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Back on Track

Life in the colonial Peak Downs district was a harsh and severe existence. The weather was sweltering, the work was tough, and amusements were few. It is little wonder that the highlight of the rural year for many was attending the races. Country racing has played a significant role in shaping the culture of the Clermont district since the settlement of the Peak Downs in 1864. It was a welcome break from station and mining life, an opportunity for horse owners to meet for friendly competition and a reason for country people to get together and socialise. It all began on November 30th, 1864 when two horses, Zoe and Turpin, raced the very first Clermont race. It is recorded that they ran neck in neck along a twisty, dusty track from the Sandy Creek crossing to the railing of the Australian Joint Stock Bank near the lagoon, roughly the distance of a mile. Zoe, the winner, was toasted warmly with champagne, sparking the beginning of what would become the most beloved pastime of Clermont and district, horse racing.

The first club in the district, the Peak Downs Annual Race Meeting Club was established in November of 1864. Tenders were called to clear a racecourse right away, the next race meeting being held on October 17th and 18th, 1865. The fate of the club is unclear, mentions of the name appear to fade out quite rapidly. It is likely that the club went on to be known as The Peak Downs Turf Club, who is recorded to have held their first race on August 11th and 12th, 1879. In 1946, the Peak Downs Turf Club changed their name to the Clermont Diggers Race Club, which is now known as the Clermont Race Club still today.

Of the many historical racing clubs that existed in the Clermont district, the Twin Hills Race Club is one that has also withstood the test of time. In 1884, a group of stock owners from the Belyando and Mistake Creek area established the Belyando Picnic Race Club. The course was laid out at Lanark, their very first meeting was held on July 11th and 12th in that same year. In 1921, they became the Belyando & Mistake Creek Picnic Race Club and then becoming officially known as the Twin Hills Race Club in 1976. The track is known to be approximately 90 miles north of Clermont and the Twin Hills Races still continue today!

Back on Track is the latest exhibition from the Clermont Historical Centre, on display from March 24th, 2021. Come and explore our history and discover our stories.

The Clermont Historical Centre is located on the Gregory Highway and is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.

Admission prices are $6 for adults, $4 for pensioners, $3 children under 12 years and $15 per family with two or more children.


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Official Race Programmes 1967-1991

This collection of official race programmes includes publications from the Clermont Race Club, Clermont Diggers Race Club, Belyando & Mistake Creek Picnic Race Club and the Twin Hills Race Club. Information such as horse names, weights, pedigrees, betting prices, names of Officials and Stewards are recorded.

The collection has been partly supplied by the Clermont Race Club.



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Twin Hills Photographs 1963-2005

This collection of photographs records the evolution and development of the Twin Hills Races.

The Twin Hills Race Club, at its heart, has always been a club centred on community and comradery. These photographs capture this culture and offer a glimpse of the characters and events that make up the Twin Hills story.

This collection has been supplied by Margaret Bird.


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Race Meeting Posters

This collection of official race posters includes publications from the Twin Hills Race Club, Clermont Race Club, Clermont Diggers Race Club and the Belyando & Mistake Creek Picnic Race Club. Information such as race names, names of Officials, race conditions and prizes are recorded.

The collection has been supplied by the Clermont Race Club.