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Aspendale - birthplace of Australian motor racing?


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#1 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 11:02

According to an article wrtten by an ARDC Member, James Robert Crooke staged and then won Australia's first motor race on 12th March 1904 at Sandown Park horse racing track. In 1905-06 he built the worlds first purpose-built car racing track at Aspendale Park in Victoria. The crushed white gravel track was formed inside the pear shaped horse racing track..

The first car race meeting on the track was held by the RACV on 29 January 1906.

Please discuss....

Edited by 275 GTB-4, 09 October 2011 - 22:16.


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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 12:25

Isn't there an assertion that an event in WA preceded the Sandown Park race?

And exactly what, Mick, has this to do with any ARDC member?

#3 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 14:33

I am aware of two meetings at Crooke's motor course, the inaugural meet on 29 January 1906, and one more on 7 and 9 November 1906 (originally scheduled for 5 and 7 November) - but were there any more on this historically significant course?

Also, the original gravel course at Aspendale was later replaced by a paved oval which opened on 23 February 1924. How many meetings were held there? It seems to have been replaced by a dirt track in 1928 so it didn't last long.

#4 john medley

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 21:08

275, I will go along with what you quote ARDC member # 1878 as stating -- because that is the generally held view of history. You have selected your words with impressive care -- except in the title, which can be disputed ( and already has been)

#5 GMACKIE

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 21:22

Perhaps it was just an oversight.......leaving the ? off at the end?

#6 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 21:54

Perhaps it was just an oversight.......leaving the ? off at the end?


John and Greg..yes, I thought about adding the obligatory ? to cover my ass..but with the best of intentions, proceeded out of interest. I now see that the subject is a little like so many other disputed claims - Who discovered Australia?! Having said all that, I believe it a worthy subject for discussion in this place and if recognition needs to be afforded, then lets do it. Cheers Mick

#7 GMACKIE

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 22:05

At the risk of creating 'fluff'.........Mick, is it cold in Canberra? Why do you need to cover your donkey?

#8 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 22:05

[quote name='Rob Semmeling' date='Oct 10 2011, 01:33' post='533018m aware of two meetings at Crooke's motor course, the inaugural meet on 29 January 1906, and one more on 7 and 9 November 1906 (originally scheduled for 5 and 7 November) - but were there any more on this historically significant course?

Also, the original gravel course at Aspendale was later replaced by a paved oval which opened on 23 February 1924. How many meetings were held there? It seems to have been replaced by a dirt track in 1928 so it didn't last long.
[/quote]

Rob, according to what I read, the original gravel course at Aspendale was later replaced by a new banked concrete and bitumen saucer shaped track in 1921.

How many meetings were held there? don't know, more research but possibly in to the late 1940s?.

#9 275 GTB-4

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 22:14

At the risk of creating 'fluff'.........Mick, is it cold in Canberra? Why do you need to cover your donkey?


Hi Greg...bright sunny day here...must get off the goggle box and go celebrate my daughters birthday!

Donkey? thought that was another ani-mule!! :wave:

#10 David McKinney

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 05:56

Perhaps it was just an oversight.......leaving the ? off at the end?

These things are easily fixed :)

#11 john medley

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 07:08

dear moderator
NOW you have done it! With the addtion of that question mark you have taken all the fun out of a wonderful argument with great potential. 275 had already tried to cover his back by stating "please discuss....", indicating he comes from a city of politicians, public servants and schoolteachers -- a sneaky device indeed. See how Ray Bell took it absolutely head on? See how certain VW people tried to stir up trouble but also tried to deflect and deceive?

I know that 275 said nothing incorrect in his original post with perhaps the heading oversight( which you, dear moderator, have now addressed. Are you keeping the peace following Australia's tipping South Africa out of the Rugby World Cup and before an OZ/ NZ encounter next Sunday?)

I wrote a book once that someone else called Bathurst: The CRADLE of Australian Motor Racing" Bernie Jacobson said lasciviously, thoughtfully but perhaps inaccurately " If Bathurst was the cradle, then was Phillip Island the womb?" This discussion has the same potential

Good question, 275. Let's go.

Yf Fthfl Srvnt
JM
PS Forget my irony -- but if DMcK added the question mark, who removed the membership number? Every piece of evidence counts!

#12 275 GTB-4

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 07:46

Medley! please don't mention the Rugger! I was married to a Kiwi for 30 odd years (well not all of them were odd)....you are treading on dangerous ground!

