Looking back to the 1967 Melbourne Cup

Sports correspondent & historian
with Sideline Sid

History buffs tend to collect things - and I am no exception having collected sporting memorabilia over half a century.

The oldest piece I have, is a 1936 Auckland Provincial Surf Lifesaving program from the event at Ohope Beach over the hill from Whakatane.

Amongst my collection, is the 1967 Melbourne Cup race-book gathered from being at the race that stops two nations, which I pick up and read again on Melbourne Cup Day.

Perusal of the race-book gives a snapshot of the times. The Melbourne Cup stake was $60,000 while the 2023 edition was run for a total of $9 million. The Cup Day program cost 20 cents, and there was a full page advertisement for Craven Filter cigarettes in the program.

While a myriad of water has run under my bridge of memories, the finish of the big race is still crystal clear to me. Red Handed, trained by the legendary Bart Cummings, poked its nose in front to nut Kiwi representative Red Handed on the line.

It's worth looking back to 1967, as a number of events helped shape the world of today. July 10, 1967, was decimal currency day where pounds, shillings and pence were replaced by dollars and cents.

Later in the year, six o'clock closing (of hotels) which had been introduced as a temporary war measure in 1917, was repealed to be replaced by the later hour of ten o'clock.

Sir Arthur Porritt was the first New Zealand born citizen to be appointed Governor General of our country. The later Lord Porritt won a bronze medal in the 100m sprint at the 1924 Olympics in Paris. The race was later immortalized in the film Chariots of Fire.

Forebodings of future conflict were heralded when the New Zealand Rugby Union canceled the planned tour of South Africa.

Another significant event was the end of free school milk distribution. I can still remember being a milk monitor in primary school. It was our task to distribute the milk to classrooms then collect and stack the empties for collection.

The policy behind free school milk seems to have gone full circle, with many schools now providing free breakfasts and lunches, to ensure pupils receive regular dietary requirements.

Some of the sports men and women who would go on to legendary status in world sport made significant achievements in 1967.

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus won the US Golf Open for the second time, going on to further success in 1972 and 1980. Nicklaus would finish his career with a record 18 masters titles which still stands today.

Wimbledon was won by John Newcombe and Billy Jean King who are both highly respected and revered in the twenty-first century.

The first Superbowl was staged in the States with the Green Bay Packers defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. Super Bowl One brought together the rival AFL and the NFL, and has gone on to become one of the biggest televised events of world sport.

New Zealand was in Formula 1 headlines with Denny Hulme who won the F1 World drivers’ championship. There was a strong Western Bay of Plenty connection with Hulme spending his formative years on the family farm at Pongakawa.

I believe that today is shaped by what happened in the past, with 1967 playing no small part, in transforming the twenty-first century.

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