Josiah Goyder bought the Pilgrim Inn in High Street, Northcote in 1865 and renamed it the Red House, having had the building repainted (The Red House would later be known as the Croxton Park). He immediately set about establishing the Hotel as a major sporting venue in Melbourne. It became the site for “pedestrian matches” - or foot racing - as well as hunts and then later horse racing.
The first race meeting took place on October 28 1865 and included a handicap steeplechase, handicap hurdle, a one-mile trotting race and a Hack Race. Initially the track was 1200 metres long, although many of the events were cross-country through paddocks that were part of a neighbouring farm, which belonged to Job Smith. Goyder’s association with William Pender had paved the way for the approach to Smith. Goyder had a small grandstand built and the initial response of the sporting public was quite positive.
It is likely that Goyder was the brother of F.C Goyder, a prominent identity in horse racing circles at the time. F.C. Goyder owned a number of racehorses, which often competed in the major races of the day. He was also involved in various betting scandals, including at one stage being blackballed by the Sydney Tattersalls Club, although he was later exonerated. F.C. Goyder owned the Hunt Club Hotel in Bourke Street, Melbourne, and it was here that Joseph Goyder used to garner interest from Melbourne-based sportsman for the events taking place at the Red House. Despite his entrepreneurial enthusiasm, Goyder was forced to sell the Red House in 1869 under pressure from the bank where he held his mortgage.
Edge, Gary (2004). Surviving the six o’clock swill: a history of Darebin’s hotels. Melbourne: Darebin Libraries.
Lemon, Andrew (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen.
Membrey, Brian (2003)? The pubs, the parks and the Rose. Unpublished manuscript.
Swift, William George (1928). The history of Northcote: From its first settlement to a city. Northcote, Vic: Leader Publishing.