The first race meeting at Ooralea Racecourse was held on June 18 and 19, 1867 following the formation of Mackay Turf Club in May 1867 with J.E Davidson as first club president and T.H Fitzgerald as vice president.
The Club raced in 1868 but later lapsed. It was reformed on May 1st 1872 and in 1872 the Mackay Turf Club held its Centenary meeting, accepting 1872 as the foundation year. The 1872 members were E.S Rawson, Charles Rawson, Dr Robert McBurney, R. Martin, J.C Binney and Alexander Shiels, secretary.
From the 1920’s the club began racing on a fortnightly basis (although some meetings were cancelled because of the financial stresses of the Depression). By 1935, fortnightly meetings were firmly established and from 1971 the Club began racing weekly and continued to do so successfully up until the changes in the administration of racing in the State.
In 1971 the Club inaugurated its still very popular Melbourne Cup Day meeting, being one of the first country clubs to do so. (Home Hill was ahead of it). Powder Puff Derbys for female jockeys only were run in 1973 and 1974.
Other clubs to race at Ooralea were Tattersall’s Race Club, established some time in the 1880’s, Hibernian Race Club also in the 1880’s, Mackay Amateur Race Club from 1915 and Mackay Diggers Race Club from the 1920’s.
The club was incorporated on 15 December, 1988, forming Mackay Turf Club Inc. The club is bound by the constitution of that organisation.
One of Australia’s greatest ever Jockey’s in the 1950s and 1960s originated from Mackay and has been recognised with a commemorative framed tribute at the Club.
The local BLACKS REAL ESTATE family in Mackay have been heavily involved with the Club and it’s operations since it’s early days in the 1880s. In honour of one of their forefathers, HL BLACK, a memorial race day is held each year.