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    History and Geography of Greyhound Racing in Australia
History and Geography of Greyhound Racing in Australia

History and Geography of Greyhound Racing in Australia

Australia, a federal state comprising six states, two internal territories, and various external territories, has its roots as a former British colony. Inherited from its mother country are socio-cultural characteristics celebrated annually on Australia Day, commemorating the founding of the first colony, New South Wales, on January 26, 1788, by British Captain Arthur Phillip.

The introduction of organised greyhound racing in Australia mirrors its British origins. On May 28, 1927, in the suburbs of Sydney at the Epping Racecourse (now Harold Park), the first dog competitions were held, a year after the inaugural race in Belle Vue stadium, Great Britain, on July 24, 1926.

Greyhound racing quickly gained popularity across the country, with tracks emerging nationwide. Although there's no centralised management, each state has governing bodies overseeing the industry, such as Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW) and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV).

The industry has faced scrutiny from animal welfare societies. In 1979, New South Wales banned hare hunting and the use of small animals as bait. Following a major scandal in February 2015, the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission (GWIC) was established to regulate the industry. The Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice, implemented in 2021, outlines retirement conditions for dogs.

Greyhound racing currently takes place in six states and one territory across the country. The Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, has not hosted horse racing since 2018. However, the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club operates and utilises one of the tracks in New South Wales for competitions.

State of New South Wales

The state boasts 27 racing tracks, the highest in the country. Wentworth Park, a large sports complex in the suburbs of Sydney, serves as a prominent venue for greyhound racing and has been the headquarters of horse racing in New South Wales since 1985.

State of Victoria

Racing in the state is overseen by Greyhound Racing Victoria, operating 13 tracks based in Melbourne. Annually, approximately 1,000 competitions are held in the state, with a total prize fund of up to $40 million.

State of Queensland

With six greyhound racing tracks, the Townsville Greyhound Racing Club stands out as the oldest, opening in 1936 at the Townsville Exhibition Centre, a Queensland Heritage Site.

State of South Australia

Greyhound Racing South Australia (GRSA) manages racing in the state. Adelaide, the capital city, hosts one of South Australia's four greyhound racing tracks. The Adelaide Greyhound Club, located at Greyhound Park or Angle Park, has a racecourse with a seating capacity of up to 4,000 spectators.

State of Tasmania

Tasmania features three active trails, including Elvikk Hippodrome. Completed in 2006 at a construction cost of $20 million, it serves as a competition venue. The Hobart Greyhound Racing Club (HGRC), the state's oldest, has been racing here since then.

State of Western Australia

The state has three active greyhound racing tracks. Cannington Greyhounds, Western Australia's oldest track, opened in 1974. In 2016, its location slightly changed due to the construction of new areas. It now stands as a large hippodrome with a seating capacity of 5,000 spectators, and its record attendance is 15,000 people.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory has only one greyhound racing track located in the northern suburbs of Darwin, the capital. Winnelly Park is home to the Darwin Greyhound Association, founded in the 1960s.

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