Saturday, August 4, 2012

Over 130 years of racing

Sepia Saturday 137: 4th August 2012

On Easter Monday, 9th April 1928, my grandmother attended the Stawell Gift as a spectator.  The pictures below show my grandmother on this day.  She was 17 years old.

The Stawell Gift is Australia's oldest running race.  The race started in 1878 and except for four years during World War II, it has been contested every Easter Monday in Stawell, Victoria.

Easter Monday, 9th April 1928 - Stawell Gardens
Ready for the races - Stella Biggin & my grandmother, Eva Pilgrim


Easter Monday 1928 - Stawell Gift
My grandmother, Eva Pilgrim, is seated in the second row with the plaits and box brownie.

I will concentrate on 1928, when my grandmother attended the Stawell Gift.  The first prize in 1928 was £250 compared with $40,000 in 2012.  In 1928, there was a record attendance with gate takings considered a great success at £209/3/3.

The Daily News paper in 1928 reported the race as the "World's Greatest Event".  It was won by Lynch Cooper, who ran the 120 metres in 11.9375 seconds.  In 2012 the winning time was 12.228 seconds.


The Daily News
Wednesday 18th April 1928
Source; www.nla.gov.au

The Mercury
Friday 13th April 1928
Source: www.nla.gov.au

It was interesting to read in the article below that Lynch Cooper had "insured his legs against injury for £1000" which was considered "unique in the history of running."

The Daily News
Wednesday 18th April 1928
Source: www.nla.gov.au

Click on the picture above for more Sepia Saturday posts

27 comments:

  1. It is the first time that I see that a runner in 1928 is faster than his colleague in 2012! Lynch must have been one heck of a runner.
    Great post!

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    1. That was exactly my thought Peter and why I included the fact:)

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  2. At first I thought your mother was going to participate and I was surprised that she would run so dressed up! Glad I got that wrong.

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    1. Ha Ha Ha. Gran could certainly get some pace up when she was walking and played competitive sport until she was in her 50's but I can't imagine her in a running race :)

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  3. I take it that this is a handicap race with runners starting at different points. 120metres seems a strange distance to run.
    Like Kirstin I thought your mother was going to run.

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    1. Mmmm, maybe I should have written this differently so people didn't think Gran was running.

      I think I read somewhere that it was originally based on the distance between two pubs and even when converted to metric, the distance has been kept the same.

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    2. I've updated now so there can be no confusion :)

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  4. I join the long line of readers thinking your grandmother was in the race. But it looks like she had a good seat for an exciting race. I think Betty Grable had her legs insured too, but not for running.

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    1. I had to look up Betty Grable and what a beauty she was! Her legs were certainly alot better than Lynch's and were insured for $1,000,000 not $1,000!

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  5. How incredible to have family photos at a historical event and be able to put the newspaper clippings with it too!! I love the ladies' fashions too. Great post Sharon!

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    1. Can you imagine a 17 year old with long plaits and ribbons today? NO WAY! lol

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  6. Love the photos of your grandmother and her friends! Their outfits and hats are so cute. It's cool to have a photo of that old box brownie camera too.

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    1. You are right there Jana. It is even more special to me as I now own the box brownie with the original box and instructions too. Gran certainly looked after it.
      Many of the photos that you see in my posts were taken by my grandmother with this box brownie.

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    2. Wow! How exciting for you to own the box brownie! I think it would be great if you posted a photo of the camera with the origninal box and instructions sometime. That would be really fun to see.

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    3. That's a good idea. I could probably have worked it into this weeks post but will have to wait until the time is right. Maybe SS will have a camera in a future prompt :)

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  7. Your grandmother was a lovely young lady. I like her braids! How wonderful to have the photos of her attending this historic race. Having the news articles to coincide with the photos makes it even more special.

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    1. We are very lucky in Australia that the National Library of Australia (Trove) is scanning the newspapers from around the country for free searching and viewing by all. So if I am looking for a particular event(or person)then it is easy to search and find it :)
      I have spent hours finding out information about family members and their home towns.

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  8. To me the photos of your grandmother with her long plaits and her treasured Box Brownie, are far more interesting than the sporting event she's attending. However, it's wonderful to marry that event up with the actual news item.

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    1. I agree. I am glad that I was able to get the opportunity to show the photos. I did find it interesting looking through the newspapers finding information about the day. I even enjoy looking through the advertisements :)

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  9. That race sounds unique. I wonder whether there are any similar races.

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    1. I just did a google search for interest. In the first 3 pages, besides the Stawell Gift, the only short footraces were in Rome and Greece many years ago.

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  10. Sharon, your blog is so neat. The picture of your Grandma in her braids and camera is so cute. I enjoyed the whole article.

    Kathy M.

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    1. Thanks Kathy. She was a shy country girl who became a strong determined lady :)

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  11. Mr Cooper's time was faster than now? Was he ever tested for drugs?!?
    ;D~
    Love your grandma's pics!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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    1. Lol. Did they even have drugs back then?

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  12. I Love How Your Grandmother looked!
    Ha! I am sat here wondering if,at my age,I have anything left worth insuring!!!

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    1. Ha Ha Ha. My legs have never been worth insuring!
      Thanks for dropping by Tony :)

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