Acknowledgements: © State Library of New South Wales; Equinity in the Picture Gallery; Free Exhibition from 8 October 2007 to 13 January 2008.
The brook, Five-Dock Grand Steeple-chase, c. 1844 Thomas Balcombe after Edward Winstanley
The stone wall, Five-Dock Grand Steeple-chase, c. 1844 Thomas Balcombe after Edward Winstanley
The first recorded steeplechase event in the colony was staged over 5 miles (8 km) between the Sydney suburbs of Botany and Coogee in 1832. The popularity of this sport saw a series of three annual steeplechase events being held in the 1840s, the Hawkesbury Stakes. Thus race was held over a three-mile (4.8 km) course at Mr Charles Abercrombie’s estate, located at present-day Birkenhead Point. Scenes from the first race are seen in Five-Dock grand steeple-chase, 1844.
The scenes depicted in Five-Dock grand steeple-chase reflect changes stages usually included in British works of similar race events, including the start or first leap, floundering in the brook, clearing a fence or wall, and the finish.