On September 14, 1972, a public meeting was held at the Mount Gambier City Hall to form the South East Greyhound Racing Club. The following were elected to the committee: Messrs. R. Clark, J. Cruise, E. Lewis, N. F. McDonnell, J. O’Brien, J. O’Connor, C. Potter, A. Steele (Chairman), J. Taylor, J. Walters, R. White, J. Sullivan and B. Wittwer (Secretary).
However, it wasn’t until February 3, 1976, following many trials and tribulations, that a greyhound racing track was pegged out in an area inside the racecourse at Glenburnie. Following a series of public meetings, which incorporated an appeal for a track building fund at Naracoorte, Millicent, Portland and Mount Gambier, a 21 year lease was signed on Friday, March 4, 1977.
Earthworks commenced during July 1977 while the erection of the rail commenced in February 1978 and was completed on March 7, 1978. A Bramich lure was connected on April 18, 1978 with the first series of trials being held on August 10 when 55 greyhounds took part.
On Sunday, June 24, 1979 a Gala Opening Day was held at the Glenburnie’s “Tara Raceway” as a dress rehearsal for the South East’s first registered greyhound meeting set down for July 21, 1979. The first race run was won by Aqualair, trained by Ralph Patzel of Mount Gambier. Calling all the action was George Kay while six bookmakers were fielding.
In November 1996, the Glenburnie track closed with greyhound racing subsequently returning to Mount Gambier in spectacular fashion on Saturday, January 25, 1997 at the purpose-built complex on Lake Terrace East. Also known as Tara Raceway, the first race was won by Bright Option, trained at Glenroy by Richard Clayfield.
The opening meeting at the new track was the culmination of more than three years’ hard work, much of it voluntary. Built at a cost of more than $400,000, the new complex was regarded as the best in country South Australia.
Fortnightly meetings continued to be run at Tara Raceway on a non-TAB basis until 2012. Greyhound Racing SA, realising the sport’s potential in the South East, then introduced TAB racing on a trial basis. So successful was this that by 2017 the club was conducting TAB meetings every Sunday afternoon and on alternate Friday afternoons. In May 2019, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club commenced racing twice a week – on Thursday and Sunday afternoons.
Tara Raceway has undergone extensive improvements in recent years – clubroom upgrades, kennel house alterations to allow for 12 races, new shedding, race track automatic watering system and a slipping track, to name but a few.
In 2018, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club conducted its first Group Listed race – the $22,000 Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres) which was won by the Brian Weis trained Xtreme Caution.