Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lost and Forgotten Tracks and Velodromes

Here in Melbourne and the regional towns around Victoria there are both lost and forgotten cycling tracks and velodromes. I've come across many in my time as a cyclist, even raced on some that do not exist any longer.
The gates to Parkdale Cycling Track and home to the Mordialloc Cycling Club.

One such track brings back memories of my very first State Track Championship as a 14 year old. I rode past it today (9/3/2014) in fact. Parkdale Track was a sealed asphalt track around a footy oval on Nepean Highway and home to the Mordialloc Cycling Club. I decided to take a look at it as I must have passed by thousands of times in the car and on the bike since that State Championship in 1964.
I remember during the 60s, the other "Kids" I raced against from the Mordialloc Club in those years were David Kelso, Geoff Cunningham and the Whiting brothers.

Today it is home to Cricket and Football and very little sign of the track remains. There's that slight banking that the old track had but today its no more than a slight sloping of a grassed surface. Unbeknown to me at the the time, I discovered that the track was actually established in 1934. So thirty years later I was competing on the same track - little did I know at the time its history.

When I rode there it didn't seem to be much of a track but after doing some research today, I discovered that it was in fact a very important part of Victorian track racing history. The major track of Melbourne at the time, the Exhibition Oval had seen better days and was used for Speedway events. The Exhibition Board track was yet to be established and the Motordrome was not suitable for Championship events other than motor pace. The Parkdale track therefore was used for those State Championships while Melbourne searched for a new venue.

Below cuttings are from the mid - 1930s

The Mordialloc Carnival Committee were a driving force to establish the track.

T Johnson - That's Gordon Johnson's Father.

Oppy campaigned for the local council to build a Bike track in Parkdale


Roger Van Hilst said...

Hi there. Do you have any information on the St Kilda Bicycle Track? I have been pottering around the SLV archives and have found many references to races held at the St Kilda track during the 1890's, but I would like to know exactly where it was located and any more information about it. Any ideas?


femmewheelie said...

Hi all,
We lived in Warragul in the late 1970-80s and to my knowledge, there have been at least three velodromes in the was a very steep old track of which just part of it still remains today in a park behind a scout hall in Bowen Street...then there was a 33 degree concrete track located behind the Warragul Trotting track...that track was raced on until the mid 1980's, and then it was demolished to extend the Trotting track. The local riders and community fought to get them to replace the track, with the current Warragul Velodrome.
If I am correct, some of the trials for the 56 Olympics were held in Warragul?