Dark cloud hovers over Slacky Flat



The old Slacky Flat Park sign at the corner of Grevillea Park Road and the Princes Highway has now gone.

THE future of Bulli’s iconic Slacky Flat Sporting Complex, and its last major sporting tenant is under a cloud, as the NSW Government’s countdown to a total ban on greyhound racing thoughout the state begins.

Dog racing will cease from July 1 next year after a Government commission of inquiry found evidence of “widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals”.

The Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) remain Slacky Flat’s last major tenant after the departure of harness racing from the Bulli Showgrounds.

Bulli Harness Racing Club officially run its last race, ending more than 60 years of history at the charismatic Slacky Flat circuit, in November 2012. The club now exclusively races at Menangle, the headquarters of the NSW Harness Racing Club.

Slacky’s last remaining sporting tenant, the GBOTA, according to Showground owner, Wollongong City Council, has a month by month holdover licence.

“Council leases part of the Bulli Showground, which is community land, to the state-wide organisation Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association,”a spokesperson said.

“GBOTA has not indicated to Council that it wishes to surrender its lease at this time. Council will honour its legal responsibilities under the lease.”

The spokesperson said as community land, the showground is governed by a plan of management (PoM) and if the GBOTA surrender its lease, Council will consider future uses for the site at that time in accordance with the PoM.

As “community land”, Slacky Flat’s uses are restricted to sporting and recreation.


Google View of Slacky Flat Park, Bulli

The GBOTA holds a licence over the showground area, including the greyhound tracks and interior field, the showground, the spectators area and grandstand, the dog kennels, horse stalls and a portion of car parking area behind the stalls. The Association also sub-licences its area to other organisations, like the Forragers Markets, who might use the showground.

The Showground also boasts a function centre, bar and offices.

Council said it does not believe NSW GBOTA has a sub-licence with the Bulli Harness Racing Club at the Bulli Showground.

For more on the history of the ‘Bulli Dogs’ visit the Looking Back website.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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