Dalby Picnics Honours 19th Century Immigration

The Darling Downs region of Australia’s Queensland is where Dalby is located, around 200 kilometres from the state capital, Brisbane. It is the governmental centre for the Western Downs Region, and the hub for the richest cotton and grain growing area in all of Australia.

It is believed that the town was named after the village Dalby on the Isle of Man, in an effort to reflect the immigration from the British dependency in the middle of the 19th century. When Captain Samuel Perry surveyed the settlement in 1853 he is thought to have christened it thus. The town was linked by means of a railway to that of Ipswich on the 20th of April, 1868.

When Dalby was founded, it was known locally as The Crossing, thanks to Myall Creek, one of the tributaries of the Conamine River. Mr Henry Dennis was the first European settler, who chose land for both himself and others in the locality after exploring the region. An obelisk situated in Edward Street commemorates the location where Mr Dennis first camped. The settlement was initially founded as a means to assist those travelling north to Jimbour Station.

In February of 1853 Samuel Perry was sent by the New South Wales government to survey the township, and it was officially proclaimed one by Mr Charles Douglas Eastaughffe in 1854. This gentleman was later appointed Chief Constable of the area, and remained in Dalby until he retired. The Myall Creek Post Office, as the area was still known, opened in 1854 also, and the town was renamed in 1855.

Dalby Plays Host to Picnics Racing

Picnic horse racing, also known as picnic races or the picnics is the term used to refer to horse racing meetings of amateur Thoroughbred horses in Australia. The Picnics are organised by various amateur clubs, with the jockeys taking part in the races being non-professional, or former professional jockeys. The horses which take part in the Picnics are usually not of a standard sufficient to compete at professional race horse meetings, and are usually trained by hobby trainers.

The Picnics are very social occasions, and are most often held on Public Holidays, when a large amount of people are able to attend, or on the same days that the major metropolitan horse races like the Melbourne Cup are being held.

The History of the Dalby Picnics

Although the exact date that the first Dalby Picnics event was held is much debated, it is known to have commenced in the early 20th century, and that the Picnics were not held during the war years. These races are a proud tradition in rural Australia, and are no less so in Dalby. Held each year in the month of May, the Picnic races attract over 4 500 patrons, making it the biggest annual race day in the city. 2015 saw the 103rd race held in commemoration of ANZAC day, the day in which the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed at Gallipoli in 1915.