Wacky unearths St Pat’s gold
Tuesday, 12th March, 2019
By Myles Burt
St Pat’s volunteer Wayne Walker, of Wacky’s Bar, has managed to bump into the daughter of one of the first Colleen of the Course winners.
Wayne recently travelled to Mr Mick Winery in the Clare Valley, South Australia, to stock his famous bar for the upcoming St Patrick’s Day races.
He was greeted by wine representative and former local, Alexandra Siemer, who was organising the order.
“Wayne actually asked me because my surname is obviously local. I have a lot of relatives around Broken Hill,” Ms Siemer said.
“My cousins live in Broken Hill and he asked me ‘are you related to those Siemers?’
“’Yes, I’m one of those Siemers,’ and that’s how it all came about.”
Wayne soon found out that she was the daughter of Mignonne Siemer, who won Colleen of the Course at the St Pat’s Races in 1967.
Not only did Mignonne take out the fashion title in Broken Hill, but she also won ‘Miss Country Racegoer’ in the open section at Flemington Race Course in Melbourne that same year.
Mignonne travelled from Broken Hill for the Melbourne Cup, as part of her St Pat’s prize, and was taxied out to her luxury suite at the Southern Cross Hotel.
A young The Sun journalist called Laurie Oakes - who would later become one of Australia’s top political reporters - wrote about Mignonne’s arrival.
He knocked out an article titled ‘Barrier Divides King, Queen’ as William Shorty’ O’Neil had also flown over on the same plane.
Mr O’Neil reportedly didn’t stay at accommodation as luxurious as Mignonne, as he caught a bus to “a little pub in Elizabeth Street”.
“(Laurie Oakes) would’ve been a cadet journalist back then,” Ms Siemer said.
She remembers travelling with her family from their Corinya property near Ivanhoe for the annual St Pat’s races.
“When I was little I do remember we used to stay at the Exchange Hotel,” Ms Siemer said.
“I remember Mum and Dad would get ready to go to St Pat’s and we always had to have a babysitter.”
Alexandra Siemer is now coming to the races this year for the first time.