History

Rockhampton was founded in 1855. The name is derived from the ‘rocks’ in the Fitzroy River just near the Neville Hewitt Bridge, and ‘hampton’ which was derived from the traditional English place name meaning village by the water or sea.

The first racecourse proper was laid out in1862 at West Rockhampton, near the present aerodrome. The first properly constituted racing body was the Fitzroy Jockey Club formed in 1863. It was succeeded by the North Queensland Jockey Club. Neither had a very long life, and racing lapsed from 1866 until the Rockhampton Jockey Club was formed in 1868.

1868The Rockhampton Jockey Club was formed.
July 1868First race meeting conducted by the RJC. Dr William Callaghan a member of the RJC Committee and a noted amateur rider was successful in the Corinthian race on ‘Saucepan’.
July 1868First President of the RJC was Mr Archibald Archer MLA.
1869Dr William Callaghan elected President of RJC.
1868/1898Racing continued at the West Rockhampton Course.
1868/1893Rockhampton Jockey Club was registered as a Club with the Queensland Turf Club.
1893Central Queensland Racing Association was formed.
1898Racing moved to the present Course in North Rockhampton in Reaney Street with the first meeting held on Friday, June 2, 1898.
June 1911First Central Queensland Derby (10 fur) run. Winner Mernette from Nonentity and Lettie.
March 1912At a Committee Meeting of the Rockhampton Jockey Club a recommendation was made to the Trustees of the racecourse reserve to the effect that the Course should be named “Callaghan Park” after the oldest member and present Patron, of the Club Dr William Callaghan, who has been a member of the Committee and one of its consistent supporters ever since it was formed in 1868.
April 1912Death of Dr William Callaghan (1831 -1912).
June 1912A Bleriot monoplane piloted by A B (Wizard) Stone undertook a race between his plane and a car at Callaghan Park before a crowd of 7000 spectators. The crowd were horrified to see the plane make a forced landing on the nearby cricket-ground.
June 1918First Rockhampton Newmarket was run on Saturday, June 15, 1918 and was won by ‘Cloudy’. Prizemoney 300 pounds.
June 1918First Rockhampton Cup was run on Monday, June 17, 1918 and was won by ‘Rolad’. Prizemoney 500 pounds.
1919Carnival races cancelled due to the outbreak of influenzawhich caused many deaths in the Rockhampton area including that of RJC Secretary Mr R R Dawbarn. He was Secretary from 1898-1919..
1919Mr W B Dawbarn son of R R Dawbarn was appointed Secretary of the RJC. He held that position for 15 years.
September 1922‘Bay Hart’ and ‘Sir Ross’ dead-heated three times in the Second Division Hcp all held on the same day. The Stake was eventually divided.
December 1922Last hurdle races run at Callaghan Park.
1934Mr R Dawbarn youngest son of R R Dawbarn was appointed Secretary of the RJC and holds that position till 1970.
October 1934T C Hunter trained five winners (full program) at Callaghan Park. His Son LT Hunter rode the five winners. T C Hunter also trained five winners (full program) on 9/11/1934.
1936Permission was granted to Radio Station 4RO to broadcast the description of races at Callaghan Park.
April 1938First triple dead-heat occurs at Callaghan Park when ‘Call Away’, ‘Suntuana’ and ‘Edon Boy’ dead-heat for first in the Labor Hcp 6fur.
June 1945Record Cup day crowd estimated at 10,000 attends meeting. 52 Bookmakers field on the Day. Trainer Tom Ashney is the Toast of Callaghan Park when he trains all three placegetters Riverain (E Holt) Emborough’s Pride (L Ashney) and War Boat (R Stretton) in the Rockhampton Cup. Riverain was owned by the Chairman of the RJC Mr A W Pearson. Prizemoney for the Cup was 350 pounds.
1952Construction of the new Photo Finish tower was commenced.
January 1953Photo Finish camera used for the first time at Callaghan Park.
March 1955Racing history was made when due to severe flooding of the lower portion of Callaghan Park, four races were conducted over four furlongs 108 yards. They commenced at the two furlong mark and went past the winning post to the five furlong peg.
April 1960Mobile barrier stalls used for the first time at Callaghan Park.
March 1962Queensland TAB inaugural meeting was held at Tattersalls Club (Brisbane) on 1st March 1962. The Chairman of the Rockhampton Jockey Club at that time Dr J F O’Duffy was a member of the seven man committee.
1969/70/71Hectique’ wins three Rockhampton Cups. Owned and trained by Jim Noon he was prepared for his Cup wins working up and down the rows of peanuts at the Owner’s farm at Nanango.
1/4/1972RJC moves to new offices at Callaghan Park from Quay Street building.
1972New Offices at Callaghan Park named Boland Administration Building in honour of Robert Cecil Boland, Russell Lazaire Boland and Clive Cecil Boland who served on the Committee of the RJC from 1895 to 1973.
May 1974Night Trotting officially opened at Callaghan Park by Hon Sir Gordon Chalk K.B.E. MLA Qld Treasurer and Minister for Racing.
Feb 1978Racecourse subject to severe flooding
April 1979O’Duffy – Gordon Grandstand Complex opened at Callaghan Park by Hon Neville Hewitt MLA.
1980TAB introduces computerised betting.
June 1981‘Shesh Besh’ wins the $100,000 Triple Crown. He won the Boland Hcp 1800m, Rockhampton Newmarket Hcp 1300m and the Rockhampton Cup 2000m.
May 1982Night Greyhound Racing officially opened at Callaghan Park by Hon Russ Hinze MLA Minister for Racing
September 1984Opening of Grass Track at Callaghan Park by Hon Russ Hinze MLA Minister for Racing. A crowd of 4767 was in attendance.
1986Sky Channel broadcasts racing live.
Jan 1991Callaghan Park is inundated by floodwaters which reached record heights. Grass track was destroyed and rebuilt with new type of grass.
19914TAB, racing’s own Radio Station, begins transmission.
1991QPC created to unite Queensland Racing administration.
February 1992Rockhampton Jockey Club ceases to be a Principal Club.Now under the control of Queensland Principal Club.
May 1994Official opening of combined Offices extensions at Callaghan Park by Hon R J Gibbs MLA Minister for Racing.
June 1994First Friday TAB Meeting held at Callaghan Park
1999TAB Privatisation approved.
November 2000Apprentice Jockey Darryl Johnston rides five winners at the TAB meeting at Callaghan Park.
June 2001Laurinel Impulse’ wins $100,000 2YO Triple Crown Bonus. He was successful in the Carlton Plate 1000m, Capricorn Sales Classic Race 1200m and Bundy/Cola Hcp 1200m.
November 2001Apprentice Jockey Dale Evans rides five winners from six mounts at Callaghan Park.
March 2003New Communications Tower completed – housing the Course Broadcaster, Judge, Photo Finish, Video & Communications Room & Cameraman
2006100 Club promotion introduced
2007Horse Pool & Horse Walker completed
August 2007Equine Influenza outbreak
April 2009Richest race ever held in Rockhampton – the $131,000 Capricorn Sales 2YO Classic won by ‘Arcup’ trained by Liam Birchley from Eagle Farm
January 2010$6.0M Track redevelopment completed – first race meeting January 29, 2010
January 2011Fitzroy River peaked at 9.2m flooding the Callaghan Park complex – resulting in the lose of 11 race meetings. Racing resumed on Saturday, March 19, 2011 – St Patrick’s Day Races