Nov 6, 2013

A short history of a public holiday

The Melbourne Cup has been run here in Moonee Valley, at Flemington Racecourse, since 1861, traditionally on a Tuesday. But did you know that at first, and for several years, the Cup was held on a Thursday? In fact the first time that a holiday was proclaimed for the Cup it was on Thursday 9th November 1873. Since 1875 the Melbourne Cup race has been on a Tuesday, and each year the Government proclaimed the day a public holiday following the historical precedent first established in 1875, but it wasn't until 1993 that legislation specifically enshrined Melbourne Cup Day as a public holiday on the second Tuesday of every November.

The original letter requesing a public holiday for the Melbourne Cup of 1873.
The Public Records Office of Victoria hold the letter (shown above) that first asked for the public holiday to be proclaimed, and if you're interested their blog also gives a fuller account of the history of the Cup Day Holiday.

Julia

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