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William Forrester (racecourse owner)

William Forrester was descended from a First Fleet convict of the same name. Forrester achieved a quinella in the 1897 Melbourne Cup with the brother horses, Gaulus and The Grafter. The Grafter also won the Cup in 1898, surviving a protest.

In 1881, Forrester purchased land at what was originally called Warwick Park. He renamed it Warwick Farm to correspond with his own initials, and built a family homestead along with racing stables and a thoroughbred stud. Forrester held the inaugural race meeting at Warwick Farm on 16 March 1889, after forming a syndicate called The Warwick Farm Racing Club. Forrester contested the Melbourne Cup 5 times with 2 wins.

His winnings would have been worth more than AU$4 million, with trophies valued at AU$70,000. Because of his gambling debts, Bill was almost destitute at the time of his death at age 59 on 23 August 1901. At one time, he allegedly wagered the deeds of his Warwick Farm house on a card game; fortunately he won. Forrester owned a large part of Warwick Farm Racecourse. It was later revealed he had sold much of his property to discharge his gambling debts.

After his death, Sydney Tattersalls Club opened a subscription to assist his impoverished widow, Emily, their 3 daughters and their son.

The Australian Jockey Club bought the Warwick Farm course in 1922, with the first meeting held in the refurbished surrounds in 1925. Many years after Bill's death one of his daughters, Ellie May, had her parents remains exhumed and cremated. Her father's ashes were scattered near the present-day winning post at Warwick Farm.


  • Keating, Christopher (1996). On the Frontier: A Social History of Liverpool. Hale & Iremonger. ISBN 0-8680-6586-2. 


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