Kapunda Harness Racing Club Inc.

History of the Club

In 1945 as the war came to an end and local identities Tom Hansberry and Gerry Schluter were racing horses at Wayville with success and others raced their horses at the local shows. The KHRC was formed by the following local identities, T Hansberry, L Burton, J Higgins, J Brewster, D Davoren , F Donovan, B Modystack, R Hansberry, G Schluter, M Shakeshaft, A Shannon & E Hambour. The Club was registered with the South Australian Trotting League. With Mr Tom Hansbedrry being elected as delegate.

Mr Eli Hambour (who celebrated is 101tst birthday in January) recalls they faced a massive task to prepare an area of Dutton Park ( a section of the 50 acres bequeathed to the Kapunda Community by the late Sir Sydney Kidman for recreational use) . It was native scrub with a creek running through it adjacent to Hancock Road. Volunteers cleared the land of trees, prepared a track. The group filled in the creek, prepared a track, built horse stalls, erected an elaborate wood panel running rail and other necessary facilities. Eli with many talents was an experienced “powder monkey” and he undertook the job of blowing out the tree buts, he also was experienced as a carpenter and supervised the erection of buildings including the Totalizator building. Money was borrowed to grade and prepare the track for racing in 1947.

All was in readiness in 18 months for the club’s opening meeting on 11th March 1947. It was a day meeting, 105 horses raced, the majority arriving and departing on the horse train, some from interstate, the city and sidings in between. Eight races were run with the total stakes of 385 pounds. It was a great success and fitting result for the foresight and hard work of the group of enthusiasts of 1945.

Just some short observations from the first race book, Rail Transport Arrangements – Train leaves Adelaide for Kapunda 9.05am (horses must be loaded by 8.45am) the return journey Train left at 5.10pm (horses to be loaded by 4.50pm). Their were 24 registered bookmakers for the meeting. The phone number for the Club Kapunda 16.

The first race on the course was won by Prefix, Owned by Mrs ED Bush and Trained by Mr JC Edwards and driven by Mr W Shin. The race was over 11 furlongs run in a time of 3: 12 1/3 a mile rate of 2:10 4/5. Fields were from 20 to the smallest on the day of 11 runners. Other known winners were Radiant Wilbur owned and trained by committeemen Gerry Schluter and Molly Axworthy won the last race owned/trained and driven by the President Mr Tom Hansberry. Tom had a driving double as he drove Radiant Wilbur earlier in the day. Stakemoney started at 35 pounds to 100 pounds plus a 15 guinea (15 pound 15 shillings) trophy for the main race the Kapunda Stakes. The winner received 83 pounds plus trophy for this race.

Three Meetings were held in 1947, 3 in 1948, then increased to the hey days of the 50’s to the 90’s when 22 or more meetings were conducted each year, with stakes of up to $20,000 and crowds of 3000 people attending. The Club originally raced on Tuesday afternoons, with the installation of lights in the mid 50’s it changed to night racing on Tuesday nights. The lights and the inside running rail were removed approx 5 years ago as part of the restructure of harness racing in SA.

The decline in Harness racing and the sale of the TAB has seen a drastic change in the number of country meetings and most of these being NON-Tab meetings as is the case for this Kapunda Club.

Mr Eli Hambour was honoured by having the Kapunda Pacing Cup named in his honour, the Eli Hambour 60th Anniversary Kapunda Pacing Cup. Eli was secretary for 30 years but continued on the committee totalling 50 years of service to the Club.

The present committee is committed to putting Kapunda Harness Racing back up in the forefront in South Australia, and hopes to hold more meetings per season to take advantage of the facilities that his has.

The Club has had a stable committee with only 8 presidents and 7 secretaries in its life time.

Past officials of the Club:-

Presidents

Mr. Tom Hansberry
Mr. Merv King
Mr. Marcus Hearl
Mr. Bill Mosey
Mr. Marcus Hearl
Mr. Bill Adams
Mr Stephen Norman
Mr Robert Harrison
Mr. Marcus Hearl
Mr. Wayne Standish
Mr. Marcus Hearl (Current)

Secretaries

Mr. Eli Hambour
Mr. Bill Adams (2)
Mr. Merv Rodda
Ms Caron Hipwell
(Harrison)
Mr. Rod Whenan
Mrs. Roxanne Rosenzwieg
Mr. Rod Whenan (Current)

Life Members

Mr. A Lee
Mr. Norton Schluter
Mr. R Higgins
Mr. Marcus Hearl
Mr. W Mosey
Mr. Bill Adams
Mr. R Hansberry
Mr. Merv King
Mr. G Schluter
Mr. Eli Hambour

Life Members

Mr. M Higgins
Mrs. Joan Adams
Mrs. M Lee
Ms. Bev Welke
Mr. S Norman
Ms. Jenny Welke
Mr. Jack Elmslie
Mr. Peter Jones
E.W. (Ted) Lesley

See also the “About Us” page