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Earliest Meeting: 17th March 1883
Evanston Park lies on the south-eastern side of the town of Gawler, a northern suburb of the city of Adelaide in South Australia. Racing was taking place in Gawler in the early years of the 19th century, the main South Australia race staged on the course from 1845. By 1849 a racecourse was established to the south of Gawler, although it was unusual in that it was not the typical round course, but a straight along which the horses had to run before turning around a post and returning to the winning post which was at the start. The meeting became so popular that in March 1856 it was extended to 3 days. However, by the latter part of the 19th century it was necessary to form a round course and the district of Evanston was the chosen location. The inaugural meeting took place on 17th March 1883 and within 8 years the current Jockey Club began to administer the races at the track. To make things more permanent a lease on Evanston racecourse was purchased in 1901 for the princely sum of £1500 (Equivalent today to just £130,000). Amazingly, races were initially run in a clockwise direction, but later changed to anti-clockwise.

Local Patrons Gawler Racing Club

The photo above, although in the public domain, is shown courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.

During the World Wars Evanston racecourse was used by the military, as witnessed by the photo above, and in the Second World War races were transferred initially to Victoria Park and then to Morphettville.

Course today Gawler Racecourse continues to operate successfully today.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email johnwslusar@gmail.com

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing johnwslusar@gmail.com stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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