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Anyone remember the 'Brickies' track, Homebush, Sydney? (merged)


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#1 johnny yuma

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:09

Who remembers the somewhat illegal night time quarter mile on Underwood Road over the reclaimed mangrove flats behind the abbatoir and brickworksin the 1960s/70s ? I had occasion to drive around the now Olympic Games precinct in Sydney,there is residential and industrial subdivision along the old flat,straight concrete roadway ,and the new street closest to the old finish line is appropriately named Nuvolari Place.Some developer with a sense of humour ??? How did it get the name?
Do any old hoons out there have photos,or stories,of Brickies, or the Granville Beefies,the 'Happy Days' burger shop adjoining a turnoff on Parramatta Road.

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:26

Strangely enough, the only thing I ever saw of it was the rubber marks on the road when I worked at Ralph Symonds, the plywood factory right at the end of the road...

Beefies, of course, was the only hamburger joint... or anything with food in the vicinity after 10pm... in a time before McDonalds.

#3 ed holly

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:56

I was there many times in mid 60's. Had a mate who wouldn't run his very hot FE himself, so had my first "works" drive there on a number of occassions. It was over a half mile in total length I think and then narrowed to a 2 lane road across a bridge turning left. The quarter mile was clearly marked however, but many kept the boot in after the finish, I did once. The FE had triple SUs a cam extractors high comp and a Riley 4 speed. Often there would be 50 or more cars their waiting their turn for the wave of the hanky.

I lived not far from the Brickies, but it was Henry's at Rose Bay I used to frequent and the other drag joint was Bunnerong.

Brickies was the best though, a fabulous bit of 4 lane width concrete road in the middle of nowhere, only one problem it was visible from across the Parramatta River by the Constabulatory if I remember correctly.

We all reckoned that it should have been formalised at the time, like I think the street drags are now.

The name Brickies came about because the access road was originally built to service the brick pit adjacent. Right at the end of the road after the straight we used, it turned right and there were a couple of radio station masts there, 2UW was one of them, I am pretty sure that's now 101.7 if you kept going you went into Homebush Bay.

I've had a look in the Gregory's and it appears Underwood Rd has become Hill Rd and the end of the road mentioned above after turning right is Burraway Rd and it still shows the radio mast.

Must have a visit there sometime.

Edited by ed holly, 13 October 2009 - 08:06.


#4 Catalina Park

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 08:00

People could and would run anything at Brickies...

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#5 wagons46

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 10:04

The good ol' brickies. I first discovered it in the '50s on my pushbike. We used to go out there and ride in the ponds of water the half circle ends off the huge wooden spools that the PMG used to have their cables wound around. As it was an an unofficial dump my parents continually said I would get polio from being there. I bought my first car when I was 14 and went out there often and if I remember correctly the main brickworks road finished and turned to dirt and then this 4 lane cement road continued with the sweeper and the long straight, sharp right hander and short run to the end and the river. Not long after, they started building the factories at this end and the dirt section was cemented and joined the brickworks road. Before that happened it was an unlicenced, uninsured, unregistered drivers paradise.

Some years later, around 63-64 I had all the legal reqirements and some pretty quick cars and would still frequent the place, introducing it to a lot of people unaware of its existance. The mob from the "Beefies" would spread the word that a night was on and it was nothing to have 50-80 cars out there on a big night. The police never attended in my time, but I think there were some accidents later on and they began to patrol it on a regular basis.

From a standing start the quicker cars would be doing 90mph at the end of the 1/4 and back off to go through the sweeper. The challenge was to keep the foot down and go round the bend at 100mph. I have a fuzzy photo of myself doing this ,not that I can proove the speedo reading.

It wasn't a myth that Spencer Martin had occasion to test run the Boomerang Holden out there in '63 ,but during the day, not with the hoons.

Great days.......no drugs,no grog, plenty of smokes and tons of adrenalin.

#6 johnny yuma

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 02:04

Strangely enough, the only thing I ever saw of it was the rubber marks on the road when I worked at Ralph Symonds, the plywood factory right at the end of the road...

