This photo was taken at Whalan Reserve, near Mt Druitt. This reserve contains soccer fields, tennis courts and bike tracks. It’s a wide open space where the dust fills your eyes and the wind fills your ears, but if you came here 60 years ago your eyes and ears would have experienced very different sights and sounds.
This dusty wide open space was once filled with the roaring sound of motor vehicles as Jack Brabham and co. raced around the once WWII light aircraft landing strip. That’s right, during WWII the RAAF used this space for training, repair units and the RAAF’s first guard dog unit.
The racing started in October 1948 on a “hot dog” style racing circuit that ran the length of the airstrip and back at a reported length of 2.9km. In 1952 a full 3.6km (sources vary) circuit was laid by a man named Belf Jones which incorporated the airstrip, though suspected routes can be viewed from links within our sources section.
This photo is from an old bike track that some say is built on part of the old circuit. The circuit hosted many race meetings over the years sometimes attracting more than 15,000 spectators. One noteworthy race was a 24 hour race held on the 31st of January to the 1st of February, 1954. However, racing ceased on the full circuit in 1957 due to controversial circumstances. Lease and control complications caused someone (reportedly Belf Jones) to plough a trench through the circuit. As a result the track was scaled back to the original design until the Speedway Public Safety Act of 1969 forced its closure for good in 1970.
It’s hard to find evidence of the old circuit there today but if this sparks your interest please see the first link below to view an old video clip of some racing at the venue.
Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.
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