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Vanished Williamstown

The Williamstown Racing Club, founded in 1864, was once one of the senior thoroughbred racing clubs in Victoria, and the Williamstown Racecourse was considered one of the finest in the country, with a large and elaborately decorated grandstand, which was built in 1872 facing out to the sea, when the Melbourne Cup was only 10 years old. 

The Williamstown Cup was the last of the four cups run during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. The W.R.C. also hosted important weight-for-age events. The family most closely associated with racing at Williamstown was the Underwoods, a surname famous in the histories of both Williamstown and Victorian thoroughbred racing. 

Racing at Williamstown ceased in 1948, when the course, like the M.C.G., was used to house troops. Racing was due to recommence after the war’s end, but fire destroyed the two grandstands, and racing at Williamstown ceased. Today, nothing remains of the course except some of the steps of the old grandstand, and a single lonely palm, one of many palms that once flourished in the course’s beautiful gardens. 

In the 1920s and 30s many famous horses raced here including Richmond Main, Heroic, Amounis, Ajax, Hallmark, Gaine Carrington, and Phar Lap himself, who won the Underwood Stakes here in 1931.

For feedback and comments please contact the Tourism Officer at Hobsons Bay City Council on (03) 9932 1000 email visitorinformation@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au