The panel then portrays the first horses and the origins in the major Australian cities, and refers to the contribution made by the horse to the settlement of this country.
Scenes depicted in this series are based on authentic contemporary material. There are few illustrations that depict actual scenes of Australian horse racing in the period before the 1850s, so in most cases the artists have had to rely on a combination of sources to produce the paintings. The style of riding as illustrated – generally a straight back seat and long stirrup – persisted into the present century. Until motion picture revealed the true gait of a horse in full gallop, artists traditionally portrayed galloping horses in the 'rocking horse' style. This style has been preserved in the first part of the mural.
The second panel brings events around Australia from the origins to 1861, the year of the first Melbourne Cup.
At the bottom of the second panel, international developments during the period are symbolised. The middle section of the panel concentrates on the beginnings at Flemington Racecourse from 1840, and early racing at Victorian suburban and country centres. Prominent turf identities, including the first champion horses themselves, occupy a central part of this panel. Archer, among scenes from the first Melbourne Cup is given pride of place.
Every picture has its story and, besides those scenes depicted in the mural, there are many other events which are part of the saga of Australian turf history. To take advantage of the research compiled for this project, and to allow for a full presentation of the mural in book form, the VRC commissioned (Dr) Andrew Lemon to write The History of Australian Thoroughbred Racing – Volumes I, II and III.
Through the media of paint, prints and books, this is a treatment on a scale never previously attempted of a sport with along and colourful tradition. The mural stands as a significant recognition of the part played in that history by the Australian thoroughbred racehorse.