William Southerwood was the greatest horse owner and trainer we ever saw.
Hewas a phenomenon and although long forgotten, there was never a more popular figure on the Tasmanian turf.
His best season was in 1923-24 when he turned out 25 winners and 29 placegetters.
Over his last 35 years he won 429 races in Tasmania, and many more in Victoria.
He was born in Launceston in 1861, the son of a convict, and began as a stable keeper in rented premises in York Street.
In 1891 he had a mail transport contract and coaches going all over the West Tamar.
He bought the York St stables in 1893, and by 1900 had a coach service that served Newstead, East Tamar and West Tamar.
He had five Royal Mail contracts and his stables housed 120 horses and 90 conveyances.
His was one of the largest transport companies in Australia.
In 1904 he sold much of his horse and vehicle stock, and a farm at Bangor, in preparation for the introduction of motor buses to his fleet, and built substantial new premises on his land at the corner of York and Wellington streets.
The York St side of the building, called Montrose Terrace, still exists today, having later hosted the first Roelf Vos supermarket.
In 1903 he bought the River View Hotel, then the Exeter Hotel in 1904, adding a second floor in 1912.
He also bought the Newstead Hotel.
Though never living there, he had a long association with Exeter.
He was a big donor to the Exeter Show and President of the Exeter Cricket Club and the West Tamar Football Association.
Despite being hit hard by the Depression, and unable to sell anything, he refused to evict impoverished tenants.
And he supported the racing industry when it needed him most, sending horses to support meets all over the state and often entering them in two events to boost numbers.
At the 1936 Launceston Cup, his horses won a remarkable four of the six races.
He loved animals and had a impressive record of saving injured horses.
Mr Southerwood died at his home Lawrenny in Vermont Rd, Mowbray in 1937.
He'd been one of the wealthiest men in Tasmania, but most of it was gone.
At his Carr Villa funeral, wreaths were laid by every racing club in the state.
The Tasmanian Turf Club named a steeplechase race after him, but it only ran for three years, and Mr Southerwood's name disappeared from memory.
He deserved better.