The Melbourne Museum has been the home of Phar Lap, since his mounted hide first went on permanent display in January 1933. He immediately became one of the Museum's most popular exhibits and has continued to draw the fascination of visitors over the decades since, becoming one of the most significant historical icons in any Australian Museum.

The Museum also holds an important collection of over 350 items of racing equipment and memorabilia relating to Phar Lap, including race programmes, winner's sashes, saddles, horseshoes, horse rugs, jockey's silks, a whip and other items collected by his owners and carers during his working life. Since the late 1980s, the Museum has actively developed the collection to further document the social and historical context of Phar Lap's career and the enduring public interest in the horse since his tragic death at the height of the Great Depression. Included in the latter category is an extensive archive of documents and photographs, examples of publicity materials produced by the Museum featuring Phar Lap, and a range of commercial and homemade souvenirs and memorabilia reflecting people's ongoing fascination with his story.

Highlights of the collection include the following:

  • Phar Lap's mounted hide, taxidermy specimen prepared by Jonas Brothers, New York, in 1932
  • Catalogue of the Annual New Zealand Thoroughbred Yearling Sales, 24 Jan 1928, at which Phar Lap was sold for 160 guineas
  • Certificate of Registration of Racehorse, issued for Phar Lap, 3 December 1928
  • Tommy Woodcock's suitcase, in which the strapper stored equipment & memorabilia relating to his beloved Phar Lap for 50 years, before donating it to Museum Victoria
  • Harry Telford's tonic book, used during the 1930s when he was trainer and part-owner of Phar Lap
  • Jockey's silks & cap owned by trainer Harry Telford, used on Phar Lap in 36 races from 1929-1931
  • Tommy Woodcock's horse brush & whip, used while caring for Phar Lap
  • Presentation sashes awarded to Phar Lap for his win in the VRC Derby, 2 November 1929, and three other races
  • Training saddle worn by Phar Lap during trackwork, early 1930s
  • Framed photograph of Phar Lap winning the 1930 Melbourne Cup, from the family of Harry Telford
  • Billy Elliot's Phar Lap Saddle used by jockey William Elliot in Phar Lap's final races
  • Pair of horseshoes for the Agua Caliente Handicap, Mexico, worn by Phar Lap during his final race in March 1932
  • Horse rug worn by Phar Lap at the time of his death at Menlo Park, California, 5 April 1932
  • Dozens of sympathy letters sent to Harry Telford by adoring fans and supporters following Phar Lap's death
  • Scrapbook of newspaper and magazine clippings, compiled between 1930-1990 by Marie Davie, one of the many fans who became a lifelong devotee of Phar Lap.

Related Resources:
Phar Lap - the Story of Australia's Wonder Horse
Phar Lap Infosheet

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