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Victoria Park Racecourse: The Park of horse power

Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi (Park 16)

photo-icon Race meeting in Adelaide, State Library of South Australia, B 6414, circa 1845
photo-icon Race meeting at Victoria Park, State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/6/449, circa 1912
photo-icon Victoria Park Members Enclosure, City of Adelaide Archives, HP0095, date unknown

The Kaurna name for this Park, Pakapakanthi, means "to trot" (as in horses).

This Park was formerly a racecourse and the walking track that encircles the Park follows this alignment. The main track was 2,360 metres long, including the longest home straight of any horse racing track in Australia.

Did you know that this Park has hosted a range of activities including traditional camps and corroborees of the Kaurna people, horse racing for over 160 years, the Formula 1 Grand Prix (1985-1995), the V8 Supercar Race from 1999 and the Australian International Three Day Horse Trials?

The fortunes of horse racing in Victoria Park fluctuated since its beginning. A picturesque racecourse, set in the Park Lands, made it a popular venue. However, tis economic success was hampered by not being able to fence the course to make spectators pay for the privilege of watching the race events. Horse racing in the colony also suffered from vents such as the 1851 exodus of men tot he goldfields, the prohibition on gambling in 1884, and the banning of racing during World War II. The last racing event was held here in 2007, with the focus on horse racing in South Australia now being at Morphettville Racecourse.

City of Adelaide acknowledges the traditional Country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pays respect to Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today. We also extend that respect to other Aboriginal Language Groups and other First Nations.

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