BACK in the late 1800s, the annual cost of a Ballarat Turf Club membership was the princely sum of three pounds, compared to today’s $80.
According to the 1870 Rules of the Ballarat Turf Club, there were strict guidelines on jostling, dead heats and horse nominations.
The historic rulebook was part of a collection bought by Lydiard Furniture and Antiques owner Peter Wills, who has unveiled it in the lead-up to the November 24 Ballarat Cup. Mr Wills bought it two years ago from an unnamed Ballarat man, who discovered it in a book package bought online.
“A bloke came in with some stuff for sale and there were a couple of books on Ballarat that was amongst them,” Mr Wills said.
“The other one was on the panoramas of Ballarat. He bought them together off the internet.”
The small book was printed by W.L. Mullen stationers and contains several red cross-out marks as various rules changed. Mr Wills said the book would probably attract a fair price if he ever put it up for sale.
“One day I might sell it but not now," he said.
“The right person would pay a large amount for it but who knows how many of them are out there.”