Horse racing has a long history in Newcastle. Sports loving workers, accustomed to the horse as their main means of transport, were quick to support competition between thoroughbred gallopers when organised racing began in 1848. Within a short period numerous racecourses in various forms of disrepair had ‘mushroomed’ throughout the area. The first race meeting was held in 1848 on a track cleared through bush and scrub in an area known as Wallaby Flat.
Wallaby Flat was an area taking in most of Hamilton, a portion of Broadmeadow and Merewether. For thousands of years previously, the area had been known as ‘Ahwar-tah Bulboolba’ (a name translated from the language of the Awabakal Aborigines meaning ‘flat it is’, ‘wallaby place’).
The starting point of the races was at the city’s first smelting works, located on the site once known as Beaumont Park, the junction of the Sydney rail line, not far from the Nine Ways, Broadmeadow was the finishing point, and therefore it is fair to say that parts of the Broadmeadow course have known the hoof-beats of fleet horses since the 1840’s.
The future of Newcastle was made secure when the first meeting of racegoers and enthusiasts of the Sport of Kings met to form the Newcastle Jockey Club in 1907. Since then the NJC has become one of the leading and most progressive racing clubs in Australia and rightly earned its place in the thoroughbred racing scene. With its close proximity to the rich breeding areas of the Hunter Valley, the club has also developed one of the State’s major training centres with many champions of the past and present commencing their racing careers at what has now become known as Beautiful Broadmeadow.