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History of Woodman Point Racecourse

History of Woodman Point Racecourse

Horse racing and stables have always been an important part of the history of Cockburn.

Since the earliest days of settlement, Fremantle jockeys and trainers have headed south of the port city to treat the settlers to a grand day of racing and picnics.

The first reported race held at Woodman Point was in 1833, but it wasn’t until about 1884 that a regular race day was held there. Hundreds of Fremantle citizens came down from the port by steamboats or private yachts, and the market gardeners and dairy farmers of the Cockburn area came by road from far and wide to enjoy races in the November heat.

In 1894, the Fremantle Jockey Club took over the Woodman Point Racecourse.

By then the track was half-wild, and the Fremantle Jockey Club tried to turn it into a successful racecourse. They were granted a 99-year lease in 1899, and might have succeeded, but the area was hard to access and the government would not extend the railway line far enough south.

By 1901, the club had stopped operating at Woodman Point, and in 1904 the disused track was taken over for the explosives magazine and the Jockey Club began meeting at Bicton instead. No trace remains there of a once-popular sport.

Local history questions or anything to add? Please let us know by commenting below.

This article can also be seen on the Cockburn Libraries’ Local History blog and first appeared in the August 2015 edition of Cockburn Soundings

About The Author


Leah works as the Reader Services Librarian at Spearwood Public Library, where she orders the books, and takes requests for anything you can't find in the library! She also researches and writes local history articles for the Cockburn Soundings, and for anyone who has a local history question. Comment below to ask Leah a question.

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