Richmond Raceway (map)
Originally part of the property owned by George Pearse, Richmond Raceway was a horse and harness racing track in East Fremantle. It was established in 1928 and ran until it closed in 1991, when the area became a housing estate.
Construction: A photo from the Daily News, Tuesday 7 February 1928, shows part of the straight of the trotting track being constructed using limestone taken from the hill inside the grounds.
From the West Australian, Tuesday 24 July 1928, page 10
‘‘TROTTING- FREMANTLE CLUB'S MEETING. An Auspicious Opening
Considering that the meeting was held in the middle of winter the Fremantle Trotting Club must have been delighted with the fine, frosty weather that prevailed last night, and more than satisfied with the great crowd that attended their initial meeting, which had been postponed from Saturday night, on the newly-made course at East Fremantle. With one exception, well fancied horses were successful in every event. The seven races were decided over long distance and between events music was supplied by a brass band. The club have made a good impression with the manner in which they handled the arrangements for their first fixture. The programme opened with an event for West Australian bred horses over a mile and a half. Doncino, who was lying handy over the early stages just won from Pronto's Gift. Vanity Wilkes stumbled and unseated her driver, who was uninjured. Little Saxon pulled up. From 2 to 1 Alto Donald firmed to evens for the Preliminary Handicap. The gelding justified the confidence reposed in him by winning easily from the early pacemaker; Manx Harold. From 5 to 2 Leo Huon drifted to 5's,' while Redmaster from 5 to 2 against firmed to 6 to 4 on for the Silas Handicap. Another favourite in Grand Bells was successful in the George Handicap. He won narrowly from Black Tips, who unfortunately for his backers faulted at a critical stage. Craboon also broke, while Witch Way pulled up In the Fremantle Handicap. A 10 to 1 chance won the Moss Handicap, Neweybar beating the favourite Anna Bells, to the line. The meeting was brought to a close with the Marmion Handicap, which went to Happy Alto; the favourite; Grand March, and Arthur's Pride: filling the places.”
Trotting was interrupted from 1942-1949 when Richmond Park and the East Fremantle oval were used by the US Armed Forces as a general military base and by the Australians as an anti-aircraft Defence facility. (See the photograph of an Ack-ack gun and personnel, from Small but Strong- a Pictorial History of the Town of East Fremantle, Helene Charlesworth 1997, page 67)
Greta photos of the Richmond Raceway in the 1970s can be seen in a collection of images held in the state Library WA: (reference)
Richmond raceway was demolished and became a housing estate in 1994. Richmond Raceway Turnstiles were retained as a reminder of 63 years of harness racing at Richmond Raceway.
The last race was won by Speedy Cheval on 12th April 1991. A streets in the new development has been named after him.
1913 - 1927: Municipal Reserve
1928: Fremantle Trotting Association Grounds
1929 - 1937: Fremantle Trotting Association Grounds (J. M. Farrell, sec.)
1939 - 1949: Fremantle Trotting Association Grounds