Beefies, of course, was the only hamburger joint... or anything with food in the vicinity after 10pm... in a time before McDonalds.

Visited the Ralph Symonds ply works on a high school excursion circa 1966.The head honcho was out front in what looked like a maroon velvet smoking jacket,cravat,cream trousers and puffing on a fat cigar.Does this sound like your old boss Ray ? As well do you know if the curved plywood interiors for the Sddney Opera House were fabricated at Symonds works ?
BTW if you look very closely on the pavement in front of what was the ply factory the painted white line start of quarter mile mark is still visible.Before Nuvolari Place was constructed recently, I RE-LAID 400 METRES along with a Surveyors EDM and did some runs but it has gotten too busy there now even late at night.There's a yellow dot on the kerb.

The meetings peaked at about 200 competitors but a spin out into a nearby swampy area brought police surveillance.I heard on at least one occasion cars lined each side of the quarter with lights on to illuminate the concrete,and a hot-dog vendor set himself up at the start area.

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 03:25

Sorry, Johnny... I never actually worked for old Ralph Symonds...

He'd died by the time I came along. In fact, the company was in the hands of Receivers and trading that way after his death because all the drive and innovation came from the old man.

I can't tell you whether or not they did the Opera House stuff or not. The 'Timber Engineering Department' used to do some pretty incredible things forming ply products and may well have done so.

The head of the show when I was there was a man named Thomas Ivor Punton. Fairly young, an accountant type I think.

#8 seldo

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 02:35

People could and would run anything at Brickies...

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:lol: How about that? I'm afraid that I have to admit having had the occassional complicity in this anti-social behaviour... And so who do I see here but my good friend Robert T (now prominent respected Sydney legal eagle) in action in what was affectionately known as "Mummy's racing car" - a Morris 1100 bog-standard apart from 6" rims and Pirelli Cinturato tyres. The car was also entered (without Mummy's permission nor knowledge) and driven by Brian Fleming in 5 races at Orange's Towac circuit where was placed in all races against some dedicated racers such as Max Stewart's Triumph 2000. Crikey - that was 1965!!
I just noticed the passenger who I'm sure is dear friend the late Norm Ellis (who went on to become a very fine policeman....)

Edited by seldo, 19 October 2009 - 02:38.


#9 kevinbartlett

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 02:53

:lol: How about that? I'm afraid that I have to admit having had the occassional complicity in this anti-social behaviour... And so who do I see here but my good friend Robert T (now prominent respected Sydney legal eagle) in action in what was affectionately known as "Mummy's racing car" - a Morris 1100 bog-standard apart from 6" rims and Pirelli Cinturato tyres. The car was also entered (without Mummy's permission nor knowledge) and driven by Brian Fleming in 5 races at Orange's Towac circuit where was placed in all races against some dedicated racers such as Max Stewart's Triumph 2000. Crikey - that was 1965!!
I just noticed the passenger who I'm sure is dear friend the late Norm Ellis (who went on to become a very fine policeman....)


Seldo, I must admit also to that behavior, but none of us were loutish, just car crazy. It was the place for testing the occasional race car. Leon Thomas and John Bruderlin introduced me to it in the mid to late '50'S. On one early morning jaunt we even tried a JAP speedway bike there. I lived fairly close to the Homebush area and as a skid-kid, also attended the mud flats adjacent. Let alone my mum's Morrie testing prior to race events.


#10 brucemoxon

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 03:03

I never had the stones to go there - too many stories of Police heavy-handedness and so on. A mate of a mate of my brother's (why do I doubt the veracity?) mouthed off to the cops and got his lights broken. Then he got a defect notice for broken lights! Allegedly.

Brickies features in the awful movie "The FJ Holden." The Police are coming, so there's a big panic - one car even gets shoved into the Parramatta River (the implication being that it's stolen).

Sadly, we now 'tut-tut' at car-mad young people who want to do the same crazy stuff we did. Luckily we found out about 'legitimate' racing, rallying and hillclimbing - we should be, as competitors, enthusiasts and the like, going to where they are and spruiking our sport.

