Proposal for museum forwarded
IN 2008, the Ballina Jockey Club decided to hold a race for invited lady jockeys to acknowledge the contribution to the progress of female riders made by the late Iris Nielsen and her contemporaries.
The club obtained sponsorship for the event from the Coolmore Thoroughbred Breeding Organisation and invited enough lady riders to hold two divisions of the race.
In 2010 it was the first year that two New Zealand lady riders were invited and one, Natasha Collett, won the race.
The Iris Nielsen Memorial race continues to grow in importance and status.
In 2010 the club decided that it would start a Hall of Fame for lady jockeys to be known as The Iris Nielsen Lady Jockeys Hall of Fame.
The purpose of this Hall of Fame is to pay tribute to those pioneer lady jockeys who struggled so hard for equality in the early days and in more recent times those lady jockeys who have excelled in their profession.
The club has drawn up selection criteria for induction into the Hall of Fame and new admissions are made at the Iris Nielsen Memorial race day each year.
The club also believes that the hall of fame should have a permanent home and has submitted to the Federal Government a proposal with plans to construct a Lady Jockeys Racing Museum at the Ballina racetrack.
There are only 47 Museums in the world specifically dedicated to women's causes and to our knowledge none have anything to do with women jockeys.
When it is built and fitted out, no-one could pay a visit to the museum and leave without being inspired by what can be achieved if a just cause is persevered with courage and commitment.