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Wagga Wagga Gold Cup 2015


A Wagga Wagga Gold Cup History Fact


The Wagga Wagga Gold Cup, is without doubt our cities most prestigious event of the year. But what was it like back in the days of the late 19th Century?  A book by Eric Irvin publish in 1960, gives a great insight.

“Inside the course, despite a day of dry, baking heat, there was a carnival atmosphere…The band from Burton’s Circus, as always, was providing music as gay as possible in the shade of one of the booths. The booth-holders were doing a record trade in both alcoholic and non-alcpholic beverages, and on the fringes of it all were to be seen the little tents, booths and so on down to a rickety table of the “Bohemian Sharpers” who provided the thimble and pea trick, the three card trick, crown and anchor, roulette wheels and a variety of other allurements for the gullible. In addition there were the usual merry-go-rounds, caged beasts, and fortune-tellers, for the country race meetings of those times was also something of a fair, and the sharper’s paradise.

The “Advertiser” implied that the “carnival” atmosphere which prevailed was largely due to the ingenious efforts of sideshow people determined to part the gullible from their money.”
“Of course there was a merry-go-round, a ‘Museum of Novelties’, a tent containing ‘the smallest living horse in the world’, a snake charmer, sword swallower, and forty or fifty games of chance, the promoters of which pledged their honour that the game was ‘fair and square’. Somehow the public investors rarely won. Perhaps the most curious game was that in which a live and trained goose picked a numbered marble from a tin box, and the owner of the corresponding number won a prize. The goose on the table was not the only two-legged one present and it seemed to say by the twinkle in its eye: A goose once saved the Roman Capital, but you geese are loosing all your capital…”

Pages 31 & 36
Irvin, Eric 1960, The Murrumbidgee Turf Culb [i.e. Club] : its early history, Printed at the Daily Advertiser, Wagga Wagga, N.S.W

Picture: Wagga Wagga Gold Cup, 1884. Sydney Mail, 15 November 1884.
Republished in “Wagga Wagga – A History”, by Sherry Morris and Wagga Wagga City Council, in 1999