Politicians, public servants and schoolteachers? The balance is shifting....there are much more non-public servants here than ever before....

I'm so glad I didn't say...Please explain!

PS ? thanks David (I think) and it was me who tidied up the original post...

#13 David McKinney

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 08:12

-- if DMcK added the question mark, who removed the membership number? Every piece of evidence counts!

I did add the question mark, but don't understand your reference to membership number...

And 275, by editing your opening post, you've now created a situation where we should change the thread title. Should we make it "Australia's first motor race?"?


#14 GMACKIE

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 08:18

Me "stir up trouble", "deflect and deceive"?................NEVER! :wave:

#15 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 09:28

I had high hopes for this thread on what is a highly interesting subject. Alas, questions marks and thread titles seem to be a more interesting point of discussion. Perhaps David should move this topic back into the TNF fluff zone... :down:


Rob, according to what I read, the original gravel course at Aspendale was later replaced by a new banked concrete and bitumen saucer shaped track in 1921.


The date I mentioned above, 23 February 1924, is researched from period sources and correct in my view.

#16 275 GTB-4

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 10:00

I did add the question mark, but don't understand your reference to membership number...

And 275, by editing your opening post, you've now created a situation where we should change the thread title. Should we make it "Australia's first motor race?"?


David....someone used my reference to the ARDC and a badge number as a reason to deflect and trivialise the introduction of a
valid line of discussion...so I removed it.

I see NO reason to further fiddle with the title.

#17 275 GTB-4

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 10:06

I had high hopes for this thread on what is a highly interesting subject. Alas, questions marks and thread titles seem to be a more interesting point of discussion. Perhaps David should move this topic back into the TNF fluff zone... :down:

The date I mentioned above, 23 February 1924, is researched from period sources and correct in my view.


Rob...you are entitled to your opinion....but where is the fluff in discussing the origins of motorsport in a particular country?

I am not attacking your " researched from period sources and correct in my view" but unlike you...I have an open mind.....

can we get back on track?

(maybe some here don't want to see a rigorous discussion of this subject???)

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 10:10

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
Hi Greg...bright sunny day here...must get off the goggle box and go celebrate my daughters birthday!


There must be another Canberra in a parallel universe somewhere...

A very chill wind blowing all day, defused a little by sunshine in the morning, lots of afternoon shade in the parts I've been tended to make me think of a warmer jacket than the one I had on.

I'm still mystified about the relevance of any ARDC member, even if he or she has come up with this popularly-known information. Surely the question stands on its own without any reference thereto?

#19 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 11:26

Rob...you are entitled to your opinion....but where is the fluff in discussing the origins of motorsport in a particular country?

I am not attacking your " researched from period sources and correct in my view" but unlike you...I have an open mind.....

can we get back on track?[/size]


275 GTB-4, I am all for discussing the origins of motorsport in Australia! As I wrote earlier the topic is highly interesting. The problem is: where exactly is the discussion in this thread? What I see is mostly off-topic fluff, about question marks, non-public servants and the weather in Canberra. I was under the impression this particular subforum was for serious research. I'm not seeing any although I tried to get the ball rolling with my first post above.

I never took your statement regarding the paved oval as an attack by the way and I'm not sure how you mistook my reply as such. All I did was answer that the date I mentioned earlier is the correct one in my view, adding I researched it from period sources. If anyone knows better then I'd love to hear from them.

Edited by Rob Semmeling, 10 October 2011 - 11:27.


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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 11:41

It's not always a good idea to count on some people to understand what you have posted, Rob...

Terry Walker should weigh in with the WA information.

As for John's statement about cradles and wombs, I wonder where he could go with this event? Chatting up in the pub, perhaps? That would leave room for the Maroubras, Goulburns and Penriths to still fit in the cycle of events.

#21 David McKinney

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 13:07

I have gone through this thread and considered deleting the non-relevant posts. I've decided to leave them in for the moment, but please try to keep to the main topic from now on ;)

#22 David Shaw

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 22:35

As Terry states on his site, there was a race at the WACA on Monday October 21st 1901 during the Eight Hours' Day demonstrations.

Results are toward the bottom of this article.
[url="http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/24761689?searchTerm="R"]http://trove.nla.gov...24...rchTerm="R[/url]. Dudgeon"&searchLimits=l-decade=190

Edited by David Shaw, 10 October 2011 - 22:40.


#23 Terry Walker

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 02:13

I've been poking around using TROVE and have come up with a lot of stuff about the earliest motor races in the West.

