Addington Welcome to The Addington Harness Hall of Fame.

We aim to preserve the great moments of the past at Addington Raceway by providing an interactive virtual presence using the internet to reach millions of people world wide and our local harness racing industry here in New Zealand.

Harness Racing in New Zealand is one of the most popular forms of equestrian sport. There is nothing more exciting than owning and racing a harness horse.

Addington Harness Hall of Fame is proud to be a part of this wonderful club and venue and we will be there for many more years to come bringing you the great moments of the past and those of the future.

Enjoy your visit and thank you for supporting The Addington Harness Hall of Fame.

 

TIMELINE


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BLAST FROM THE PAST


1916 GRANDSTAND FIRE

The bane of Committeemen and Executive Officers of Trotting and Racing Clubs and other sporting bodies is the ever-present risk of fire in grandstands and other buildings. The older type grandstands were constructed mainly of wood and the area between the seating and the facilities below were roofed with corrugated iron making the risk of fire an ever present one. Addington had more than its fair share of fires both in stands and other buildings.

The first major fire occurred during the early afternoon on Cup Day 1916 when the new Stewards and Members Stand which had only been in use for eighteen months was reported to be on fire. At about 1:15pm a Member remarked to a friend that it seemed to be extremely warm and being of an inquiring nature he prodded the floor with his walking stick in several places ceasing his investigations when his stick went through the floor and smoke and flame came out the hole he had made. The officials were notified and several got to work with small hoses from a lead of water provided in the building for emergencies and also with water buckets. Those present on the stand were quietly notified to leave which they did without any undue excitement. More drastic measures were then taken. The flooring was torn up with the object of getting to the seat of the fire and a call was sent out to the Fire Brigade who, however, did not turn up at once as the call was from outside the fire district. Fanned by the Nor’ Wester the fire soon got a strong hold and the heat was so intense that it was not long before the panes of plate glass enclosing the grandstand began to crack and fall. The Brigade by this time, had several leads playing onto the building but one hose was lost when a piece of falling plate glass severed it, rendering it useless. Shortly before 3.00pm the fire had practically burnt itself out, with the roof and all the big iron girders having fallen in leaving only the shell of the lower storey. The bottom portion of the concrete staircase giving access to the top of the building were more or less intact. The crowd forgot the racing for a time but interest in the conflagration soon waned and in a short while the totalisator was again going for the cup and except for the ruins everything looked almost normal. It is believed that the outbreak was due to the fusing of an electric cable in the building. The insurance on the stand, which cost approximately £8,000, was £7,000 and was divided between the Norwich Union, South British, Commercial Union, Royal Exchange, Ocean and National Companies. A request from a man who assisted at the fire for the replacement of his suit which was severely damaged was agreed to by the Committee.

In February 1917 the Architects, Luttrell Brothers, were instructed to prepare plans and specifications for the re-erection of the Stewards and Members Stand and to call tenders immediately. The reconstruction of the stand was completed in time for the start of the 1917/18 season.

Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker

 
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