The focus of the mural is on Australian racing but the story is set on its international context. As Australian racing derives so closely from British racing, major events in the evolution of equestrian competition are given prominence in the first panel.
The size of the mural was nothing new to its artist, Harold Freedman, and his Studio. Mr Freedman (Victoria’s State Artist 1972 – 1983) has worked for many years on murals, both in paint and mosaic and the results are well known to the Australian public. Foremost among these works are the Cavalcade of Transport mural at Spencer Street Station, and the Legend of Fire mosaic mural on the Metropolitan Fire Brigade's headquarters in Albert Street, both in Melbourne; his Regional History mural at the State Government Offices in Geelong; and his Aviation mural at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The Victoria Racing Club, in commissioning the History of Racing mural, has been supported by many corporate sponsors. Studio assistant artists Joe Attard and David Jack have worked on the project, while Michael Jeffrey contributed to the first section. Bruce Walker preparing the lettering.
In the absence of a comprehensive published history of Australian racing, the project depended much on original research. This was provided initially by Maurice Cavanough (well known for his histories of the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups) and subsequently by historian, (Dr) Andrew Lemon. The VRC has provided co-operation, enthusiasm and expertise, notably through its Chairman, Mr Hilton Nicholas, committeeman and past Chairman Sir Rupert Steele, the Secretary Mr Murray Cox, and Mr Clarrie Bennetts.
The ancient Romans developed an unseemly passion for horse racing. The Greeks put chariot racing into the Olympic Games. The earliest Asian cultures revered horse and man. All these things are depicted in the beginning of the first of the mural panels, leading to the development of British Horse-racing. The men who shaped the patterns of the sport are shown, and the horses which dominated the breed. Arabian and Turkish-bred horses in particular irrevocably changed the nature of the English thoroughbred. The origins of the great races and racecourses of Britain are shown.