History of the Victorian Racing Writers/Media Association
The Victorian Racing Writers Association began at a meeting at the Hotel Australia in 1942 with legendary racing writer for the Melbourne Herald Bert Wolfe – later to be inducted into the Racing Hall Of Fame – being elected as the first President.
At that time racing media did not enjoy the same privileges that they enjoy to day and the VRWA had to fight hard to gain recognition from the racing clubs.
In those days media were not even allowed into the mounting yard with interviews having to be conducted over the fence.
There were no annual media passes at the time and members of the press had to apply for ticketing each week to attend the Saturday racemeetings.
Eventually through the work of the VRWA committee, progress was made through the 1970’s and in 1976 agreement was finally reached with all metropolitan racing clubs to issue an annual pass that would admit VRWA members entry to the mounting yard and members areas.
In 1979 the VRWA inaugurated a Personality Of The Year Award which was presented at an annual dinner. The POY Dinner was a huge success and there were very few spare seats in the Southern Cross Ballroom each year.
While the night was eventually overtaken by the vast number of industry awards dinners in recent times, the POY is still awarded every year.
In 1988 the name of the VRWA was changed to the Victorian Racing Media Association to reflect the changes that had taken place in the reportage of racing and consequently the members of the VRWA.
Story awards, the Bert Wolfe Award for excellence and tipping competitions have long been part of the VRMA benefits to members and through the assistance of current sponsors such as Sportsbet and the Victoria Racing Club such awards have been accompanied by significant prizemoney.
The VRMA continues to be the mouthpiece of the majority of those that work in racing journalism and through the hard work of its committee has helped ensure that the conditions that the racing media operate under in Victoria are second to none in Australia.