And now Brickies will be used for motor racing again.




Bruce Moxon

#11 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 04:15


As this is becoming something of a confesional I must also own up to having had several visits to to the brickies back in the early / mid sixties. I gave my TC a run there once in full race trim and was able to surprise a few of the touring car heads but most of my visits were in company with the late Barry Sharp and his great variety of wild machinery. Sharpy was a regular at the Beefies which, as others have noted, was often the stepping off spot for a great night out at the brickies.

#12 john medley

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 06:36

Like Bill Clinton, I did not inhale, but I take your point about"something of a confessional", Paul ( and Kevin, and David, and Mr Yuma, and the rest...): even Herb Neal, a true blue proper and lovely sort of a bloke, had the hide to tell me some time ago that he ran there Way Back Then.

This is very funny, real, and entertaining stuff about a time when we were young and our beards were black. As the FitzFiles would say "Ya gotta love this town" , and the people who used to be in it back then

#13 wagons46

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 08:40

Crikey.....Sir Jack will be 'fessing up next minute! I know Pete Geoghegan knew exactly where brickies was. Many a sporty car was "tuned" to his specs there.
Here are a couple of snaps of the early "brickies" site. The one with the 49 Rover shows a very under-developed area, this would be 1962. ( I'd love to have the Rover back for the 100 pounds I sold it for, and check out the exhaust just in front of the R/R wheel hooked up to a TR3 muffler) and the blurry early model is the one I mentioned in post 5, with a little oversteer at 100mph coming from the reverse direction to the 1/4 mile straight. Behind IS the proverbial brickworks . I think the road is now divided by a raised centre island.Posted Image
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#14 Catalina Park

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 09:40

:lol: How about that? I'm afraid that I have to admit having had the occassional complicity in this anti-social behaviour... And so who do I see here but my good friend Robert T (now prominent respected Sydney legal eagle) in action in what was affectionately known as "Mummy's racing car" - a Morris 1100 bog-standard apart from 6" rims and Pirelli Cinturato tyres. The car was also entered (without Mummy's permission nor knowledge) and driven by Brian Fleming in 5 races at Orange's Towac circuit where was placed in all races against some dedicated racers such as Max Stewart's Triumph 2000. Crikey - that was 1965!!
I just noticed the passenger who I'm sure is dear friend the late Norm Ellis (who went on to become a very fine policeman....)

Hi Seldo, I found that photo in a copy of the Australian Motoring Yearbook from 1977. :)


#15 seldo

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 13:59

Hi Seldo, I found that photo in a copy of the Australian Motoring Yearbook from 1977. :)

Fascinating :) Thank you! . It actually prompted me to contact said Robert T and we may get together again soon after an absence of about 40 years....

#16 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:26

In Adelaide we had Torrens Island, The mad mile at Ohalloran Hill and on occasion railway tce at MileEnd. And I was seldom naughty but did attend on occasions as a spectator in the early 70s.
Some fairly well known names and cars attended though mostly drag racers though some would be known in speedway and circuit as well.
A couple of cars came unstuck at Torrens Island and ended up in the mudflats and some idiot doing ringys between the parked cars came unstuck and a girl was carted off to hospital as everybody else split.
The racing was never the problem, just the idiots doing burnouts and ringys. And they still are today!

#17 Ian G

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:19

I never had the stones to go there - too many stories of Police heavy-handedness and so on. A mate of a mate of my brother's (why do I doubt the veracity?) mouthed off to the cops and got his lights broken. Then he got a defect notice for broken lights! Allegedly.

Bruce Moxon


I only went there once,about 10pm on a Sunday Night around 1968/69, i had only just arrived when the Police(20-50) in about a dozen cars blocked off the access Road and then preceded to go over every car,at least 50 probaly closer to a hundred, and then issue defect notices and lectures to the drivers.I went for a noisey muffler and "dangerous" flared guards. We finally got out of there about 1am and then all went back to the "Big Chief" or "Beefies" to compare infringement notices when the word went around to meet at "Shell". They all then went to a street near the Refinery and then started impromtu drags,sometimes 3 abreast up this back street with the Shell security guards looking on and cheering!!.
That was my first and last outing with the Castlereah mob,i thought to myself these guys are mad,from then on i stuck to Cams events and drifted into rallying.I didn't know the place had a history going back to the 50's.

