Monday, August 16, 2010

Perth Mint Struck Silver Coin Celebrates 200th Anniversary of First Australian Horse Race

A pulsating sport, a vibrant industry and an obsession for millions of people across the country, Australian horse racing was founded exactly 200 years ago, when the first official race meeting took place in Sydney. Struck by Australia’s own Perth Mint, this spectacular precious metal Proof forms an exclusive, eye catching tribute to the bicentenary of this major landmark in Australian history.

Tuvalu 2010 $1 First Official Australian Horse Race 1oz Silver Proof

One of many major advances made during the time of Australia’s fifth Governor, Lachlan Macquarie (1810-21), in part aimed at integrating a divided colonial population, Australia’s first official race meeting took place at Hyde Park in October 1810. A significant moment in the life of the infant colony, the meeting drew huge crowds, with the vitality and colour of this gala event captured perfectly upon the 40.60mm frame of the 2010 $1 First Official Australian Horse Race Bicentenary 1oz Silver Proof.

An outstanding addition to any collection, and a brilliant tribute to an event that would have a major impact on the course of Australian history, this unique .999 fine silver coin is extremely exclusive. A release of immensely broad appeal – certain to catch the eye of racing devotees as much as collectors – the mintage of 5,000 is sure to be placed under huge pressure.

The brainchild of Australia’s fifth Governor, Lachlan Macquarie (1810-21), Australia’s first official horse race meeting took place in October 1810 at the new Sydney Racecourse in Hyde Park.

Ever the visionary, Macquarie believed a racecourse would serve to integrate what was then a divided society, with official horse race meetings providing an atmosphere where colonists of all classes – military, convict, emancipist and immigrant – might be encouraged to mix freely. Soon after Hyde Park had been gazetted as a ‘common’ by the Governor, who had dedicated ‘recreation and amusement’, it became the venue for Australia’s first official horse race meeting.

The racecourse was funded by public subscription, and established by the 73rd Regiment – Macquarie’s regiment. Macquarie’s men not only built the track, but the officers of the regiment devised the rules and organised the event, with many of them owning competing horses. Held over three days on the 15th, 17th and 19th of October, 1810, the meeting comprised of a main race on each day – a best-of-three contest over a distance of 2 miles – as well as several minor races. Captain Ritchie won the main race on the first day of Australia’s first official horse race meeting, with a 6-year-old gelding named Chase. Part of what was described as ‘by far the most numerous assemblage of persons ever before collected in the colony’, Governor Macquarie attended all three days of the meet, and the event was dubbed a grand success.

The foundation stone of Australia’s rich history of horse racing – an activity embedded in our national culture – the bicentenary of this landmark event has been rightly recognised with the release of the 2010 $1 First Official Horse Race 1oz Silver Proof.

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