Birdsville races start delayed by wet weather

Richard Dinnen - Queensland Editor |

(Birdsville Race Club)
(Birdsville Race Club)

Day one of Queensland’s iconic Birdsville Races, scheduled to begin on Friday, has been postponed due to wet weather.

The Birdsville Race Club says unseasonal inclement weather has made track conditions temporarily unsuitable for racing in what is the140th annual race meeting in outback south-west Queensland.

Day one of the Birdsville Races program was due to kick off later today but will now be postponed.

Gary Brook, Vice President of the Birdsville Race Club, said the club is working with Racing Queensland to reschedule events, and further announcements will be made today.

“So much work goes into putting the Birdsville Races on, and so many punters travel thousands of kilometres to join us at this unique outback carnival.

“Unfortunately, the weather has come into play over the past day, and we’re disappointed to have to delay the start of the races, but we’re eagerly looking forward to the sun coming out tomorrow and a successful Saturday program.

“Spirits remain high in Birdsville as thousands of punters flock into town. The pub is bustling and there’s loads of fun and frivolity as we look forward to a great few days of racing and entertainment.

“The good news is we have sunny skies ahead of us, so after a day of forecast sunshine, we’ll be back on track and running on Saturday.”

This is the 140th Birdsville Races, an event that began in the spring of 1882, when horse owners, managers and stockmen got together on the borders of South Australia and Queensland for an unofficial race meeting.

What’s become known as the Melbourne Cup of the outback has grown to be one of outback Australia’s premier events, with punters driving and flying vast distances to be trackside and to get a bet on.

This year, more than 6,000 visitors are expected to boost the population well above the usual number of about 100.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 Birdsville races, and the postponement of the 2021 Races to April this year, creating a historic double race meeting in 2022.