Australian Grand Prix – Port Elliot to Victor Harbor

The current Australian Grand Prix is held in Melbourne Victoria, and it has been held there since 1996.

Before that time, Adelaide in South Australia hosted it from 1985-1995, but the history of the race in South Australia goes back even further than that, and a recent mural on the side of a privately owned shed on the Port Elliot to Victor Harbor Road hints at just that.

On the 26th of December 1936 the race was held on a 12.55 kilometre public road circuit between Victor Harbor and Port Elliot. This Australian Grand Prix was the first road race for cars in South Australia and was organized by the Sporting Car Club of SA.

Twenty seven competitors entered, including at least one woman and an estimated crowd of 70,000 spectators watched the 32 lap race. Only twelve of the entrants completed the race which was on partly bitumen but mostly dirt roads. The winner of the race was Victorian driver, Les Murphy in a MG P-type sports car, and his prize was a gold cup and 200 pounds.

The mural of the winning car and driver, is another one in a portfolio of local murals by Chad Spencer, known as @epik_artist and is located on a shed wall on the property of Rod Lovell, a local author who wanted to raise awareness of this historic event. It can be easily spotted as you drive along the Port Elliot to Victor road in the Chiton Rocks area.

The map below shows the circuit of the 1936 race and the road where this mural can be found, which is named on the map as Chiton Straight.

In an incredible coincidence, the mural had apparently just been completed in early January this year, when a passing motorist stopped and knocked on the owner’s door. That person just happened to be the great grandson of the man depicted in the mural, Les Murphy, and he proceeded to call his grandfather in Victoria who still holds much of his father’s memorabilia from that race.

Keep an eye out for the mural at Chiton Rocks next time you’re travelling along this road on the Fleurieu Peninsula, around 80 kilometres south of Adelaide.

Cheers

Glenys

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