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History

From Wallum Swamp to grazing land and now one of the country’s finest thoroughbred racing and training facilities in Australia – The Sunshine Coast Turf Club.

1975

1975

Early in 1975 the Landsborough Shire decided to explore the possibility of establishing a racecourse at Mooloolah adjacent to the Ewen Maddock Dam.

1975

1976

1976

On 15th June, a development proposal to accommodate both racing and trotting was submitted to Council. Following the submission, Council established the Mooloolah Valley Recreational Committee to investigate the viability of the proposal. Meetings were held with the Hon. Sir Gordon Chalk, Treasurer and Minister for Racing Sir Douglas Wadley, Chairman of the QTC. Both Sir Gordon and Sir Douglas tried to discourage any plans for a new racecourse. On 19th November, The Ewen Maddock Dam was opened by the Hon. William (later Sir William) Knox, Treasurer and Minister for Racing.  A meeting of interested people was held in Council Chambers and a Steering Committee was named to investigate formation of a Racing Club in Caloundra and a trial gallop was staged to test the proposed area opposite The Ewen Maddock Dam. Leading jockey, Peter Cook riding Doug Treloar’s ‘Thunderbolt’ covered the trial track without incident and later stated that the racecourse at Mooloolah site was feasible.

1976

1977

1977

The initial proposal was submitted on 3rd February suggesting the Club should be named Sunshine Coast Racing and Trotting Club. This however was short-lived and by June it was decided by the Board to rule out any hope of being issued a license for a Trotting Club.  It was not yet a registered Racing Club. A public meeting approved the formation of the Club’s Steering Committee to draw up the Constitution. The inaugural meeting of what was named the Sunshine Coast Racing Club was held on 30 June. Planning indicated that more land was needed to increase the size of the track. Peter Allan produced new plans for an enlarged track extending into the adjoining property.

1977

1978

1978

In 1978, new plans were produced for an enlarged track extending into adjoining property. During this period other Clubs were also fighting against a License to ensure their own viability. On 21st March, Peter Allan was elected to the Management Committee. After strong submissions in April,  the Minister relaxed his previous hard stand and requested a viability study. On 5th August, the first Executive Committee was elected: O. Brown (President), L. Outtrim (Vice-President), O. Darling (Vice President) and B. Henzell (Secretary/Treasurer).  Committee: J. Donaldson, W. Hendricks, T. Hennessey, R. Ingram, A. Marr, G. Olm, F. Scarffe, C. Whelan and A. Wolff. In September, the central Sunshine Coast Turf Club was formed to compete for a Racing License which was virtually ruled out by the Racing Minister. An area of Sippy Downs north was put forward as a likely site, but on closer examination this alternative was abandoned and another Committee was formed to find an alternative site in Landsborough Shire. Land owned by Mr Edward Corbould, a grazier, facing Caloundra Road was recommended on 11th December as a potential site and was accepted. Mr Corbould’s initial reaction to a phone call about the possible sale of his land facing Caloundra Road was not encouraging.

1978

1979

1979

Whilst Mr Corbould’s initial reaction to the possible sale of his land was not encouraging, a formal letter sent to him on the 30th January paved the way for negotiations. Tom Hennessy and Peter Allan made it clear that the area the Club wanted for a racecourse was the section of low lying melon hole swamp. The success of meetings confirmed that a 50 year negotiable lease for the whole area could be agreed to.  Negotiations were held to discuss the opportunity to purchase the land and lease back to the Club. When Mr Corbould agreed to sell the site to the Council, the Council had made no arrangements for loan finance to fund the purchase nor did it have the funds available.  

1979

1980

1980

The contract was finally signed on the 4th February, a year almost to the day since Peter Allan first wrote to Mr Edward Corbould. The 153 hectares now known as Corbould Park was purchased by the Council for $153,000 and payment was made to Edward Corbould by way of twenty post-dated bills with a final bill falling due on 1 May 1999. Later the Shire Chairman Jack Beausang stated that “the proposed purchase of Corbould Park, as it was to be named, would be the most beneficial purchase made by the Shire since it acquired Mary Cairncross amenity”.

1980

1981

1981

On 18th May, the Club won the battle for the License and in July submitted an application for QTC registration. Clearing commenced on the site in August with the Minister for Racing agreeing to pay $40,000 for this work and with a provincial License confirmed on 1st September a small site office was erected in October. Kern Bros. offered to build the complex for $5,688,000 and the QTC granted Club registration. The founding committee was formed: T.J Hennessey (Chairman), A. Long (Vice Chairman), J. Stokes (Vice Chairman), P. Allen (Secretary), W. Henzell (Treasurer).  Committee: D.Aldous, R. Flynn, L. Geeves, R.Henzell, E. Pierce and A. Wolff.

1981

1982

1982

1982 brought the wettest season seen in 10 years and almost brought construction to a halt. There were discussions with Council regarding the terms of the lease which were finalized in June. On the 22nd July, Minister for Racing the Hon Russ Hinze, MLA granted $1 million to be made available from the Racing Development Fund for initial construction and he sanctioned Saturday Race meetings, although the grant had to be confirmed by Cabinet.

