Vanished Williamstown - The Williamstown Racecourse
The Williamstown Racing Club (W.R.C) founded in 1864, was once one of the senior thoroughbred racing clubs in Victoria, and the Williamstown Racecourse was considered one of the finest in the country, with a large and elaborately decorated grandstand, which was built in 1872 facing out to the sea, when the Melbourne Cup was only 10 years old. The Williamstown Cup was the last of the four cups run during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
In the 1920s and 30s many famous horses raced here including Richmond Main, Heroic, Amounis, Ajax, Hallmark, Gaine Carrington, and Phar Lap himself, who won the Underwood Stakes here in 1931.
Racing at Williamstown ceased in 1948 when the course, like the M.C.G., was used to house troops. Racing was due to recommence after the war’s end, but fire destroyed the two grandstands, and racing at Williamstown ceased.
Today, nothing remains of the course, although some of the steps of the old grandstand, and a single lonely palm, one of many palms that once flourished in the course’s beautiful gardens, echo its past life. An artwork ‘Requiem For A Champion’ marks the Racecourse Road entry to what is now called Altona Coastal Park.