Racing ephemera | State Library of New South Wales

Racing ephemera


Racing ephemera includes printed cards, booklets, official programmes and souvenirs, usually produced by racing clubs to advertise and provide information on various races, including statistics on the horses, jockeys and track.

The State Library of New South Wales has a large collection of ephemera relating to sporting and leisure activities, which includes racing, dating from the mid 1800s to the present day. These items are located within the Library's printed ephemera collection and the Davis Sporting Collection.

The Australian Jockey Club (AJC), one of Australia’s oldest and most influential racing clubs, has produced many colourful and informative booklets for racegoers. The exquisite official souvenir programme (below) was produced to accompany a special day’s racing in honour of Sir H. Robinson, held at Randwick Racecourse in 1879.

Sir Hercules Robinson (1824-1897), Governor of New South Wales, was a keen race-goer and owned a number of outstanding horses, including Kingsborough, which won the Australian Jockey Club Derby in 1874 and the St Leger Stakes in 1875. He was the patron of the Australian Jockey Club, the Northern Jockey Club and the Hawkesbury Racing Club, and did much to improve the reputation and administration of horse-racing. His passion for racing extended to his own family. When his daughter, Nora Augusta Maud, married in 1878, her bride’s travelling dress featured her father's racing colours.

This pageturner requires a web browser with the Flash plugin and JavaScript enabled.

Get the latest Flash player

p.  1  
zoom in     previous pagenext pageview full screen

Australian Jockey Club. Special Day's Racing in honour of His Excellency Sir H. Robinson, Official Programme, Randwick, 18 Jan, 1879. Printed. Ephemera-Sports.

> Also view the Official Race Book for the Australian Jockey Club: Winter Meeting, 8 June 1931


Cigarette cards are another popular form of ephemera which are visually striking and highly collectable. Like post cards and trade cards, they can fetch a small fortune on the open market. Tobacco firms realised they could take advantage of the popularity of horse racing, by producing sets of illustrated cards featuring well-known race horses and jockeys, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

> View a selection of cigarette cards featuring famous jockeys

cigarette cards - jockeys

> View a selection of cigarette cards featuring well-known race horses

cigarette cards - horses


> View more of the Library's collection of Ephemera on Sports, Outdoor Games and Leisure Activities catalogue link 

> View more of the Library's Davis Sporting Collection No.1 Horse Racing in Sydney, Melbourne and Waipukurau, 1892-1932 catalogue link