Rare collection of Phar Lap images put online

Share
The album composed by David Davis records all of Phar Lap's 36 wins on Australian soil. Photo: Sam Birch/National Museum of Australia
The album composed by David Davis records all of Phar Lap’s 36 wins on Australian soil. Photo: Sam Birch/National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia has digitised a rare collection of Phar Lap photographs compiled by the great horse’s owner, David Davis, which can be viewed online.

The collection comprises 36 photographs assembled by the Russian-born American businessman who co-owned the horse with trainer Harry Telford.

Davis died in 1959. The existence of the album was not known until it was found in the 1990s by his descendants in the attic of the Davis family home in California.

The images depict all of Phar Lap’s victories on Australian soil.

The digital collection was launched last Thursday in the leadup to next week’s Melbourne Cup, which Phar Lap won in 1930.

Many of the images highlight the convincing margin by which Phar Lap won many of his races, often easing back as he approached the finishing post.

Phar Lap was born in Timaru, New Zealand, in 1926 and died in mysterious circumstances in the United States in 1932, having won 37 of his races in a 51-race career.

He became a Depression-era hero in Australia in the 1930s, winning race after race.

He then travelled by ship to the United States, where his first and only victory was in the continent’s richest race at the time. (That was his only win that did not make it into Davis’s album)

Two weeks later he took seriously ill and died. His death has been at the centre of conspiracy theories ever since, with some believing he was poisoned by mob interests.

A page of the album forms part of the museum exhibition, Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story, which runs until March.

The images can be viewed here

Horsetalk.co.nz

Latest research and information from the horse world.

One thought on “Rare collection of Phar Lap images put online

  • November 1, 2014 at 9:57 pm
    Permalink

    Congrats to who ever made the decision, to have PHAR LAPS’S heart on eternal exhibition at the NATIONAL MUSEUM in Canberra…
    Regards
    Werner
    P.S. we saw the exhibit in the fall of 2012 (nearing spring your time)…

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *