On 1st October 2008, the Tuncurry-Forster Jockey Club was granted a licence to conduct race meetings on the Tuncurry track. The official announcement was made by the Minister for Racing, Kevin Greene – the Jockey Club had fulfilled the requirements, and had a licence to start racing on 17th January 2009.
From the beginning…
Norm Roberts, John Darcy and Don Creighton formed the Tuncurry Forster Jockey Club in 1980. In 1984 Les Dunk and Rusty Begg also joined the board. The office Bearers at the time were:
President – Rusty Begg
Vice President – Les Dunk
Secretary – Norm Roberts
Treasurer – Don Creighton
These men kept these positions for the next 15 years, it was not until 1985, that Norm Roberts arrived at a meeting and said, “I have found some land which will be suitable”, and so the Tuncurry Racecourse as we know it today became more than just a dream.
The Development Application for the subdivision of the Racecourse Estate was submitted to Council and consisted of 34 blocks, which went on sale for prices ranging from $25,000 to $35,000.
Rusty Begg was made Trustee of the land and Norm Roberts took on the role of the Manager of the project. A small dredge was purchased and used until a bigger dredge was needed, which the club purchased with monies derived from the subdivision.
During the next 15 years these four men worked together as a team putting in up to 50 hours per week on a purely voluntary basis. They organised the sale of the sand dredged from the lake, and used it to continue with the building of the racetrack – building the hill that to this day gives a spectacular view of the overall track. They continued to build up finances to further develop the track.
Despite the knockers they continued, but were totally committed to achieving the dream of a fully functional racing venue. There have been countless other people over the years who have contributed to the project but it has been the unselfish commitment and foresight of these four gentlemen that have made the track what is today.
With the election of a new committee in 2001 came the first DA submitted to Great Lakes Council. These plans included infrastructure for the building of Stewarts Towers, jockeys’ change rooms, race viewing rooms and betting rings. Due to a number of reasons this next stage of development has been difficult to achieve.
With the unfortunate sale of the sand dredge, the main source of income for the club slowed, and it was not until the election of the current committee in February 2006 that the club have been able to build an income-producing golf driving range, which is run by volunteers.
The club is also currently renting out the stables, and there are various trainers using the track.