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Snapshot - Geraldton Turf Club

Published on Tuesday, 1 February 2022 at 11:45:00 AM

A Long History by Geraldton Turf Club

The Geraldton Turf Club is the oldest Provincial Race Club in Western Australia, forming in 1861 – the same year as another important event in thoroughbred racing in Australia. The first Melbourne Cup was run in that year (won by Archer). At this time the Geraldton Racecourse was known as the Victoria Race Club and was based at Meru, 3-4 miles from Geraldton town. The first Victoria Cup was run in 1863 and won by Sultana.

The move from Meru to the present Utakarra site took place in 1927 with the existing Meru grand stand relocated from Meru. Racing was in recess for a period of time during WW11 (from 1941 to 1944) and the grounds were leased to a local tomato grower. Hack racing was conducted during this period, through to 1968.

In the early 1970’s the new Sunseeker Hotel was under construction. A shed was moved from the Railways Hotel to the Sunseeker site to operate as a temporary bar. On completion of the Sunseeker the shed was dismantled and moved to the Geraldton Turf Club grounds. Known as “The Barn” this building has served as the Public Bar to this day (with a few updates over the years!)

The start of the 1973-74 racing season saw a name change for the Club, from the Victoria Race Club to the Geraldton Turf Club

Caption by Geraldton Turf Club.

Snapshots is an initiative of the Geraldton Regional Library. For more information, or to donate a historical photo or slide to the Library, contact Heritage Services at the Geraldton Regional Library on 9956 6659 or

Geraldton Turf Club

Photo caption: Race Day at the Meru track, 1910, courtesy of Geraldton Regional Library Local History Collection.

Image number: P 10339

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