Edited by Ian G, 20 October 2009 - 03:23.


#18 Wirra

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:58

As I am not a sexagenarian quite yet Brickies peaked a little before I obtained my licence – not that that was ever a requirement. I do however have fond memories of the PMG rafts and the mud flats and Mum’s in her Dame Edna attire warnings us about catching polio from the place. My elder brother gave his FIAT 1100, with the obligatory 6” rims and Pirelli Cinturatos, a run there a few times as did his mate Brian ‘Shorty’ McGrath - famous for his multiple rolls of a Renault R8 at Forest Elbow. Both were involved with the once booming Sydney Technical College Car Club and tech teacher Brian Lawler.

At the time my brother was also friendly with the Cookes, Garry (sp) and his brother who were IIRC associated with Cooke and Saville Motors (Norm Saville) located at Flemington/Homebush (now the Produce Markets). For the record I wish to emphasise that my brother was ‘friendly with’ but not ‘an associate of’ the Cookes!

Edited by Wirra, 20 October 2009 - 06:14.


#19 seldo

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 05:53

As I am not a sexagerian quite yet Brickies peaked a little before I obtained my licence – not that that was ever a requirement. I do however have fond memories of the PMG rafts and the mud flats and Mum’s in her Dame Edna attire warnings us about catching polio from the place. My elder brother gave his FIAT 1100, with the obligatory 6” rims and Pirelli Cinturatos, a run there a few times as did his mate Brian ‘Shorty’ McGrath - famous for his multiply rolls of a Renault R8 at Forrest Elbow. Both were involved with the once booming Sydney Technical College Car Club and tech teacher Brian Lawler.

At the time my brother was also friendly with the Cookes, Digby and Garry (sp) who were IIRC associated with Cooke and Saville Motors (Norm Saville) located at Flemington/Homebush (now the Markets). For the record I wish to emphasise that my brother was ‘friendly with’ but not ‘an associate of’ the Cookes!

Digby had no association with Cooke and Saville at all - he was an insurance broker, and, as a matter of interest is hale and hearty and still playing with cars and turns 80 on the 26th of Oct. I'm not even sure that Gary had any direct association with C & S either unless it was family - he had Gary Cooke Motors.

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#20 Wirra

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 06:08

Thanks for that - word association can be a trap. I've deleted the reference. I'm fairly sure Gary and his brother (?) were involed with Cooke (sons?) and Saville Motors as they drove 'souped-up' Peugeots 203s at the time and I remember trips to the garage.

#21 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 07:09


I saw quite a bit of Gary Cooke in the early seventies when I was involved for a while with the Sydney based Mazda Dealer Team. Gary was then heavily into Mazdas and my recollection is that he and his brother Denis were the sons of the Cooke in Cooke and Saville Motors which would explain their earlier Peugeot interests. I don't recall their dad's christian name but his partner was Norm Saville. Gary was (and, if still around, probably still is!!) a pretty wild man and anyone daring to go into print on the subject could fill a separate thread with stories about him.

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 07:10

Gary and Denis Cooke were the sons of Bill Cooke...

Bill and Norm Saville were the owners of Cooke and Saville Motors, but the Cookes eventually (about 1965?) left Norm to it.

Norm, of course, unfortunately died shortly after the crash in the '79 Repco trial that killed his two co-drivers.

By the early seventies, Gary was specialising in Mazda rotaries, Denis moved out to Lithgow where he still runs a scrap metal business (with a branch in Bathurst).

Paul posted while I was typing this up...

Yes, Gary was wild. I remember one day at the Farm someone biffed him in his Mini. He rejoined the race and did a very slow lap, a lap aimed at being in our sector (across the lake from the pits) when the miscreant came by... and guess what?

