Child jockey’s rel­a­tives re­visit the past

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S -

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

HISTORIC: Wil­liam Har­ris, born 1859, won the Maiden Plate at just 10-years-old.

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