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Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association

1955 The Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA) was formed separating out from GOTBA and registering as a company to hold the license to race greyhounds. With a new license, but unable to afford the £35,000 for the purchase of the White City track, the MGRA needed a home. To avoid a recess in racing, the MGRA began racing at Maribrynong paying a lease of £100 pounds a week while working on plans to establish a track at the football ground in Arden Street, North Melbourne.

1956 At the General Meeting of August, the members of the MGRA were advised that negotiations for the move to North Melbourne were completed. Racing was to be conducted behind a tin hare lent by the GTOBA of New South Wales, to be paid for when possible. Annual rent, payable to the Melbourne City Council was set at £7000 per annum.

1957 On September 11, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne opened the new North Melbourne race track with a huge crowd and over 60 bookmakers in attendance. For the next few years greyhound racing boomed.

1958 On March 31, patrons packed into the North Melbourne venue to witness the hot favourite Rookie Rebel race to victory in the inaugural Australian Cup, which was to become the centre piece of the MGRA and greyhound racing in the following years.

1961

When all seemed to be travelling smoothly the Melbourne City Council lobbed a grenade into the MGRA in the form of a rent increase from £7,000 a year to £9,500 a year. The MGRA believed a rise of £2500 pounds was extortionate. Within a week, negotiations had begun with the Olympic Park Trust (OPT) to move greyhound racing out of the North Melbourne ground.

During early September, State Cabinet approved the MGRA plan to spend £50,000 converting the No. 2 oval at Olympic Park in Swan Street Melbourne for greyhound racing. The MGRA would pay annual rent of £5000 per year or 12.5% of gate takings whichever was the bigger, to the Olympic Park Trust.

Joe Frazier
1962 Take A Bow stormed home to victory in the last Australian Cup to be run at the North Melbourne track, with the last ever meeting to follow on April 16. But with new Chairman Bill Conroy at the helm it wasn’t long before the MGRA was back up and running. On Monday night 20th August, a crowd of over 6,000 braved cold weather at Olympic Park and witnessed Chief Secretary Arthur Rylah cutting a white ribbon after the third race to declare the new track open.

1964 Sent out favourite a greyhound by the name of Barunah took out the first ever Silver Chief conducted by the MGRA and took home the £800 prize money.

1979

The successful connections of Australian Cup winner Boundless had an option of a $30,000 cash first prize or taking it in gold bullion. Unfortunately they decided on the cash and lost the opportunity of more than doubling their prize with the tremendous spiral of gold prices in that year.

Paul Hogan


1991 Enfield romped to victory in the first ever Group 1 Maturity Classic, a race that has gone on to become the stepping stone to greatness.

1993 China Trip created history by winning the Australian Cup for the second year running.

1994

The early 1990s saw declining attendance numbers and finances at the MGRA, but the club was faced by a further problem. Late in 1994 the Domain Tunnel (part of the citylink project) was proposed to run along the back straight of the track and was to become an issue of monumental importance that was to shape the future of the club.

The initial plan was for MGRA to move out during the construction of the tunnel. But after further discussions, the Club was told by the Olympic Park Trust (OPT) that it would not be able to return despite holding a further 13 years of lease on the site. Both the OPT and the tunnel consortium "Transurban or Citilink" believed that no compensation was payable for the lease. Eventually after considerable negotiation, Citilink agreed to contribute a considerable sum to compensate for the relocation. With funds available, the Club began giving serious consideration to relocation options with Broadmeadows becoming the early front-runner. So for the second time in 20 years, MGRA was on the move again.

Darryl Somers & Drop Of Wine
1996 With racing transferred to Sandown, the period leading up to the shift to the Meadows was a difficult one, but the new site at Broadmeadows provided for significant optimism. First, it provided for greyhound racing on the northern side of the Melbourne. Second, the Hume Council was keen to engage the MGRA as a business partner in community development and third, the demographics of the area presented the MGRA with a great opportunity to attract a younger audience to greyhound racing.

1999 The new track took about 18 months to complete and on Monday February 8, a huge crowd of 8000 people crammed into the new Meadows racetrack to welcome a new era for the MGRA.

2001 Significantly, a chance opportunity through SKY Channel allowed for a move to Saturday night racing. First shared with Sandown, but then confirmed as the new solo MGRA timeslot, the move to Saturday night racing has proven to be very successful and it is now the cornerstone of racing at the Meadows.

The Australian Cup of 2001 entered the record books when Graeme Bate's tearaway leader “Blackjack Tom” was joined on the line by Max Burdiken's "Most Awesome" This was the first time in Group One history that such a finish had occurred.

2003 A revamped Australian Cup Carnival format saw the first running of the now highly anticipated invitational group races The Temlee, The Rookie Rebel and The Zoom Top. Excite Ability, No Shame and Tears Of Jupiter had the honour of winning the first of the great races over the 525m, 600m and 725m distances respectively.

Chief Havoc
Black Top
Black Top