Each year, the H.L. Black Memorial is an exciting part of the Mackay racing calendar and the Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival in the lead up to the Mackay Cup, one of our biggest race days of the year. The drawcard of the HL Black Memorial race is not only the generous prize money but also the automatic entry into the Mackay Cup for the winning horse.
The first H.L. Black Memorial race was held back in 1930 and has continued to this day thanks to the support and sponsorship by the family. The race was named after Henry Lindesay Black (1847-26.10.1926) one of the interesting forefathers of the Mackay we know today. Born in Scotland, he arrived in Australia at just 16 to gain experience on cattle stations and went on to become a station manager and later an auctioneer and commission agent, establishing Henry L. Black Auctioneers & Commission Agents in 1881, now known as Blacks Real Estate in Mackay. But his legacy doesn’t stop there…. From 1882 to 1919, he was the secretary of the Mackay Turf Club, advisory steward of the North Queensland Racing Association and a noted jockey. He was also a member and treasurer of the Mackay Masonic Lodge, a director of The Daily Mercury and served as Mayor of Mackay in 1888. Henry’s funeral in October 1926 was Mackay’s first motor-led funeral.
The H.L. Black Memorial Handicap was run for the first time at the Ooralea racecourse here in Mackay on Friday 1st July 1930. The Mackay Turf Club had inaugurated the race to honour Henry after his 50 years of association with Mackay racing. The race was won R Brennan’s “Beau Net”.
84 years later, Henry’s own great, great grandson, Andrew Black of Blacks Real Estate Mackay had the pleasure of being a part owner of “Payteevee” with John Manzelmann, LJ Jervis and JD Manzelmann, which won the H.L. Black Memorial in 2014 (ridden by Adrian Coome, trained by John Manzelmann) and went on to run 2nd in the Mackay Cup and then win the Townsville and Cairns Cup later in the same year.
H.L. Black Memorial Race 2014 trophy presentation: Barry Williams (Committee), Andrew Black, John Manzelmann, Ian Black (Club Patron) and Lou Kinsey (Committee) for winning horse “Payteevee”.
Following in the footsteps of HL Black, his descendant Francis was also heavily involved in the Club as Secretary for a number of years and has been honoured with a plaque on the Club grounds.
Andrew Black of Blacks Real Estate Mackay and the great, great grandson of H.L. Black still proudly displays the Memorial trophy won as a part owner of the winning horse back in 2014. (June 2021).