Monday, April 25, 2016

Archer's Melbourne Cup

This is a children's book in the My Australian Story series. Vashti Farrer has written the story of the lead up to and the running of the first Melbourne Cup in 1861. The book is written in diary form by a young strapper, Robby, who works for Mr de Mestre on his property which is largely used for training horses. In the book we learn about racing in the early 1860s and the life of the young boys who look after the horses. Robby spends much of his time looking after Archer and is allowed to accompany Mr de Mestre and the other staff who take three horses to Melbourne by steamer to run in the racing carnival which includes the new race which is to become famous throughout the country.

This is a well written book which can be enjoyed by anyone interested in the history of Australian horse racing in the nineteenth century, not just children. At the back of the book Vashti Farrer provides a summary of the actual events leading up to the horse race and dispels some of the myths which grew up around the story of Archer.

Etienne de Mestre was a grandson of my great (x3) grandmother.

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