find the other shoe.
on 2012-02-05 08:57:16
Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.