David Innes Watt collection
The David Innes Watt Family Collection consists of an eighteen carat gold cup: the Tirranna Picnic Race Club Challenge Cup. It has two ornate handles and a lid with a small horse and was first presented in 1895. Mr David Innes Watt won the cup in 1899 with his horse Loch Leven, in 1904 with Chiefswood and in 1906 with Pleasure. With his third win, he earned the right to retain the gold cup in perpetuity. Crafted by Hardy Brothers Jewellers, the Tirranna Picnic Race Club Challenge Cup was awarded for the main race. In 1895 the gold cup was valued at Â£150.
From the early days of colonisation, picnic races have been a feature of rural life. Country people travelled long distances to these annual gatherings, some of which continued for several days and were accompanied by wild celebrations. The Tirrana Picnic Races were established in 1855 at Tirranna, a property outside Goulburn, New South Wales. In 1872 the railway from Sydney reached Goulburn, making the Tirranna Picnic Races more accessible to Sydney racing enthusiasts and by 1875, Tirranna was thought to be one of the best race tracks in the Colony. The Governor attended with due pomp and ceremony, along with other socialites and people of influence and the meeting was widely reported in the Sydney press, as were the fashionable gowns worn at the associated balls and dances.
Copyright National Museum of Australia
Physical access to the collection by appointment only