[AusRace] Tarcoola - The Horse and the House

Tony Moffat tonymoffat at bigpond.com
Tue Aug 29 23:06:26 AEST 2017

Tarcoola - The horse and the house.
Tarcoola won the 1893 Melbourne Cup, at a good price, and had run well
in Carbines Cup in 1890 also.
In winning Tarcoola recorded 204.5 seconds which was amended that
afternoon to 210.5 seconds. The first mentioned time would have had it
winning 40 of the first 40 runnings, then 29 of the next 40 runnings,
5 of the next 40, and 1 of the next 18 (to end at the year 2000
As an aside it is interesting to see the race time improve through the
years, it was not until 1925 with King Ingoda, that the recorded time
was bettered, 204.25 seconds. Yes, the race distance has been
shortened, by 61 feet, but you get the gist.
The naming of the horse has caused some conjecture, Tarcoola (SA)
claim it as theirs. Tarcoola, a sheep station at Dalton, claim
Tarcoola is a house in Goulburn and Dad and Mum owned this from 1956
until moving  in 1970. The house was designed by the architect Manfred
senior, whose firm, a father and son show, designed many houses in the
area. It was built for a Mr Connelly however the first occupant was
Alexander Romula PARRISH. Parrish was born on Melbourne Cup day 1862
at Bowral. His middle name coincides with a Cup runner also, some
years after his birth date. 
A biographer told Dad that Parrish won money on the Cup and other
races and bought this house, and some shops, but further information
is lacking. If so, this may explain the Tarcoola nameplate at the
front door.
The council records are incomplete, actually they are out of place
having not being returned correctly after perusal and use by a
previous biographer, so early data has not been verified.
The house is situated on the corner of Verner and Cowper Streets.
Cowper Street is the continuation of the Hume Highway. Verner Street
comes up the steep hill from the main street, past the cathedrals and
goes onto St Patricks, or more importantly, the swimming pool. 
The area was once a blue and green stone quarry and many houses and
buildings have those rocks in their foundations. The bricks were made
locally. The architects designed 16 houses that were built around so
there is a uniformity to the area. The walls are not cavity
constructed but interlocked. Essentially the house is a very strong
brick rectangle. The timber formwork is mountain ash. Dad had the
place re-wired and the plumbing updated.
Tarcoola the house has as a feature a very large, long and wide
upstairs veranda, unusual for the time and the house occupies two
blocks, there was formerly a large kitchen garden and staff quarters
and stable downstairs in the grounds.. There is an ancient grape vine
there, the grape bunches are enormous, with perhaps 500 berries on
each, as big as your bar fridge. The foundation blocks from the
quarters are used in the garden now as retaining walls, the bricks
were cleaned and taken to be used in the scoreboard building at the
cricket oval near the pool. There is a space for tieing up a horse and
cart on the side fence, the rail for that is still there, the fence
gap or gate has been closed over now, but the baker and iceman left
their horse there while they did their deliveries, maybe.
There was a quantity of steel on the ground in the yard, some of it
formed, rolled, as in yacht hull curves and perhaps a former occupant
had aspirations of building a boat, there is a 3 phase power pole
board nearby too. We sold that steel and I put my share towards a
trail bike, a Cooper 250.
Two of the sizeable downstairs rooms have been taken as garages, there
is still a  kitchen and other rooms downstairs, a dumb waiter, a
stairway built around the dumb waiter space, and a proper stairway
nearby, both lead up from the kitchen.
Upstairs there is a long and wide hallway from the front door to the
smaller kitchen at the back. You can play ping pong in that hall, it
is that wide, Dad suggested carpet bowls, but we changed the subject
and the feeling passed. There are three bedrooms, a dining and a
lounge and library. The windows upstairs are from ceiling to floor, a
design feature of other Manfred houses nearby. There are fan forced
gas heaters, monsters, in the lounge and kitchen. It’s Goulburn, it is
cold there. There are servant callers installed in each room upstairs,
levers which actuate wires that cause bells to ring in the kitchen.
The wires run on installed wooden paths in the roof cavity, these
paths double as walkways up there as well. There is a radio aerial in
the roof cavity and there was an aerial on the roof outside, if
