From The Callers Box

It’s finally happened.

After much time, money and deliberation, the new broadcast tower is now fully functional.

This may sound silly but I finally feel like a caller again (some may totally disagree).

And just in time for a busy year ahead with the Constellations and ID23 just around the corner.

But first, let’s just step back in time.

The original broadcast box, situated in the Russ Hinze Grandstand, was world class and designed by champion caller, the late Wayne Wilson.

Allow me to be a little self indulgent, the original broadcast box was a thing of beauty, perched high in the sky and sitting above the famous Silks Restaurant, race callers never had it better and could go about their business with flair and pinpoint accuaracy without fear or favour.

Unfortunately, as history shows, the building was condemned in June, 2008, and the temporary broadcast box/judges tower was erected by use of building demountables amongst large amounts of metal scaffolding.

For those wondering, scaffolding, also called scaffold or staging, is a temporary structure used to support a work crew and materials to aid in the construction, maintenance and repair of buildings, bridges and all other man-made structures.

The “temporary” facilty lasted almost 15 years!!!

Upon further analysis, my entire time as the chief harness broadcaster until this last month, has been carried out in that facility with my hard hat in hand.

I took over from David Fowler, the longest serving (18 years) Albion Park harness caller, back in August, 2010 and have gone about my job from the temporary structure ever since.

Like many, I have great memories of the original box while working as the understudy to David.

While not disappointed to see the temporary facility permanently removed, I have reflected on some of the ‘great’ horses I’ve called and feel privleged to be in that position albeit from the makeshift set-up.

If only those walls could talk.

When construction commenced on the new tower, I was naturally thrilled and since moving in last month, I haven’t been disappointed.

It’s aesthetically pleasing.

Above all, the elevation has been the greatest advantage since moving ‘homes’ which allows you to see everything and call from above rather than side on.

The temporary facility offred zero elevation and was situated very close to the track, meaning they were coming at you head on up the home straight.

Being higher and further back from the track allows you to have a greater appreciation of speed, and that’s vital.

The obvious question that I’ve answered in recent times – Why now?

Well, why not now.

I enjoy what I do and I look forward to the next couple of years calling from the new structure at Albion Park (if wanted/needed) before moving down to Norwell.

As they say, nobody knows what the future holds but I do know this, it’s a lot better now in the new tower compared to what we had previously.

Until next time.