RACING FAMILY: Cedric Duff shares his family's rich history with the Wondai race club, captured in this image of the 1927 racing committee.
RACING FAMILY: Cedric Duff shares his family's rich history with the Wondai race club, captured in this image of the 1927 racing committee. Jessica McGrath

FAMILY AFFAIR: Photos reveal early years of Wondai race club

A PASSION for horse racing runs in the blood of former South Burnett Race Club assistant judge Cedric Duff.

One of the earliest moments captured of the race club in Wondai reveals Mr Duff's family connection to the sport in the region.

"Our family has had a very long association with the Wondai races,” Mr Duff said.

The 1927 photo shows the Wondai Jockey Club committee posing in front of the racetrack grandstand.

"That's the original grandstand, it's still there,” Mr Duff said.

Amongst the men dressed in their suits are three of Mr Duff's uncles: Jimmy, Joe and Paddy Ryan, as well as his great uncle Jim Ryan.

This photo from 1927 shows the Wondai Jockey Club committee, featuring many members of Cedric Duff's family.
This photo from 1927 shows the Wondai Jockey Club committee, featuring many members of Cedric Duff's family. Contributed

"The old Jim Ryan, he used to train horses in Wondai way back then,” Mr Duff said.

Mr Duff's father Lou Duff was the club secretary that year.

Riding legend Joe Ryan was a jockey who often competed at the racetrack.

Also amongst the 1927 committee members is Wondai saddler Andy Strenzell who was also heavily involved in the race club.

Another photo captures the moment Lou Duff celebrated with his horse Lee Guard after winning the Wondai Handicap in 1927.

Racing is a passion which has been passed down through the generations of the Duff family.

Lewis Duff with his horse Lee Guard after winning the Wondai Handicap in 1927.
Lewis Duff with his horse Lee Guard after winning the Wondai Handicap in 1927. Contributed

Mr Duff himself was an assistant judge at the race club and his sister Steph was an assistant secretary in the early 60s.

The legacy of the Duff and Ryan families does not stop at the Wondai racecourse gates.

Mr Duff's grandfather Martin Ryan moved to Wondai in 1915 and set up his butcher's shop.

The iconic shop was one of the earliest businesses to be established in Wondai and has been owned by many generations of Ryans.

"When he retired, mum's brothers Mick and Joe took it over,” Mr Duff said.

Ryan's Butchery is currently owned by Jim Ryan, the great-grandson of Martin.

The Wondai business has been in the family for 104 years.

Read more history stories from the South Burnett here.

Do you have any historic South Burnett photos to share that tell a story?

Email these through to jessica.mcgrath@southburnetttimes.com.au, as we'd love to continue uncovering our region's rich history.

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