National Heritage List inscription date 7 November 2006
Flemington is one of the world's premier racecourses and is synonymous with the Melbourne Cup.
Since the first Melbourne Cup in 1861, Flemington has hosted the ‘race that stops the nation’ on the first Tuesday of November every year.
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The forefront of Australia’s racing culture
Over 170 years Flemington Racecourse has been transformed from uneven, heavily thicketed, rough paddocks into one of the finest racing surfaces in the world.
Flemington track’s circumference of 2,312 metres makes it one of the longest racecourses in Australia.
The track is famous for the ‘Straight Six’ – the six-furlong (1200 metre) length of straight track – making Flemington ideal for sprint races that have become a favourite with both Australian and international jockeys. The Straight Six gives horses a chance to stretch out, allowing for some dramatic racing. The long run gives a horse the chance to come from well back in the field to make it first past the post.
The race that stops the nation
Flemington Racecourse has long been associated with the horses, jockeys, trainers, breeders and owners who have been at the forefront of Australia's racing culture. Many of Australia's greatest racing champions have won at Flemington, not least of which was the legendary Phar Lap who won the Melbourne Cup in 1930.
Run on the first Tuesday in November, the Melbourne Cup remains one of the world's most famous races, and the carnival surrounding the race itself is an iconic cultural event that unites sport and culture.
The Cup has been a stimulus for the arts, including literature, painting, drama and ballet. As a spectator sport, racing has one of the highest participation rates in Australia, and the Melbourne Cup and the cult of the turf have become part of the national psyche.
Flemington Racecourse has also become an important venue for Australian fashion. The Melbourne Cup spring racing carnival is a major part of the fashion industry’s year. ‘Oaks Day’ of the spring carnival was developed as a ‘ladies day’ in 1885, and within two years had become the fashion event of the Melbourne year. Ever since British model Jean Shrimpton caused outrage in 1965 by appearing in a mini-skirt, fashion has made almost as many headlines as the Cup winners.
Flemington is a site where legends are made, fortunes are won and lost and where all of the nation’s eyes will be trained at least once a year.