Wyong’s racecourse history can be traced back to 1875, which is coincidentally the same year that the Melbourne Cup was first run on a Tuesday.
The first Wyong course was built in a paddock in West Wyong. Horses would also race at Blue Gum Flats, located on the outskirts between Kangy Angy and Lisarow.
The course was considered unsafe, and the surface too rough on the horses which led to a new track being built near the lake at Tuggerah. The first meeting of Wyong Jockey Club was held in January 1898 and was the forerunner of the Cup Carnival, which now takes place every year in late August or early September.
William B. Woodbury, as Wyong Club’s first secretary promised a “ wonderful carnival of merrymaking, drinking, feasting and dancing”. Trains from Sydney and Newcastle operated just for the meeting. Wyong only had a population of 200 at the time and the Woodbury’s were the first permanent settlers in the area.
Traffic bridges did not exist, which meant that patrons from the Wyong side had to queue for hours to leave Tuggerah after the event had finished. To cross the river, people had to stand on a winch-operated punt that was attached to a wire rope. The Tuggerah course often flooded during the wet season, which is why pioneer Bill Smith took on the task to build a new track, north of the original in 1911. Due to further drainage problems, a third course was built a few years later.
George Goldsmith – the area’s leading saw miller built Wyong Township’s first racecourse in 1912. The track was based on sawdust from the mill and was lightning fast, but considered damaging to the gallopers. World War II saw the closure of the track, which was re-opened in 1946. The course was then closed again in 1955 as a new grandstand was built. The Paul Levick Stand replaced it on 25th August 1991 at a cost of six million dollars. This stand was then considered to be the best function centre in the area.