Peep into the past 1925
Featured Image: The Scone Advocate; ‘Peeps into the past’; November 1925
For approximately 150 years the Scone Advocate has been the ‘eyes, nose and ears’ of the Scone and district community as well as its historic reliquary and knowledge repository. To its great credit it has established some remarkable and lasting initiatives. One of these was the ‘Peep into the past’ series it launched to look back with nostalgic fervour and perhaps even romantic ardour on times long gone.
It’s fascinating to compare the events and horse related advertisements with what prevails almost one hundred years later! Guy Raymond of Sledmere advertised a Trotting Stallion ’John Henry’ with free services available. Since the sad demise of the late Barry Rose of Camyr Allyn I don’t recall another Standardbred stallion in the Upper Hunter? An eponymous John Henry was later to rule as one of America’s all-time great thoroughbred racehorses. Guy Raymond later relocated to St Albans, Geelong where he bred and owned the 1948 Melbourne Cup winner ‘Rimfire’. His great niece Catriona Mackay/Murphy now owns and runs Sledmere following tenure and stewardship by his own daughter Miss Anne Raymond.
A thoroughbred stallion ‘Grist’ by Maltster was advertised for Turanville at a fee of 5 guineas and paddock agistment at 2s 6d per week! Two draught horses were offered; one being an imported Clydesdale who would ‘stand in Scone and travel the district’. Service fees were advertised at 3gns and 50/- with free agistment. This resonates with me as my late grandfather was similarly committed; albeit one hundred years ago and in another country!
Perhaps most interesting of all were the Kars Springs Races on Saturday 21st November 1925. I’ve heard and read about other similar race meetings including the Belmore Heights Races on a track near my present home on the eastern edge of Scone. Elsewhere these meetings are often referred to as the ‘Spurts’. It’s a most apposite title. The races are ‘about 2 or 3 furlongs’. Presumably they lasted for between 24 secs (2 furlongs) and 36 secs (3 furlongs)? You’d need to be watching very carefully. The judges would have had to endure extremes of scrutiny? Nonetheless it was a popular pastime. There must have been upwards of 20 ‘tracks’ scattered throughout the Upper Hunter Valley; perhaps even more?
I won’t even begin to ‘compare and contrast’ with the super-inflationary standards prevailing on all the thoroughbred stallion stations scattered throughout the Upper Hunter today!