insulators are any guide. Those big valve radios needed quarter and
half wave aerials to work. There is a phone, all Bakelite and bronze
in the roof cavity too.
To get to the roof, and the cavity before that, you entered the wall
space downstairs and there was a ladder built there, attached to the
wall, you climbed upwards, in the wall space, to a door way to the
roof cavity, and if you continued upwards you removed a fitted and
locked hatch and came out in the sunshine on the roof, where there was
a walkway.
There is a downstairs hallway too. The ceiling there, near the front,
has a bullet hole but no projectile, this is also the floor of the
upper level too, and the cupboard at the other end of the hall also
has a bullet hole, again no projectile. Ok, perhaps there was a duel
and they both missed, shook hands, and had a  Pimms, but that was the
thinking of a 17 year old youth, without a girlfriend again, back
The garage was two rooms made into the garage, plenty of room for my
motorbike and Dads HR Premier (with spats which he did not like). 
There was a dental college next door, with fat rabbits running
rampant, we netted them in the sweet pea patch and returned them. They
had perfect teeth though, nice smiles said Mum, sniggering.
Over the road was a novitiate, a religious college, with stern Nuns
and smiling girls who waved and declined the offered strawberries.
Next to that was a training college, for something, it was American
owned and run, with flash long American cars outside that scraped the
driveway when coming and going. Down the hill was a locked ward
There were 5 sp bookmakers that I was aware of in the city, two of
those were shop fronts. One was where you walked down the aisles of
shoes and handbags, and knocked on a counter and a woman took your
bets. You had to know your bets and betting ended an hour before the
advertised starting time. Other sp may have let you on until the off,
so to speak. Paying was on Monday afternoon and there was a limit of
$35 each outcome. On Saturday afternoon you entered through the café
next to the shop or there was the telephone. The payout limit was
increased for telephone bets.
 I never used them, those SP,  nor did I have a code pass or telephone
The TAB was on the other side of the road at thr opposite end of the
street, 3 blocks away, and was plain to the extreme, two lines on the
floor leading to a buying window, there was a centre table although
the race field charts were on the walls, as you would expect. So you
chose your bets, wrote a slip, checked the details from the charts
again, then waited silently in the line for your bets, $0.25 cent
multiples. Friendless places, then and now.
I worked for Winchcombe,Carson in the woolstore, the best pre season
training for me, lumping hundreds of wool bales into storage positions
and display spots for the auction. They closed shortly after, moved to
Melbourne for auctions and Geelong for storage. I was there to the
end, with stalwart Elaine, did an audit of the assets, swept the
place, turned off the lights, locked the door and left. I then moved
to Sydney, to Neutral Bay for accommodation and to Kings Cross for
school, a commercial college, six floors of that on Darlinghurst Road,
with a brothel in the rear lane, I heard. I had completed and passed
my HSC but was not permitted to do Trig at school, a story in itself,
so I re-did the Leaving Certificate, the last year of that, and passed
that also, with the Trig component included which I needed for Uni,
engineering, specifically surveying. Again, this was another story in
itself, and I did not become a surveyor as a result. 
The Tarcoola link continues though. In a year or so I was working for
a man, doing straight line surveying and driving his dozer doing pads
for houses and sheds out near Cobbitty, near Oran Park, and the third
job was in Tarcoola Place, and to get to Tarcoola Place you had drive
down Moffitts Lane. 
On the day of Tarcoolas win in the MC, Police raided the  ‘tote’
building in Johnson Street Collingwood, number 148 now but 102a (or
something) back then, owned and operated by John Wren. The tote
building backed up to Sackville Street, where there was a secret
entry/exit, it is said. The streetsigns for both Sackville Street and
Johnston Street are on the wall in the downstairs lobby of the house
‘Tarcoola’ – as is the expression ‘due to a lack of interest today has
been cancelled’. I don’t know why, or how or who but interesting
coincidences anyway. There are, or were, other collectibles there too.



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