CY O’Connor Reserve: site of WA’s first horse race could host commemorative event

Wreck of the SS Wyola.
Wreck of the SS Wyola.

CY O’CONNOR Reserve could host a commemorative horse race and family event on October 2 in a nod to the history of the coastal recreation spot.

The heritage-listed area was the site of the first official horse race in WA in October 1833 and remains a popular exercise area for trainers and riders today.

Local publisher Carmelo Amalfi and horse trainer Terry Patterson spruiked the race, which would also feature a plaque unveiling and a public event celebrating the history of the area, at the City of Cockburn’s monthly council meeting on Thursday night.

However, they have hit a snag, with the old Wyola wreck – a non-heritage listed wreck – sitting in the middle of their preferred course.

Mr Amalfi said he was happy to work with council to find a way around any issues, confident the race would attract national attention.

“If there are issues we still need to work through I’m more than happy to postpone for another year and go through the hurdles that we have to make it a safe event,” he said.

“But I think the amount of time and energy that has gone into it already I still feel that in two months we can do this.”

Mr Amalfi said an alternative would be to host the race further north, closer to the Fremantle-Cockburn boundary at South Beach.

“But we’d really prefer to have this in Cockburn because this is Cockburn history,” he said.

“I think if it’s managed correctly we could pull off an amazing, wonderful day.”

The item was deferred for two weeks to give the City of Cockburn more time to discuss options with the applicant.

Mr Amalfi also sought $7000 sponsorship from the City for construction of a plaque dedicated to the trainers, riders and horses which have used the beach area over the last 183 years.

“We’re keen to establish a permanent plaque or some marker as a reference point for this beach (to say) that this was the place it all started in 1833,” he said.

“There is nothing down there that acknowledges the riders, trainers or the famous horses.”