Horse racing and stables have always been an important part of the history of Cockburn. Since the earliest days of settlement, Fremantle jockeys and trainers have headed south of the port city to treat the settlers to a grand day of racing and picnics.

The first reported race held at Woodman Point was in 1833, but it wasn’t until about 1884 that a regular race day was held there. Hundreds of Fremantle citizens came down from the port by steamboats or private yachts, and the market gardeners and dairy farmers of the Cockburn area came by road from far and wide to enjoy races in the November heat.

lucius manning on horse

 

In 1894, the Fremantle Jockey Club took over what was by then a half-wild track, and tried to turn it into a successful racecourse. They were granted a 99-year lease in 1899, and might have succeeded, but the area was hard to access and the government would not extend the railway line far enough south.

By 1901, the club had stopped operating at Woodman Point, and in 1904 the disused track was taken over for the explosives magazine and the Jockey Club began meeting at Bicton instead. No trace remains there of a once-popular sport.

 

Cue Racecourse grandstand Western Mail 12 Nov 1897

No picture remains of the Woodman Point racecourse, but this image of the grandstand at Cue in 1897 gives insight into the style of racecourses in the era