The Penrith Speedway had a chequered career, starting with great enthusiasm in 1920, when the Western Suburbs Motor Cycle Club approached their local member of parliament, Mr. Sydney Smith, for the loan of some of his paddocks to hold a race meeting. The first big carnival attracted over 6000 people and the meetings continued to be very popular for several years. Then, in April 1925, Penrith Speedway Ltd. was formed.
Sprinklers were obtained in 1925 to help control the dust nuisance, and in 1926 the track was closed for a while to enable it to be re-conditioned. Racing was conducted by both cars and motor cycles, but it was not long before rumours were appearing in the local press that the Speedway was about to be wound up. This eventually happened in October 1930, because of flooding of the track from the town’s water supply.
Sydney Smith took the local council to court, but proceedings dragged on, and Smith died before the judgement in 1935. As a result of the court case however, the council moved the drains in early 1936 and the track was repaired. The Speedway was then re-opened by Frank Arthur of Empire Speedways, in June 1936, and was in regular use until 1941, when the army took over the land during the war.
The Speedway was D shaped, about a mile in length and had a very wide track, which enabled drivers to overtake safely. There was only one major accident, which saw the death of three onlookers in June 1938. A woman and her two grandchildren were killed outright and ten others were injured, after a driver skidded and lost control of his car. The company was completely exonerated at the inquest that followed the accident, as the spectators had not been behind the safety fence, despite signs advising spectators to do so.
Even before the building of the Penrith Speedway however, Victor Sutherland of Frogmore began the construction of a speedway for cars and motor cycles on the eastern part of his property at what is now known as Werrington Park. He called the track Brooklands after the famous English racing track. This track was already in operation in June 1923, although it had not been completed.
Unfortunately, Sutherland’s wife Caroline died in 1924, and he seems to have lost heart after this. Victor’s brother-in-law, George Ellison took up residence and the local Moran family grazed cattle on the speedway paddock, with Clifford Moran often using the speedway oval as an airstrip.
Today motor racing continues at the Nepean Raceway in Castlereagh.
Jack, R. Ian & Liston, Carol, From Frogmore Farm to Werrington Park.
Nepean Times, 28/3/25, p.1.
Nepean Times, 18/4/25, p.3.
Nepean Times, 25/4/25, p.7.
Lake, Barry, Half a Century of Speed: Great Australian Motor Sport Photographs from 1905 to the 1950s, 1998.
Smith, Sydney, M.P. Private Papers.