Hall of Fame jockey Darby McCarthy has been announced as one of nine Queensland Greats this morning.
Just a month after he passed away, the trailblazing hoop, who achieved widespread acclaim during a decorated career that took him across the globe, was posthumously honoured by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Now in its 20th year, the awards recognise and celebrate extraordinary achievements and life-time contributions by those who call the Sunshine State home and are the highlight of Queensland Day each year.
Fittingly, today’s anniversary also falls on Stradbroke Day, with McCarthy claiming the time-honoured race on three occasions aboard Mullala (1963), Cele’s Image (1964) and Castanea (1966).
A proud descendant of the Mithika people, McCarthy was one of 13 children and was born in the sandhills outside of Cunnamulla in western Queensland.
Ms Palaszczuk said it was particularly pleasing that so many of this year’s recipients were from regional Queensland.
“Every one of our Queensland Greats has worked to make other people’s lives better, some after overcoming incredible adversity themselves,” she said.
“They display strength, courage, ingenuity, talent and determination – all of the things that continue to make Queensland what it is.”
The 2020 Queensland Greats are:
- Bruce Morcombe OAM and Denise Morcombe OAM;
- Associate Professor James Morton AM;
- Betty Taylor;
- Nancy Bates OAM;
- Angus Lane OAM;
- Father Mick Lowcock;
- PCYC Queensland; and
- Richard (Darby) McCarthy OAM.
Having been crowned the champion of the Queensland apprentice jockey school in 1960 and 1961, McCarthy would go on to win some of the state’s biggest features including a Brisbane Cup and the Doomben 10,000.
In Sydney, he won the 1969 AJC Derby on Divide And Rule and the Epsom with Broker's Tip on the same day before riding across Europe including Paris and Royal Ascot.
In 2004, McCarthy became just the fourth jockey to be inducted into the Queensland Hall of Fame, following in the footsteps of Mick Dittman, George Moore and Neville Sellwood, before being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to racing and his work with Indigenous youth in 2016.
Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said McCarthy well and truly deserved his place among the Queensland greats.
“Darby McCarthy was an incredible jockey who took on and conquered the world,” he said.
“He is among our finest ever exports and the work that he also did away from the track, particularly with Indigenous communities, means his legacy will long live on.
“It seems only fitting that he takes his place among the Queensland greats on Stradbroke Day no less.”
Since the Queensland Greats Awards began in 2001, 102 individuals, 16 institutions, 6 posthumous and 1 honorary recipient have been recognised as Queensland Greats.
Click here to learn more about the 2020 inductees of the Queensland Greats.