Anzac Day in Kalgoorlie by the Gurkha
The memories of ANZAC Day in Kalgoorlie for The Gurkha are vivid and will forever revolve around two important facts-the Hannans Street Parade and a day at the races.
Symbolic of what the ANZAC Day spirit represents-the latter is in fact what our diggers actually went to war for.
An Australian way of life- a day at the track with a schooner or ten of Hannan’s Draught, followed by a game of swy and a hangover to match the next day.
The sound of the boots marching in unison with the jingling of war medals were melodic - any young lad growing up around Australia will remember as they followed parades on foot or push bike.
In Kalgoorlie that downhill parade in the city’s main street made for riding with the handbrake of the Malvern Star slightly depressed as you followed the parade, before taking a right hand turn into Wilson Street and ending the odyssey at the RSL.
From there it was a ride across to Egan Street and down to the Kalgoorlie Boulder Race Club for ANZAC Day at the races.
To catch up with school mates and kids of the same age from the “other” school was special.
At the track it didn’t matter if you went to CBC or EGSHS-that rivalry was put aside for the day and all that mattered was finding a winner and watching the days races unfold before your eyes.
From an early age, names like Camoens, Red Reason, Seminole Brave, Apache Patrol, Marella Court, Piednippie Boy, Special Test, Makvaya, Pomme D’ior all seem to have stuck in the memory bank.
The excitement of watching these great local horses compete each week and the energy of the bookmakers ring made a day at the track something to behold.
But ANZAC Day was special-the diggers post the RSL would find their way down to the course, some still with medals affixed.
As time went by and the Malvern Star was discarded for a Taxi ride to the track The Gurkha can vividly remember going to the races after watching the parade from outside of the York Hotel.
A good mate who shall be referred to as the “Bear “was very excited about the chances of a local champion from Cambana Lodge named August Midnight.
Back in the days when horses seemed to race and win, season in – season out, August Midnight was an extremely durable gelding winning 11 races from 68 starts with 15 placing’s.
The vivid memories of watching a young Peter Fernie lead around August Midnight before his father the late John Fernie, legged up Michael Mac Philomey with the gelding looking “unbeatable” in the yard.
“Bear” and I backed him accordingly at the good odds of 7/2 and August Midnight did the rest, winning easily and rewarding us handsomely.
ANZAC Day had been kind to us and we left the track winners as we secured a lift with a mate and returned to where our day commenced -at the York Hotel enjoying a coldie and a famous Dot Dickhart counter tea!
It is truly amazing when you realize that 27 years have passed since ANZAC Day 1985. But the memories remain crisp and alive as though it was last week.
Whilst “ANZAC Cove” would be an inspirational destination to celebrate this most important of dates on the Australian calendar-The Gurkha can think of no better place to enjoy the parade and a day at the track then at the Kalgoorlie Boulder Race Course.
Hopefully the old and new will meet at the “Old Course” today and another generation of Goldfields racing fans will form memories which will last for years to come.