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30 January 1882 Victoria Park

 30 January 1882   Victoria Park

At a meeting of the Public Works Committee of the Adelaide City Council on 30 January 1882 a plan for a new grandstand at the Old Course in the East Parklands was accepted. Horse-racing had been conducted in the East Parklands from the 1840s at a once-a-year meeting. In 1871 regular meetings were scheduled at the course and a grandstand was built. In that year eleven races were run on three race days; in 1872 this increased to thirteen races and in 1873 to seventeen races over four days. 

In 1874 competition between two groups, the SAJC and the SAJC Company, over the lease of the course led to a proposed amalgamation. In November Thomas Elder offered to lease 160 acres of land at Morphettville which the SAJC accepted for its own use. However, the competition between the two clubs continued, with race meetings held on the same day, from 1875-78. Attendances fell away after the repeal of the Totaliser Act in 1883 and racing was virtually abandoned in South Australia. Morphettville closed and the Old Course was in decline.

In September 1888 Act No 426 legalised the use of the totaliser at racetracks. Almost immediately a new SAJC was formed and two months later the new Adelaide Racing Club took over the administration of the Old Course. The two clubs agreed to cooperate with each other and the SAJC became the governing body of racing, with headquarters at Morphettville. The Old Course was renamed Victoria Park in June 1897 in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Further stands were built in 1890 and 1912. 

In the 1980s and 1990s Victoria Park echoed to new sounds every November when the Formula I Grand Prix race was held at the site and through nearby streets. The last race was held in 1995.

Victoria Park Centenary 1871-1971 , SSLM.

Digest of Proceedings, 6 February 1882, Adelaide City Archives

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