Apr 22

7 Historical Bathurst Race Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

While the Bathurst Race is probably the most exciting event in the area these days, there is quite a bit of history behind the oldest inland settlement in Australia.

bathurst race

Bathurst 1000 at the Mount Panorama Circuit in Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the next time you are in town for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, you might want to take in a little of the history of the real Mount Panorama. Here are some fun facts about the area to get you started:

• While Bathurst is clearly the oldest inland settlement in Australia, did you know that the first peal of church bells came from All Saints’ Cathedral in 1855, over one hundred years before the first Bathurst Race?

• The first gold in Australia was discovered in the Bathurst area, in the year 1823, and the first payable gold was found in 1851. It would be over 100 years before Australians would begin manufacturing the V8 engines that are used in the Bathurst Race.

The first hops in Australia were grown here in Bathurst

Bathurst history

Bathurst (Photo credit: G Bayliss)

• Before the Bathurst Race, the most exciting racing news was in 1866 and 1869 when “The Barb” and “Merriwee” (respectively) won the Melbourne Cup. Both horses were owned by George Lee “of Leholm” O’Connell.

• Both car racing and motorcycle racing have been around Mount Panorama since the 1920’s. It is these pioneers that earned Mount Panorama its world-wide recognition on the stock car racing circuits and made the Bathurst Race what it is today.

Bathurst Race Nissan Bluebird

Nissan Bluebird Bathurst Race Car (Photo credit: asm024)

• However, even before the car racing in the 1920’s Bathurst was home to the national headquarters of Cobb & Company, one of Australia’s first transportation and mail companies. The headquarters was founded in 1862 and mainly dealt with Australia’s stage coach line, delivering passengers and mail before the railway system was developed. The company located to Bathurst to take advantage of routes to the goldmines.

• Charles Darwin and Queen Elizabeth II have both visited Bathurst, and Prime Minister Ben Chifley (1945-1949) was born here.

• If you will be drinking beer at the Bathurst Race, you might give a nod to the original Bathurst brewery. The first hops in Australia were grown here in Bathurst and then successfully brewed into one of the first Australian beers.

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Entries open 11 April 2013 and close 30 June 2013