Torbanlea Picnic Races - Jill Colwell on The GG leads the field into the home straight in the 1500m event.
Torbanlea Picnic Races - Jill Colwell on The GG leads the field into the home straight in the 1500m event. Alistair Brightman

TORBANLEA RACES: Here's everything you need to know

PUT together ladies dodging divots, the sight and sound of pounding hoofs kicking up a cloud of dust and punters cheering for a win from the sidelines of a small town track and you have yourself a cracking day out at some good old-fashioned country races.

The Torbanlea Picnic races have long been one of the most highly anticipated annual events on the Fraser Coast and it's easy to see why.

A dedicated band of volunteers from the Burrum Recreation Reserve Association and local community groups play host to a 1500-strong crowd each year, offering up entertainment, barrel racing, six exciting horse races, fashion on the field competitions, a kids corner and running race, and the iconic tug-o-war.

Association secretary Tracey Waters said there was plenty of hype surrounding the race day on October 27.

And with the VIP tents kept at an affordable price, they are once again proving to be a big feature of the day.

"There has been a huge amount of interest - places in the VIP tents are filling up fast, the buses are filling up very quickly and the horse races are filling up," Ms Waters said.

"The VIP tents are the same price as last year because we know everyone does struggle.

"It's a really great area, you're out of the sun all day and it's only 20 metres away from everything."

If the VIP tent isn't for you, bring along your own marquee to place in "Tent City', further down the track, and will this year have it's own bar.

"Tent City was very popular last year ... they've got their own toilets and own bar and we don't charge people to set up their tents - It's fantastic!

"We do have camping on the grounds that night if people do want to have a drink and that's free too.

"Come and find whatever spot you want; it's first in best dressed."

Off the race track, there will be a special guest appearance by former Gold Coast Titans player Ashley Harrison and well-known local performer Derek F Smith in the VIP area.

The Fraser Coast Historic Vehicle Club will host a display and there will be a kids corner with a jumping castle and rides to keep the one young entertained.

There will be prizes awarded for fashions on the field including best dressed male, best female dress, best junior, best couple and best hat.

Ms Waters is also keen to here from any market stall holders who would like to secure a site, which is a new feature to this year's event.

On the track, jockeys from Rockhampton to Brisbane will travel for six action-packed races.

She said punters could dabble with $5 maximum bets at the lucky ticket booth.

"The atmosphere is just awesome ... everyone goes on the fence line and cheers.

"You really need to come and see it for yourself to experience it."

Gates open at 9am.

Entry is $10 per adult and children aged under 13 are free.



Buses will be running from Hervey Bay and Maryborough to the Torbanlea Race Track. In Hervey Bay, it will depart the Australia Post car park in Pialba from 9am and return at 4.30pm. In Maryborough, it will depart the McDowells car park at 9am and return at 4.30pm. Cost is $30 and includes entry to the races.

All tickets are pre-paid and can be brought from Maryborough Glass, 554 Kent St or MBO Office Equipment, Torquay Rd, Hervey Bay.

Barrel racing

The Burrum District Active Riders and the National Reining Horse Association will host barrel racing before the picnic races. An exhibition will take place at 7.30am and competition at 8.30am.

VIP tents

There will be food catered by Bay Fusion and entertainment by Derek F Smith. The tents boast betting booths, beer and spirit tents and are close to toilet amenities. Cost is $950 for a table of 10 or $95 per head, which includes four free beer cards. Bookings can be emailed to


Race 1: Mixed stock horse race, 250m.

Race 2: Australian Purebred Arab Racing, 1500m.

Race 3: Sprint Race, 400m.

Race 4: Alan Madders Memorial Cup, 800m.

Race 5: Sprint Race, 400m.

Race 6: Throughbred Race, 800m.