ONE of the best-known Queensland bookmakers of the post-war age, Rockhampton’s Vince Murphy, called “The Prince”, was the oldest child of leviathan oddsmaker Charlie Murphy.Charlie’s Callaghan
Park stand, East St store and companies throughout Central Queensland made him among the state’s biggest bookmakers from the 1920s through to retirement in the 1950s. As a boy in the 1930s,
Vince would sometimes accompany his widower dad to and from his saloon on Saturday nights, as the race day’s affairs were settled. The saloon was the second of three family HQs on East St over a period of 70 years.Frequented by billiardists, boxers, barbers and racing smarties of every stripe, it ended up being as much a school to Vince as the main variety.After returning from overseas service in World War II, he operated at his dad’s shop prior to signing up as a bookmaker at 23, ultimately hitting the road on his own account, mastering the craft at nation meetings.He was a circuit regular at Aramac, Blackall, Banana, Longreach, Barcaldine, Charters Towers, Cairns, Townsville, Kilcoy and the Gold Coast. During carnival in Longreach, he likewise ran a book on the trap-shoots. In 1950 he made a small fortune when a family
connection in Melbourne rang with the mail that markets were all incorrect about Comic Court, which began at 25-1 in most books. Vince got 33s about the Jim Cummings-trained champ in Sydney.He bought among the very first FJ Holdens off the assembly line, had a roof-rack attached for his umbrella and drove all over the
state to field. Among Vince’s first clerks later on ended up being Australia’s most well-known punter and”the best-known professional bettor on horses worldwide “inning accordance with racing author Richard Onslow.Known as” The Butterfly “, he was the son of unregistered Kedron Park bookmaker, Tom.Never bashful,”in France they call me Papillon,”Green informed United States Sports Illustrated in a lavish feature in 1965 without any apologies to Henri Charriere.From his storied triumph backing Sea Bird in the English Derby of 1965 to the Fine Cotton ordeal, Green’s career was vibrant and controversial.To many he was an eccentric accessory to racing, to others the embodiment of whatever wrong with it, specifically in England.Vince understood Green much better than the majority of and never had a bad word to state about him.As an old guy living in England in the early 2000s, Green sent me a picture of himself and Vince with Frank Burke. Accompanying it was a hand-written passage from Sayings:”I have actually checked out the Holy Bible, cover to cover, 11 times,
“he claimed,”and pray every night, please God save me from tomorrow’s good thing.
“By the 1960s, Vince once again used his QTC licence to field, ending up being perhaps the very first Rockhampton bookmaker to fly south for the mid-weeks.
In 1961 he bought one of the city’s finest ever racehorses, Rocky Young boy, which went from 3 local wins to an imperious string of triumphes at Doomben, Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley in the mid-1960s. The plunge on Rocky Boy prior to its win in the 1963 Silk Stakes at Werribee was among the most significant in Melbourne that year, described by famous racing scribe Expense Casey as”big “.(The Age, July 25, 1963 ). STRONG RUNNING: Rocky Boy wins the Dover Handicap at Flemington in 1964. Contributed Throughout the 1960s’and ’70s, Vince and bro Tom continued to be one of the leading bookmaking firms in Central Queensland, fielding on all races on the eastern seaboard.Getting and offering markets Saturday early morning belonged to the ritual.When Herbie Wilson, the reputable Gladstone bookmaker and an old Murphy connection, sounded he would periodically hand the phoneover to his racing-mad teenage kid, Herbie Jr, to make a note of the prices.This was just one of theearly ventures
into racing by” Wayne” Wilson, as he later on styled himself for radio.Bookmaking stayed unchanged in many of the basics.I keep in mind going to the old store in East Street in the 1970s and ’80s.
There was the grilled window for settling, the card table, Charlie’s massive
safe (bought from the Bank of New South Wales in Kingaroy ), the sound of Jack Flanagan’s scissors and small talk and hearing the clip-clop of Jack Summers ‘polio-afflicted carriage.And yet times were altering inexorably.For beginners, barber
Flanagan -who hoisted the striped pole after hanging up the machete of a northern walking cane cutter -started removing the sheet
from fussy boys and directing them to the ladies’
beauty parlor(or”the Greek”)down the street.Tom Murphy’s southern stand did the largest on-course turnover any Rockhampton bookmaker had overseen till that time-though business carried out by his father and Bill Kerrisk on function race days in the 1920s would be fascinating to quantify, ceteris paribus.Tom retired from the ring in 1981, having actually begun his profession as a store clerk in 1945.
Vince fielded for numerous more years, retiring well into his fifth years as an expert bookmaker.The last of the East St sports, he closed the old store in the city.He was granted life membership of Rockhampton Jockey Club and was happy of the laurel.A president of
the old Tattersall’s Club, and for lots of years client of the Tattersall’s Racing Club, he was also a founder and life member of the Brothers Rugby League Football Club.Hoofnote: The full version of this story can be read in the RJC’s 150 Years of Racing commemorative book which will be readily available
from the office at Callaghan Park at the start of the Winter season Carnival in June for an expense of$15 each.