Bill, of course, ran in the fifties in Peugeots and also in a Peugeot engined Special (or two?). He was in the 1958 AGP at Bathurst and had a stunning first lap that saw him spinning in front of Barry Collerson in Murrays Corner. I've posted a pic of that spin before.

Edited by Ray Bell, 20 October 2009 - 07:14.


#23 johnny yuma

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 08:00

Crikey.....Sir Jack will be 'fessing up next minute! I know Pete Geoghegan knew exactly where brickies was. Many a sporty car was "tuned" to his specs there.
Here are a couple of snaps of the early "brickies" site. The one with the 49 Rover shows a very under-developed area, this would be 1962. ( I'd love to have the Rover back for the 100 pounds I sold it for, and check out the exhaust just in front of the R/R wheel hooked up to a TR3 muffler) and the blurry early model is the one I mentioned in post 5, with a little oversteer at 100mph coming from the reverse direction to the 1/4 mile straight. Behind IS the proverbial brickworks . I think the road is now divided by a raised centre island.Posted Image
Posted Image

Man that FX Holden on the sweeper is the Real Deal ! When you blow the photo up thats a LOT of opposite lock,a lot of body roll,and it's only just a corner.I had the pleasure of attempting to take XL curve at Amaroo after holding the throttle flat from Brabham Loop in an FX.Previous laps seemed to demand a brief backoff then flat again.Sure enough at 90mph no brief backoff meant almost instant step-out and-lucky me 180 degree slow rotate to stop with brakes locked. love the photo.

#24 HistoricMustang

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 14:38

Would this be the general area?

Henry :wave:

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#25 wagons46

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 20:37

It sure has changed from my last visit there. I've just Googled it myself to see the whole area and if you go to "street view" you can see the metre wide raised medium strip. Hill Rd is a new addition ,Benneong Pkwy was the brickies road. The sweeper seem to be ruined and slightly re-routed so that now it is a "T" intersection joining the straight although you can see a narrow road following the old route. The swamps and mud flats seem to still exist on the right of the brickworks site .I have some other photos I'll have to dig out ,but not of the night "meets"

#26 johnny yuma

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 04:00

Go back to the google map wagons46,the finish line of the quarter was on the long straight concrete road (now Hill Road) near intersection with a new street Nuvolari Place (love it !) Go a quarter mile towards the river along Hill Road from Nuvolari Place,and you're in front of the previous Ralph Symonds plywood factory (has a long mission brown roof gable facing the road) this was the start line area.Look closely and you will see the remains of white line painted across the road if you go there.The concrete road is totally unchanged here,but some median strips have been placed on the right angle bend just north of the start line.

#27 Daren W

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 22:47

Hi I was there in the late 80's in a Renault 10 just for a look and got pulled over by the cops they checked the rear tires to see if I had just done a burnout little did they know but the stock 135 15's would not spin even with a big rev start it just bogs down. Daren

#28 GeoffR

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 12:11

Ha ha, what were the cops on expecting that a Renault 10 could manage a burnout?

The whole 'brickies' thing reminds me of Mildura in the same period. There was a certain truck parking area out along the Adelaide highway that would accomodate up to 40 cars. Word would get around on a Saturday night that 'it' was on and everyone would congregate at this area around midnight. The drag races were well supervised (observers in place up & down the highway) and the races were from nought to flat out.

A classic was the local dickhead who could afford a Phase 2 GTHO, then took it out there & cleaned up a white post while doing a doughnut. He left early & wasn't seen there again, and the white post was ceremoniously cremated!

#29 johnny yuma

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:29

For older Australians who grew up (or never quite did) in Sydney,the latest Muscle Car magazine has a story with pictures of the less than legal but very well attended drag racing strip in use at night during the sixties and early 70s.The concrete road is still there,but new developments make it a no go for high speed ...but it's still a "cruise by" for WRXs ,EVOs and suchlike for the yoof of today.


#30 Wirra

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 05:06

http://forums.autosp...howtopic=116805

#31 eldougo

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 05:06

I sure we had a thread on this topic last year.And i was one of those older oz that attended some times.