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17 April 1876 Oakbank Races

 17 April 1876   Oakbank Races

Easter week-end in South Australia is the time for the Oakbank Races, with the feature race the Great Eastern Steeplechase run on Easter Monday.

In the 1870s a group of horse lovers formed an association called the Woodside Club. Wishing to have a site for their sports meeting they looked over several areas until one of their members riding over a paddock owned by the Johnstons of Oakbank thought it would be ideal for their purposes.

The Johnstons agreed to a course being set, and on walking around the paddock the group discovered a fallen tree which it was decided should remain to form one of the jumps. Although that particular tree trunk has been replaced the jump remains an integral part of the Great Eastern Steeplechase run over the same course.

The first race meeting was held on 17 April 1876 with a prize for the steeple of 20 sovereigns; it is now worth over $100,000 for the winner. Over the years the club grew in strength and the Easter picnic race meeting is now an event attracting many thousands to the picturesque course.

Oakbank and its Origin, The Advertiser, 14 March 1934, Newspaper Cuttings Book, Volume 2, p. 21. SLSA.

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