Sign Up

Our Privacy Policy identifies how we handle personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act. Read it prior to submitting your information.

By clicking “Register” you agree to our Terms Of Use and Privacy Policy.

Albert Park’s first incarnation

When the Formula 1 circus came to a modified Albert Park in 1996, it wasn’t the first time an Australian Grand Prix had been held in the park on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Prior to World War 2 there was attempts twice to hold motor racing at Albert Park, the first in 1934 failed to take place due to local opposition and a motorcycle race was organised in 1937 and this was again cancelled due to residents.

It wasn’t until 1953 when finally the Light Car Club of Australia managed to secure the use of Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix. The circuit was much different to how it runs today due to it being contested in an anti-clockwise direction opposed to clockwise in current day and was 5.029km compared to the 5.278km in its present configuration.

Legend Doug Whiteford was victorious in the 1953 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, which featured the likes of Lou Molina, Frank Kleinig, Reg Hunt, Bib Stillwell, Bill Patterson, Stan Jones, Lex Davison and Jack Brabham was a non-starter.

Melbourne’s traditional Moomba Festival welcomed the addition of two motor races at Albert Park in conjunction with the Argus Newspaper during the 1955 event.

The Moomba TT was a race for Sports Cars Open and Closed, which was won by Whiteford in a Triumph TR2 as the likes of future Bathurst winner Brian Sampson and ‘The Fox’ Harry Firth competed although the latter retired.

A second race for named the Argus Trophy contested by for Formula Libre Racing Cars was again won by Whiteford from Jones.

Australia’s first Formula 1 ace Tony Gaze won the Moomba TT the next year, while Reg Hunt the Argus Trophy in a spectacular Maserati 250F.

Later in 1956, it was a double weekend of competition at Albert Park starting with the Australian Tourist Trophy on November 25 where Stirling Moss was victorious in a Maserati 300S leading teammate Jean Behra across the line.

Moss backed it up a week later to win the Australian Grand Prix in a Maserati 250F as it was the longest edition of the event at 80 laps or more than 402km.

There was a distinct European flavour thanks to the factory Maserati concern of Moss and Behra, while Ken Wharton, Peter Whitehead and Reg Parnell ensured this race was the most important in Australian motorsport history to this point.

Lead Australian was Hunt in fourth in a privately entered 250F.

The third and last Moomba meeting again had Whiteford win the now renamed Victorian Tourist Trophy in 1957, while Lex Davison in a Ferrari 500 secured the Victorian Trophy, also the second round of the 1957 Australian Drivers’ Championship.

The final event using this configuration was in November 1958 as Moss returned to win the Melbourne Grand Prix this time for Cooper and Whiteford continued his immense success by taking the flag in the Victorian Tourist Trophy.

The circuit closed shortly after as facilities for other sports such as basketball, golf, soccer and AFL were incorporated into a park around the lake. Some of these were demolished to make way for the new circuit in the early-1990s.