The Coleraine Racecourse, located 3kms east of the town, is a complex of buildings and tracks which have been built to serve the racing industry in the district for over 100 years. The buildings are essentially utilitarian, constructed using inexpensive materials and building techniques. The complex consists of the grandstand, stables, committee room, bar and dining room, photo finish box, judges box, and horse stalls and training facilities. The course and fencing around the track are also significant. The two storey grandstand, built in 1902 in timber and corrugated iron, is the oldest surviving building on the site, and replaced an earlier single storey grandstand. It has been substantially altered in the latter half of the 20th century. The land for the racecourse was reserved in 1862 following an appeal from the local community, as a result of the immense popularity of racing in the area, particularly the famous Great Western Steeplechase.
How is it significant?
The Coleraine Racecourse is of historical significance to the community of Coleraine and the Southern Grampians Shire.
Why is it significant?
Coleraine Racecourse is of historical significance for its association with the early history of racing in Victoria, and has particular significance for its link to the immensely popular Great Western Steeplechase, and its famous horse riders, including Adam Lindsay Gordon and Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh. It has further historical significance for its continuous association with the thoroughbred horse racing industry over 100 years.
Coleraine Racecourse is located on a gazetted reserve of nearly 50 hectares approximately 3 kilometres east of the township of Coleraine on the Glenelg Highway. The layout of the course and facilities is typical of country racetracks. The course is approached via a gravel drive through a formal gateway off the Glenelg Highway, past a single avenue of mature Cupressus sempervirens trees, to the cluster of administrative buildings and public facilities. These consist of a two storey grandstand, with bar and dining room underneath the stands, a public bar, the jockeys' room and secretary's office, and a betting ring, with horse stalls and trainers' facilities at the rear of the complex. These buildings are simple and utilitarian in style, constructed in timber and corrugated iron, with no architectural pretensions. The elliptical track consists of separate steeplechase and flat courses, with an adjacent sand training track. A photo finish box and judges box are located near the finish line, opposite the grandstand. Many of the buildings were constructed in the later part of the 20th century, and replaced earlier structures. The course was redesigned in 1979.
The present grandstand was erected by Henry James in 1902 to seat 400 people, built of timber and corrugated iron, and altered in 1913 when the sides were covered with ripple iron. The grandstand was remodelled in 1948, following its use as a wool store during the Second World War, and has undergone further minor alterations in the later 20th century.