Healesville greyhound racing today celebrates 25 years of existence.
Nestled in the popular Yarra Valley precinct, Healesville first opened its doors for greyhound racing on 11 November, 1989.
Former club President Gary Thorneycroft is a foundation member along with his parents Ron and Margaret, and brother (the late) ‘Rod’ Thorneycroft.
“To be racing for 25 years is a pretty big achievement,” Gary said.
“But the club has actually been around for about 34 years having originally been used as a trial track.”
“There were five original foundation members and I’ve been on the committee the whole way through, so this is a proud moment.”
Thorneycroft recalled some of his earliest memories at the track.
“I remember when I first came to the site where the Healesville track is today, and the only thing there were four poles in the ground, which were there to support the lure, which was yet to be built.”
“When the club finally opened for racing, it was a grass track and the lure was on the opposite side to every other track in Victoria.”
“Healesville raced on Saturdays for many years before moving to Sundays.”
“We had a canteen which was run out of a caravan by my mum and Pauline Patterson,” Thorneycroft laughed.
Gary said the club has achieved plenty since its early years.
“Switching to a sand surface and moving the lure to the correct side were among the club’s biggest achievements.”
“Also, for many years after it opened Healesville was a non-TAB track, so the only way you could bet was with on-course bookmakers,” he said.
Greyhound racing at Healesville’s Don Road racetrack takes place all year round on Sunday afternoons, and being located just two minutes from the heart of town the potential for further growth is significant.
Boasting a new grandstand and grass frontage ideal for picnics and barbeques alongside the track, the club has come a long way.