“My Mother and Father started going and they took me 75 years ago but they’d been going well before that,” he says.
“Dad passed away at 100 but he was still going up there when he was 95.
“I’m one of the older ones now but we have a good diversity including the very young – four of my grandchildren camp up there.”
Wayne camps in “Rotten Row” a paddock with about 25 campsites opposite the southeast corner of the Oakbank track. It is one of several campgrounds close to the racecourse that becomes a sea of tents and caravans around Easter.
While he usually camps for a week in the lead-up to Easter and stays on for a few days after, the Saturday and Monday race days are always a highlight.
“The racing is good and it caters for a lot of people, there’s sideshows for the kids and it’s good for families,” Wayne says.
“It is unique – we have people from Queensland coming to camp with us this year and we’ve had people from Victoria come over too and the racing club attracts people from New Zealand and interstate as well.”
The Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival has been one of South Australia’s premier social and sporting occasions for almost 150 years. While camping out has become a tradition for some, thousands more flock to Oakbank on race days in cars, buses, limousines and helicopters to be part of the action
The time-honoured Great Eastern Steeplechase will be the feature race on Easter Saturday, April 20, while Eastern Monday will also include a full-card of racing with a unique country atmosphere.
The Von Doussa Steeplechase will be held at a preview meeting at Oakbank on Sunday, April 7, giving more horses the chance to complete the prestigious Von Doussa-Great Eastern double.
A crowd of more than 20,000 is expected on Easter Saturday with attractions including rides and sideshows, a Fashion at the Races competition with cash prizes, a Stable Stars Kids Zone, a Beauty Bar marquee, Easter egg hunt and a great variety of dining options from food trucks through to the five-hour Mollydooker Long Lunch.
Racegoers are also welcome to bring their own supplies. By mid-morning the infield car park is usually awash with families setting up picnics and barbecues, which adds to the unique country atmosphere of Oakbank.
General Admission tickets for Easter Saturday are $30 for Adults, $20 Pensioners, $10 Children 13-17, Kids under 13 free. Family tickets (2Adults, 2 Children) are $60. On Easter Monday, General Admission tickets are $15 for Adults, $10 Pensioners, $5 Child 13-17 and kids under 13 free.
If you want to win the ultimate Oakbank experience, including two tickets into the Mollydooker Long Lunch and return transport, click here.