It was on Thursday, September 14, 1972 that a public meeting was held at the Mount Gambier City Hall to form the South East Greyhound Racing Club.
Initial overtures were then made to the A. & H. Society seeking its interest in a greyhound racing track being erected on the Mount Gambier Showgrounds.
However, on December 3, 1972, after having presented a plan of the layout of the proposed track to the A. & H. Society, objections were raised by the Trotting Club and Horses-in-Action Committee.
After further deliberations, it was resolved on March 9, 1973 that negotiations would remain open with the Show Society but the SEGRC would also look at the possibility of leasing land from the City Council.
On April 3, 1973 it was agreed not to proceed with the A. & H. Society and formal application was made for an area to be allotted by the City Council for the erection of a greyhound racing track at the Blue Lake Sports Park.
But on December 10, 1974 it was decided not to proceed with the Council land due to the massive earthworks required and significant cost of making the area suitable.
So again the SEGRC turned to the A. & H. Society. As an alternative, though, the club also made an approach to the Mount Gambier and District Coursing Club for a lease of suitable land. A reply was subsequently received from the coursing club stating it was not interested.
A track was then pegged out at the trotting track but this was unacceptable to the Show Society.
A licence to conduct greyhound racing in the south-east had been one of seven originally allocated by the controlling body of the day – the National Coursing Association of South Australia.
And by the time the SEGRC approached the Mount Gambier Racing Club in September 1975 the other six clubs – Angle Park, Gawler, Strathalbyn, Port Pirie, Port Lincoln and Whyalla – were already racing.
Needless to say, the pressure was on. But in October 1975 a letter was received from the racing club indicating support for a greyhound track at their Glenburnie racecourse. On February 3, 1976 a track was pegged out in the area allocated by the racing club.
An appeal for a track building fund was then promoted by a series of public meetings at Naracoorte, Millicent, Portland and Mount Gambier. An agreement with the Mount Gambier Racing Club for a 21 year lease was signed by all parties on Friday, March 4, 1977.
Earthworks commenced in July 1977 while the erection of the rail was completed in March 1978. The Bramich lure was installed in April 1978 and the first series of trials was held on August 10 when 55 greyhounds participated.
Fielding at Mount Gambier’s opening meeting at the Glenburnie track on Saturday, July 21, 1979 were six bookmakers. And George Kay called all the action at the 10-race opening meeting which ran with distances of 289 metres, 476 metres and 667 metres.
Winner of the first race, a maiden over 289 metres, was 3/1 chance Aqualair (Overflow Eagle x Cheeky Moss) who clocked a time of 18.40 seconds for Mount Gambier trainer Ralph Patzel.
The final of this year’s Anniversary Cup (512 m), sponsored for the first time by Exchange Printers, will be run at Tara Raceway on Sunday, July 18.