Wednesday, 25 October 2006
Phar Lap - an Aussie icon
I'm in Melbourne again, at the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Congress, so here's another one from the vault.
This is from a photographic exhibition held in Hyde Park early in the year. The photos are all shown on canvases hung between the trees.
This is a photo of a legendary Australian racehorse of the 1920s-30s, called Phar Lap. Phar Lap captured the imagination of the nation during the Great depression. He won a whole lot of races - 37 out of 51 starts in 4 years - and then went to America to race, where he was poisoned and died. His body was brought back to Australia (bound in this shroud) and then the taxidermists got to work. His body has been on display in the Museum of Melbourne ever since. His heart is in an anatomy Canberra, and skeleton in the National Museum in Wellington, New Zealand (he was born in NZ).
This week toxicology tests undertaken on Phar Lap's skin showed conclusively for the first time that he was poisoned with arsenic. American gangsters trying to avoid losses from Phar Lap winning races have long been suspected.