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Thomas Corrigan
1851(?) - 13 August 1894

Tom Corrigan was the greatest Australian jockey of his day. His record speaks for itself. From 788 starts, Corrigan achieved

Even in the late nineteenth century, Melbourne was sports mad and the Irish-born Corrigan with his distinctive moustache and aggressive riding style was a popular hero. Other jockeys did not get to see the moustache much during a race - just the back of his green and white jacket

In the depression of the 1890s, betting on the horses provided a faint glimmer of hope to those doing it tough that one day they might just 'win up big' on the horses. In this atmosphere Tom Corrigan was to become a hero of the masses in the same way that Pharlap would in later tough times.

Corrigan fell to his death while riding 'Waiter' in the Grand National Steeplechase at Caulfield. His funeral was a large public occasion and the newspapers of the day tell us that the procession was two miles long and was led by 100 jockeys and trainers. Maybe not all those jockeys were sad to see him go.

Tom Corrigan memorabilia including his riding whip can be viewed in the Australian Racing Museum in Melbourne.


Tommy Corrigan
(Andrew Barton �Banjo� Paterson)
YOU talk of riders on the flat, of nerve and pluck and pace�
Not one in fifty has the nerve to ride a steeplechase.
It�s right enough, while horses pull and take their fences strong,
To rush a flier to the front and bring the field along;
But what about the last half-mile, with horses blown and beat�
When every jump means all you know to keep him on his feet.
When any slip means sudden death�with wife and child to keep�
It needs some nerve to draw the whip and flog him at the leap�
But Corrigan would ride them out, by danger undismayed,
He never flinched at fence or wall, he never was afraid;
With easy seat and nerve of steel, light hand and smiling face,
He held the rushing horses back, and made the sluggards race.
He gave the shirkers extra heart, he steadied down the rash,
He rode great clumsy boring brutes, and chanced a fatal smash;
He got the rushing Wymlet home that never jumped at all�
But clambered over every fence and clouted every wall.
You should have heard the cheers, my boys, that shook the members� stand
Whenever Tommy Corrigan weighed out to ride Lone Hand.
They were, indeed, a glorious pair�the great upstanding horse,
The gamest jockey on his back that ever faced a course.
Though weight was big and pace was hot and fences stiff and tall,
�You follow Tommy Corrigan� was passed to one and all.
And every man on Ballarat raised all he could command
To put on Tommy Corrigan when riding old Lone Hand.
But now we�ll keep his memory green while horsemen come and go;
We may not see his like again where silks and satins glow.
We�ll drink to him in silence, boys�he�s followed down the track
Where many a good man went before, but never one came back.
And, let us hope, in that far land where the shades of brave men reign,
The gallant Tommy Corrigan will ride Lone Hand again.

References and resources