In Australia, a horse’s birthday is the first day of August. Mating usually happens early in the previous spring, with foaling eleven or twelve months later. Having a common birthday means that horses of a similar age can be entered together in racing events.
Francis Beggs (1850 – 1921), called Frank, the husband of my 3rd great aunt Rose Beggs nee Champion de Crespigny (1858 – 1937), owned a Thoroughbred called Saint Marnocks, probably named after a village near Dublin with a connection with the Beggs family.
The Australasian of 19 September 1891 reported that:
Mr. Francis Beggs, Eurambeen, Beaufort, requests permission to supplement our correspondent’s report of the Ararat show by stating that his colt Saint Marnocks, by Macgregor-Nightlight, took first prize at Ararat in the class for two and three year old thoroughbreds, and also Messrs. Briscoe’s special prize for the best thoroughbred stallion in the yard. In the light-weight hack class his horse Malahide, by Macgregor, took first prize.
In March 1892 St Marnocks was reported as being 3 years old when he came third in the one mile Trial Stakes at the Buangor Races on 15 March. His sibling Elphinstone, also by Macgregor-Nightlight, came first. Later in the day St Marnocks came third again in the one mile Welter Handicap. The newspapers over the next two decades have many report of St Marnocks.
In the annual races of the Beaufort Jockey Club on New Year’s Day 1894 St Marnocks won the Handicap race by a neck. In 1899 he won the three quarters of a mile Flying Handicap at the Beaufort races. The Ballarat Star reported that the win was “A gift to St Marnocks, who won in the last few strides by two lengths in 1 min. 35 sec.”
At the March 1899 Beaufort Show St Marnocks won first prize for best blood entire horse and also the Champion prize for best blood horse or mare, any age, in the yard.
In the next decade Aloha, the son of St Marnocks, began to feature in the turf reports. St Marnocks again won first prize for blood entire and also Champion at the 1902 Beaufort show. St Marnocks sired many progeny, for example in 1908 10 horses all sired by St Marnocks were offered for sale by Mr Francis Beggs of Eurambeen.
On 13 August 1908 Melbourne Punch reported “Mr. and Mrs. Frank Beggs, who for many years have lived at Eurambeen East, are now settled in their new home at St. Marnocks, Mr. Beggs having purchased part of the Stoneleigh Estate in the Beaufort District.” The new property was named after their successful horse.
Punch reported in January 1909 “Mrs. C. De Crespigny, of Brunswick-street, Fitzroy, and her little son, are visiting their relative, Mrs. Frank Beggs, of St. Marnock’s, Beaufort.” The ‘little son’ was my grandfather Geoff (1907 – 1966); his mother was Beatrix de Crespigny nee Hughes (1884 – 1943).
In 1927 an article in the Australasian reported that Francis Beggs was responsible for building the homestead and outbuildings. He also established plantations to provide shelter for the paddocks and a created a garden surrounded by acacias. After the death of Frank Beggs in 1921 the property was taken over by his nephew Theodore George Beggs (1903 – 1936).
In 1930 the homestead was photographed as part of a series of pastoral homes and again in 1987, by that time somewhat run down.
- Carrot cake and party hats as horses celebrate birthday. (2016, August 1). Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-01/southern-hemisphere-horses-celebrate-birthday/7677546
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