Racing Queensland has thrown its support behind National Volunteers Week, which commenced yesterday.
Across the state, more than 7800 volunteers contribute to the Queensland racing industry, providing their time and expertise to sustain the three codes.
More than half of these are directly involved with participants, while close to 3500 volunteer for the 129 racing clubs across Queensland.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of any sport and play a crucial role in the ongoing success and viability of racing across the state, particularly in regional and rural areas,” RQ General Manager Club Partnerships and Assets Melinda Martin said.
“Volunteering provides a tangible way for participants to feel connected with their communities and to make a contribution to their towns.
“As an organisation, we’re extremely grateful for the cross-section of volunteers who sustain our industry from Birdsville to Cooktown and everywhere in between.”
Volunteers in the Queensland racing industry assume a variety of roles including:
- Promotions and fundraising;
- Photo finish, timing, clerk of the course;
- Barrier attendants, starters and judging, betting supervisors;
- Preparing and maintaining the track and grounds;
- Administration and finance duties;
- Gate ticket sellers and parking attendants;
- Operating food and beverage outlets;
There are countless stories across the state that highlight the unsung work of participants, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an individual that epitomises the spirit of volunteerism more than Jack Murray.
The 92-year-old, of the Eidsvold Race Club, was recently crowned Club Person of the Year at the second annual On The Bit Queensland Country Racing Gala Awards Night in February, celebrating and honouring the successes of regional industry participants.
At the conclusion of the night, Jack was also inducted in to the On The Bit Country Queensland Hall of Fame - a fine acknowledgement for more than 60 years of dedicated service to the regional industry.
Speaking at the Gala on behalf of his father, Bob Murray paid tribute to Jack and his outstanding volunteer service to country racing.
“He’s been in the club over 60 years; he’s been the starter, he’s been the caretaker of the club, now he’s a life member and he’s been a patron of the club for the last 15 years,” Bob Murray said.
“When there’s working bees on, he’s always there and if someone wants to come have a look at the facilities, dad’s there as the first one to show them around - he lives for the club, he’s always there.”
“It’s been in the family nearly all his life; his father was a trainer and then Jack took over – he’s bred horses, trained horses and now he’s just a spectator.
“It’s all he talks about, he goes to the farm with last week’s race book in his pocket and this week’s acceptances and he goes through them, reading it over and over and picking out winners.”
In celebration of National Volunteers Week, Racing Queensland thanks each and every one of the industry’s volunteers for their ongoing service.