Child jockey’s relatives revisit the past
GAYNDAH racecourse has a triple claim to fame for Queensland firsts.
In the mid-1850s a new track was built setting Gayndah up to play a significant role in the early years of Queensland racing.
Gayndah racecourse hosted Queensland’s first race meeting, the first Queensland derby in 1868 and is home to the first Queensland Jockey Club, which held its first annual meeting in 1861.
But according to seventh generation Gayndah resident Jessie Wein the track might have yet another claim to fame. “At one of the race meetings
there was an 11-year-old boy who rode as a jockey in one race,” she said.
“He actually won the race and to this day he is believed to be the youngest jockey to ever win a class one race, in Queensland and possibly Australia.”
A PREVIOUS story (CNBT, June 5) about the history of the Gayndah Races mentioned an unlikely tale of an 11-year-old boy who rode to victory at one of the early race meetings.
Cousins Thelma Bishop and Jimmy Harris read the article with a personal interest and claim the boy was their relative.
James William Harris arrived in Gayndah in 1850 and his son William Harris was born in a pub in Mundubbera in 1859.
According to his great-grandson, Gladstone resident Jimmy, William was only 10 when he rode to victory in Gayndah, the home of the first Queensland Derby, first race meeting and first Queensland Jockey Club.
And Mr Harris also claims the 10-year-old had yet another claim to fame.
“Previous to the running of the derby, this young jockey also rode Zambesi, the eventual derby winner, to a win in the Maiden Plate on the same program,” he said.
Ms Bishop, whose father is Monto-born Harry Harris, said her grandfather left this world the same way he came in: “He was born in a pub, and eventually he died in a pub,” she said.
HISTORIC: William Harris, born 1859, won the Maiden Plate at just 10-years-old.