Thursday, March 31, 2005

National Jockeys Day

While home in Brisbane, mum told me about a national memorial raceday, to commemorate those horse racing jockey's killed in the sport in Australia. As well as being the second year of the annual event (which is an initiative of the Australian Racing Board and the Australian Jockeys Association), mum had heard in a media report that the Victorian Racing Association had unveiled a permanant memorial, named Fallen Jockey, at Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, to honour the 298 jockeys who have died in training or at the races between 1847 and 2004.

This article from The Age newspaper discusses the launch day, where some of the families of those named on the memorial were there for the unveiling.

Mum and I wanted to find out more, so a quick search through the web, and we had found the offical website, and to our surprise and pride the same listing that appears on the memorial right there in front of us. Click here to see the website, and click here to see the listing of the names in alphabetical order, including my father, John Spargo.

We also came across a media release from the Victorian Government Minister for Racing, the text of which i've copied in below:

State Government of Victoria Logo - link to Victorian Government Home


DATE: Saturday, March 5, 2005


The memory of 298 Australian jockeys killed doing the job they love will now live on, thanks to a commemorative statue at Caulfield Racecourse unveiled today by Racing Minister John Pandazopoulos.

The new statue, named Fallen Jockey, is adorned with the names of jockeys who lost their lives on the racetrack since racing began in Australia 160 years ago.

The statue depicts a bronze figure of Hughie Cairns, a jockey who died in the 1920s in a fall at Moonee Valley. Cairns was 40 at the time of his death and was on the eve of retirement.

“This statue will remind race goers of the passion and determination displayed by our jockeys, both past and present, for many years to come,” Mr Pandazopoulos said.

Today is the second National Jockey Celebration Day. It aims to formally recognise and celebrate the role of jockeys, and raise funds for the National Jockeys’ Fund.

Mr Pandazopoulos said the National Jockey Celebration Day stems from a study commissioned by the State Government and Victorian Jockeys Association in 2001.

Mr Pandazopoulos said the statue and the National Jockey Celebration Day were two of the initiatives put in place as a result of the Research Study into the Welfare of Retired Jockeys commissioned by the Bracks Government and the Victorian Jockey Association.

“The second National Jockey Celebration Day will see 23 racetracks across Australia formally celebrate and recognise the contribution of our jockeys. This includes a simultaneous one minute silence to honour fallen jockeys.

“The Bracks Government is committed to the ongoing welfare of our jockeys and has this year committed more than $300,000 from the $8 million Racing Community Development Fund for the ongoing financial, educational and welfare support programs for jockeys.

“Furthermore, under the Racing Community Development fund, we’ve contributed $250,000 towards occupational health and safety training programs at country clubs and racetracks as well as $110,000 for good practice programs for horse trainers, Racing Victoria Limited and club employees.”

I plan to go and see this the first time i am back in Melbourne in 2007. I just wanted to post about it here so people can read it.



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