Croxton Park Case

A race meeting on December 28, 1872 at the Croxton Park Racing Club was the source of a controversy that was known at the time as “The Croxton Park Case”. A prominent bookie, J.B. Wallis, was accused by the Croxton Park stewards of attempting to bribe the jockey of ‘Whitefoot’ for the final heat of a trotting race. Another bookmaker, James J. Miller and the sporting editor of the Argus, William Hammersley, reported the alleged incident the stewards. They had obtained a statement from one Leonard Grimwood, and his father Thomas. 

Thomas Grimwood, was a well known publican from Collingwood and a regular at Croxton Park shooting matches. He was the first licensee at the Yorkshire Stingo Hotel in 1858, and was later councillor and mayor for the city of Collingwood. Grimwood claimed Wallis had approached his son, the jockey of ‘Whitefoot’, while he was saddling up the horse. Under the guise of helping the younger Grimwood put lead in the saddlebags to bring the horse to weight, it was alleged that Wallis offered the boy £50 to throw the race.

Wallis vehemently denied the charges, implying a conspiracy set up by Miller, a rival bookmaker. Wallis claimed Miller and Hammersley got Grimwood drunk and convinced to him to concoct the charge, possibly with the added incentive of £500 to help set him up as a bookmaker. In the end, Wallis would not repeat his allegations under oath and the testimony of other witnesses corroborated Grimwood’s story. Wallis was banned for life from Croxton Park. Subsequent hearings by VRC stewards and by the committee of the Victorian Tattersalls Club also upheld the charges and banned Wallis for two years.

Cummins, Karen., Taylor, Janet., & Friday, Christine (1989). Hotels of Collingwood.  Melbourne : Collingwood Historical Society.

Membrey, Brian (2003)? The pubs, the parks and the Rose. Unpublished manuscript.