Flemington Racecourse is the worlds oldest continually operating metropolitan racecourse. The first race meeting was held on the rough flats next to the Maribyrnong River, eight kilometres from Melbournes CBD, in March 1840, five years after the city was first settled. At first the Victorian Turf Club and the Victorian Jockey Club were rivals, but by 1864 they had merged to form what we now know as the Victoria Racing Club.
The VRC celebrates the rich history and traditions of the racecourse with daily walking tours, allowing access to restricted areas and offering insights into why Flemington is part of Melbournes fabric.
To book a tour, call Flemington Heritage Centre on 8378 0660. The tour finishes with high tea in the heritage centre. Flemington Racecourse, Leonard Crescent, Flemington.
1. Victorian Heritage Centre
2. Phar Lap statue
Renowned sculptor Peter Corlett created the magnificent bronze statue of Phar Lap in 1988. It was a gift from the VRC to the people of Melbourne to celebrate Australias bicentenary.
This brass gong dates from 1879 when it was used to signify the start of a race. The bell part of the gong has been removed since, much to the frustration of modern-day racegoers.
4. Melbourne Cup walk of fame
Every Melbourne Cup-winning horse is honoured with a bronze plaque along the walk of fame. When the rose arbour is in bloom it makes a fitting and beautiful tribute to these legends of the track.
5. Bart Cummings statue
Bart Cummings, known as the Cups King and one of the most recognisable trainers in Australian racing, has trained winners of 12 Melbourne Cups and was suitably immortalised with a life-size bronze statue in 2000.
6. Princess Diana memorial
This stunning rose garden commemorates the Princess of Wales. Princess Diana visited Flemington on Melbourne Cup day 1985.
8. Horse stalls
Horses receive the Rolls-Royce treatment in the state-of-the-art Flemington stalls with marble from Italy, premium timber panelling and air-conditioning. There are 125 stalls and each has a seat for the strapper. Keep an eye out for No.42; its where Black Caviar rests when shes in town.
9. Makybe Diva statue
The mare Makybe Diva is a legend. She became the only racehorse to win three Melbourne Cups and did it in succession, from 2003-2005. She is immortalised in a bronze statue overlooking the racetrack.
10. Mounting yard
The mounting yard is where the jockey and horse meet before the race. It sits in front of the grandstand and in the 1990s was doubled in size.
11. The scales
12. Jockeys room
Jockeys and trainers are the only ones permitted to enter the jockeys room on race day. Jockeys are required to arrive two hours before their race.