1982

1983

1983

On 6th June, the Minister granted approval for the Club to raise $2 million, and Westpac bank agreed to fund the project of $2 million. The Official Opening of the Club’s offices at Centrepoint, Bulcock Street, Caloundra was carried out by the Hon Michael Ahern MLA. On 16th June, appointment of Des Cooper as General Manager was confirmed. Construction work commenced, employing day labour for the construction and development under the supervision of the Club’s incorporation. An important milestone that year was the membership register was ruled off at 1,000, the highest per capita of any race club in Australia. A Master Concept Plan was prepared and accepted in November and action was taken to call tenders for supply of turf as earthworks approached 85% complete.  

1983

1984

1984

In February, the Minister appointed a Brisbane firm of engineers to take an overriding supervisory role of the total project and in March, the Governor in Council approved the further $2 million.   Construction was in full swing, landscaping was underway and distinctive features were a visual timing device, public address system, race information board and false start technology were being in installed.  All the pieces were now falling into place. John Green was appointed the first Racecourse Manager in May. On 27th May, 300 members were shown around the Racecourse which then provided every indication of its eventual splendour.  Veteran Jockey Kevin Mitchell and trainer Ian Mitchell predicted that Corbould Park would be a better course than Doomben or Caulfield.  All construction was completed on Friday 17th July and a trial gallop was planned and held on the newly turfed track on 28th July proving the track satisfactory. The Committee was aware of the need to develop the Racecourse as a tourist attraction while providing a first class facility for the locals. The Committee dedicated $20,000 towards promotion of the Club for the first twelve months of its total operation. This amount has since grown and the relationship between Tourism and local business has continued.

1984

1985

1985

On 25th January, Deputy Chairman Tony Long officially announced the opening date would be 25th July with no ‘ifs or buts’. The opening would be just nine years after the Mooloolah Valley Recreation Committee was formed to investigate the feasibility of a race course. The whole operation had been described as converting a snake infested swamp into a world class racing complex.  A unique factor to be remembered about the creation of Corbould Park is that whereas most courses have been developed gradually from modest beginnings, the Corbould Park design engineers and architects started from scratch and produced a perfectly planned, fully functional and attractive new racing venue ready to see the first barrier rise. The Sunshine Coast Turf Club (SCTC) conducted its first race meeting on Thursday 25th July with seven races. The first horse ever to win at Corbould Park was Mister Omega ridden by Ron Quinton and trained by Brian Tattam in the H E Corbould Transition Handicap.  The crowd attendance was 14,000 people with 1,198 members. In the inaugural year of trading the Club reported a  tote turnover was $3,613,057 and bookmakers turnover was $17,896,191.  

1985

1986

1986

Ken Norquay took up the role of General Manager at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club.

1986

1987

1987

1987 saw the introduction of TAB meetings with seven being allocated to the Sunshine Coast Turf Club. Due to technical difficulties transmitting from Brisbane to Caloundra under the TAB computer link, coverage was limited to certain race meetings.

1987

1988

1988

The Sunshine Coast Turf Club was elevated to Provincial Club status and in April conducted the Power Brewing Classic with over 5,000 patrons attending. In August, the first mid-week race meeting was held at Corbould Park.

1988

1989

1989

Further development of Corbould Park saw the completion of the Sunshine Coast Turf Club Administration Office and Level 2 Function Centre.  Following this, administration and operations moved from the central Caloundra office to the new purpose-built office facilities at Corbould Park.

1989

1992

1992

In 1992, the racing industry changed with the Queensland Principal Club taking control of the Industry from Queensland Turf Club. During this period the racing industry introduced Pub TABS and licensed gaming venues for poker machines and the introduction of Sky international racing.

1992

1993

1993

10 May, David Aldred was appointed General Manager after the resignation of Ken Norquay. The Sunshine Coast Turf Club took on a whole new look with scheduled race meetings over Saturday and mid-week. From the 53 race meetings allocated, thirty were scheduled for Saturday, three public holidays and twenty mid-week. The Anniversary Cup Carnival was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday in July for the first time.

1993

1994

1994

On 20th June,  the Sunshine Coast Turf Club became a Licensed Club. Betting meetings were introduced a short-time after and covered all Saturday race meetings when the Club didn’t race. With the new License, the Club was able to operate from Monday through to Saturday serving meals. The Klip Klop Club opened to provide a childminding service for patrons attending the Club. Also, the introduction of markets in the area adjacent the car park in Pierce Avenue. These markets were run by the Leukaemia Foundation. Sunday racing commenced.

1994

1997

1997

Changes in the Queensland Government’s regulations ruled that clubs could no longer rent poker machines and the Sunshine Coast Turf Club would be required to purchase the existing machines. At the time the new legislation was enforced, the Club was not in a financial position to purchase poker machines and in March the Champion Social Club closed. Sunshine Coast Turf Club was the first club in the South East region to establish it’s own Internet website. The site was spread over four pages and included bright colour pictures.

1997

1998

1998

The State Cabinet approved a submission from Racing Minister Russell Cooper for funding for Sunshine Coast Turf Club to purchase Corbould Park from Caloundra City Council. In September, “Pay TV” was introduced which significantly impacted on-course memberships, patronage and turnover to the racing industry.

1998