Tuesday, 10th August, 2010
The most coveted trophy in the nation visited the city yesterday as part of a global tour to celebrate the running of the 150th Melbourne Cup.
This year's Melbourne Cup is worth $150,000, is made of 18 carat gold and weighs 4.5 kilograms.
Victoria Racing Club historian Dr Andrew Lemon, who is travelling with the Cup, said it contained two kilograms of gold.
"It has as much gold as you can get in a trophy before it bends," Dr Lemon said.
Broken Hill is one of 42 places the Cup will visit this year on a 220-day tour around the world. The Cup has already visited London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Singapore, Los Angeles and Mumbai. It started its domestic leg last week and it will soon visit New Zealand.
Mayor Wincen Cuy said being part of the international tour was a good plug for the city.
"I think it's absolutely fabulous, from a community point of view, having one of the most sought after prizes in Australian sport in the city," Mayor Cuy said.
"To be a part of the international landscape is great for the city.
"Broken Hill also has the iconic landscape (and) connecting a great part of Australian history with another part of Australian history it has some synergies to it."
The Cup was escorted on the city tour by Mick Robins, a former local and trainer of back to back Melbourne Cup winning horse Rain Lover, Melbourne Cup winning jockey John Marshall, who rode Bart Cummings trained Rogan Josh to victory in 1999 and Victorian Racing Club historian Dr Andrew Lemon.
Dr Lemon said the Cup has only ever been made and designed by four goldsmiths; the first was Melbourne goldsmith James Steeth in 1919.
When he passed away the honour went to his son Maurie who was in charge of the "greatest trophy in Australian folklore" until he died in 1970.
His young apprentice, Lucky Rocca, took up the reins next, making the Cup for the next 30 years.
The last 10 years the Cup has been designed and made by Queensland jeweller Stuart Bishop from Hardy Brothers, which Dr Lemon said caused no interstate rivalry.
"It's the Melbourne Cup but it's not Melbourne's cup," he said.
"It's Australia's cup and it always has been."
Contrary to popular belief, Dr Lemon said the winner of the first Melbourne Cup, in 1861, NSW horse Archer, did not win a trophy.
"Archer never got a trophy," Dr Lemon said.
"You will read that he won a gold watch but I can't find it. The only prize was the (930 pounds), but even that's argued about."
Dr Lemon said this year's trophy was larger and had returned in size to that of the Cup won by the great Phar Lap in 1930. The Cup was resized after that year after the Great Depression and tax changes took hold.
The Cup toured many of the city's iconic locations including the School of the Air, the town square, Aruma Lodge, the line of lode, the Regional Art Gallery, Silverton and the Mundi Mundi Plains.
The Cup also visited the Syndicate of Seven statues, where it was photographed with the David James' statue. Along with being one of the forefathers of Broken Hill Mr James owned the 1895 Melbourne Cup winning horse Auraria.