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100 years ago

Date: November 06 2012


November 6, 1912

What's the next best thing to being there, at Flemington, to see the Melbourne Cup race, with the roar of the horses and the smell of the crowd?

Today, we think the next best thing is to watch it, live, on TV, but 100 years ago, the next best thing was brought to us by the cutting-edge miracle of the cinematograph.

One hundred years ago this week, the Goulburn Evening Penny Post rejoiced that: ''Those who were unable to visit Melbourne on Tuesday to see the Cup run will tonight [Thursday] have an opportunity to see the next best thing, viz., a pictorial representation of the race.

''No fewer that 25 films of the Cup contest were manufactured by the associated companies.

''The negative was sent to Sydney on Tuesday, arriving in the metropolis of the state on Wednesday morning.

'' It was sent in sections to various factories, and increased staffs worked throughout the day.

''The task of assembling the sections was commenced at four o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, and by eight o'clock 25 finished copies had been sent out. The day's work is said to be a record for film manufacture in Australia.

''Mr Nicholson is to be complimented on his enterprise in securing for Goulburn at the first possible moment a picture of the race.

''Probably many who are not regular patrons of cinematograph entertainments will be curious to see 'Piastre' [winner of the 1912 Cup] achieve his great victory.

''The rest of the evening's program [looks good, too] … Nellie, the lion tamer, is a sensational feature and includes a love story.''

The good people of Goulburn who went to see the film of the 1912 Cup saw Piastre, at 7/1 and carrying 48.54 kilograms, win by more than a length from Hallowmas, with Uncle Sam coming third. Today's winning steed wins for his or her connections $3.6 million but we can be sure that the connections of Piastre were pleased with the 1912 prizemoney of £8676.

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