A new book by Professor John Maynard explores the significant involvement of Aboriginal people one of Australia’s most celebrated sports.

Sport of kings

31 October 2013

A new book authored by one of Australia's most prolific and respected voices on Aboriginal history, Professor John Maynard, explores the significant involvement of Aboriginal people in one of Australia's oldest and most celebrated sports – horse racing.

Sport of Kings"Aboriginal workers were the backbone of Australia's pastoral industry and transitioned into jockeying with great success," Professor Maynard said.

Coming from an Aboriginal family involved in racing, Professor Maynard was conscious of the lack of freely accessible information on the historical involvement of Aboriginal people in the sport.

"Horseracing is a significant part of Australian culture. As the largest racing country in the world, Australia has 66 of the world's 193 Group One races and more racecourses than any other nation. However despite this we know very little about the contribution Aboriginal people have made to the sport," Professor Maynard said.

Amongst the many Aboriginal jockeys highlighted in the book are Merv Maynard, Norm Rose, Frank Reys, Richard Lawrence 'Darby' McCarthy and Leigh-Anne Goodwin, Australia's first female Aboriginal jockey to ride a winner at a metropolitan track.

"This book is my way of ensuring that Aboriginal riders are afforded their proper place in Australian racing history."

The book will be launched at 1pm, Friday 8 November at the Champagne Bar at Flemington Racecourse. Speakers will include Bob Charley and Darby McCarthy. Bookings for the event are essential by November 1 to asp@aiatsis.gov.au.

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