The earliest motor races in WA were always part of bicycle club or other sports meetings, and the bicycle clubs originally welcomed motor cycles and staged special races for them in their usual bicycle race programmes. The 1901 event is the earliest I could find through TROVE, and others were held in 1902 at the Fremantle Oval, and as part of bicycle race meetings. They do not seem to have included four-wheel cars, but the makes and models of the vehicles are seldom identified - just the riders/drivers. However, tri-cars were accepted. There was quite a wave of these events through 1902-1904, and I think it was in about 1905 or 6 that a motorcycle cub was founded and motorcycle racing went its own way.

The League of Wheelman's big annual bicycle race was the Beverley to Perth, starting in the country town, and going via Northam and Toodyay (then called Newcastle) and thence to Victoria Park Hotel, the traditional finish venue. Motorcycle races over the same route occurred in 1904, and on until at least 1907. As far as I can tell, they were all motorcycles, no motor tricycles included. I don't know who won the 1904 event.

The top 4 results of the 1905 Beverley to Perth race (which was a handicap) are: (and someone who knows this period better than me can tell me if there are any tri-cars among them):

1 G Wyndham 2 hp Minerva, 4 h 33 min riding time (15 min hcp)
2 F Mallabone 2 1/2 (or possibly 2 1/4 - hard to read) hp Rover, 4 hr 3 min 10 sec riding time (25 min hcp)
3 G Wyatt, 2 hp Minerva, 4 hr 55 min riding time (15 min hcp)
4 D Jewell, 1 hp Sarolea, riding time and hcp not specified

There were several others who finished.

These motor-cycle races, often confusingly described just as motor races in the contemporary press, where quite a feature at the time. So the running of a four-wheel motor race as part of a public holiday sports festival such as St Patricks Day in Boulder 1909 was an inevitable evolution. The 1909 Boulder event was a full-on car race, no motor cycles, and there were bookies giving odds and all.

If you start digging in the early history of cycling throughout Australia, you will almost certainly find a similar evolution as motor cycles far outnumbered cars at the time.

Aspendale's motor racing track was, though, the first known circuit built specially for motor car racing in Australia, pipping UK's Brooklands by four years.

Edited by Terry Walker, 11 October 2011 - 02:15.


#24 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 16:10

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4
Rob, according to what I read, the original gravel course at Aspendale was later replaced by a new banked concrete and bitumen saucer shaped track in 1921.

How many meetings were held there? don't know, more research but possibly in to the late 1940s?


I'm certainly no expert on Aspendale, but I do know that the concrete came and went... gravel to begin with, concrete for a while and then gravel again. I think with track length variations, too, but not great ones.

There were no post-WW2 Aspendale races, IIRC. But I'm pretty sure Peter Whitehead did race there during his trip that saw him win the AGP at Bathurst.

The other significant Melbourne oval was at Olympia Park, isn't that right, Terry? John?

It was used around the late pre-WW2 years.

#25 David McKinney

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 16:29

I'm pretty sure Peter Whitehead did race there during his trip that saw him win the AGP at Bathurst.

Yes, on 1/10/38


#26 Terry Walker

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 01:18

The Melbourne Motordrome, 1924-1956. Demolished to make way for the 1956 Olympic stadium. It was a roughly half-mile, steeply banked concrete circle originally; went bankrupt in the depression, but later - in the mid 1930s - it was run as a flat oval speedway on the infield, with the old banks stripped of the concrete and forming the spectator mounds. It was revived after WW2.

Edited by Terry Walker, 12 October 2011 - 01:19.


#27 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 08:19

Terry, were there any meetings other than the two I mentioned at the start of this thread on the original Aspendale gravel course in 1906?

#28 Terry Walker

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:43

Not as far as I know Rob.

#29 David Shaw

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 11:14

It appears that the first 2 meetings at Aspendale, in 1906, were on different tracks.

The Argus, Monday 5th November 1906 p4 under the sub-heading ASPENDALE MEETING POSTPONED

The heavy rains have thoroughly soaked the special banked motor track that had been laid down at a cost of over £1,500


#30 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 13:59

Not sure what you mean - as stated earlier, the inaugural race on the special motor course took place on 29 January 1906. The second meeting on that track was originally scheduled for 5 and 7 November, but postponed to 7 and 9 November due to rain.

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 20:10

I imagine David is suggesting that the track used in November was new at that time...

The line quoted suggests this. Of course, it could mean a 'resurfacing' job was done on the original course, too.