Tag Archives: williamstown racecourse

Williamstown Racecourse – 1945 and today–aerial comparison

Thanks to an email discussion with Peter Weaver (Altona Laverton Historical Society), I realised I already had some key information to help in my quest to work out what’s what at the site of the racecourse.

Key is the 1945 high quality aerial survey found at: http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/maps/historical/1945melb/l_sheets/848b3d.jpg

By overlaying a current Google Earth image, I was able to get the two to line up. I had to shrink and move one a bit, but it seems to work. Here’s the 2 layers/images – after alignment – and in one picture  (click to expand):


The Eastern End Bridge Location?

One thing that seems obvious is that the old bridge (just left of the CREEK text) was at the end of that road/track  that started curved and straightened up to run almost due south, meeting the bridge (also running north-south). It seems to me this (today) is the western end of what is now Techno Park Drive.

Here’s that section of the 2 images as I have them in Photoshop Elements, with the modern one made almost transparent.  You can see the old bridge almost perfectly lining up with today’s Techno Park Drive. I’m happy to put any minor errors down to misalignment by me of the two images. Other people are encouraged to continue/improve this work too. 

Screenshot - 4_08_2014 , 6_22_10 PM

The Eastern Bridge, the “Birdcage” and the current lone Palm Tree of 2014

I have read that the current lone Palm Tree is (was?) in the “Birdcage” area of the racecourse [1].  I had earlier speculated, on this blog, that the bridge ‘pointed’ at the “birdcage”[2]. I’m even more confident this is more likely now

Next Steps

The ruins per se.


[1] http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/?nosession=1#detail_places;22243

[2] http://www.artwill.com.au/sic/2013/08/30/williamstown-racecourseruins-speculation/

The Williamstown Racetrack circa 1869

My latest pet interest is the history of the Williamstown Racecourse.

Now just a small pile of ruins and one palm tree, it was once Melbourne’s 3rd major track.

“Once” means about 1902. But – even then – the track was over 30 years old. It boasted fine lawns, beautiful gardens and a large grandstand.

Today, it’s 99.8% vanished :-(
The ruins are off Racecourse Road, Williamstown right near where the Ford crosses the creek. Melways Map 55 C-8.

You can easily see the lone Palm Tree. I think the rubble pile – between the Tree and the Ford – was the Grandstand. It has a few steps visible.

I’ve only just started this project and the people at the local Williamstown Museum have been very helpful. I’ve found at least three books that mention the Racecourse too. More will appear as I discover it…

If you know anything or can point me in the direction of some good resources, please click on the Comments link. That would be great!