The first racecourse in Wyong was constructed in 1875, the same year the Melbourne Cup was first run on a Tuesday.
The Wyong course was located in a paddock south of Woodbury’s Inn, West Wyong, but the surface was considered to be too rough on the
horses. Races were also conducted at Blue Gum Flats, situated on the outskirts north and south of Ourimbah between Lisarow and Kangy Angy.
With the track at West Wyong considered unsafe for racing, a new course was built near the lake at Tuggerah. It is believed that the first Annual Meeting of the Wyong Jockey Club, held over two days on 26th and 27th January 1898, was the forerunner to the present Cup Carnival, also held over two days, now conducted each year in late August -early September. Mr. William B. Woodbury was Wyong club’s first Secretary and for the first two day meeting promised “a wonderful carnival of merrymaking, drinking, feasting and dancing”. Special trains were run from Sydney and Newcastle for the meeting. Wyong township had a population of around 200 at that stage and the Woodbury family were the first permanent settlers in the township.
With no traffic bridge in existence, patrons from the Wyong side of the river had to queue for hours to leave the Tuggerah course after the last race. People on horseback or on buggies (4 wheels) and sulkies (2 wheels) had to await their turn to cross the river on a primitive winch-operated punt attached to a wire rope, this being the only means of crossing the river . The Tuggerah course could not be used in wet weather due to constant flooding from the lake, and in 1911 Bill Smith, a pioneer of Tuggerah, built a new course north of the original. Later on, when more drainage problems upset the meetings, a 3rd course was built between the Wyong River and Lake Road., Tuggerah, on part of what was then known as the Alison Estate.
The first racecourse in Wyong Township was built in 1912 by George Goldsmith, the district’s leading saw miller. Built on a site containing the present Wyong course, the track was based on sawdust from the mill and was lightning fast. Owners and trainers considered the track to be damaging to the gallopers. The course was closed during World War Two and re-opened on 14th September 1946. The 1946 Secretary was Mr. Frank Akhurst, an offspring of the district’s earliest settlers. The Akhurst family first moved to the Wyong area in 1881. The Wyong course was again closed for a short period in 1955 whilst a new grandstand was built at a cost of twenty-two thousand pounds. That stand was later demolished and replaced by the Paul Levick Stand on 25th August 1991 at a cost of six million dollars, including all amenities”. The new stand is now regarded as the best function centre in the district.