By Bill Poulos
The country racing industry – and the western districts’ farming community in general – lost one of its most respected members with the passing of true-blue gentleman Mr Jack Meaney. He was 93 and had been President of Collarenebri Jockey Club for more than 20 years.
Throughout his life he remained the quintessential bushman, and was much more at home mending fences with callused hands than spouting success. Jack was a cornerstone of the Collarenebri community, and his work with the local race club was indeed a consuming passion.
Jack, who raced many horses over the years including topliner The Scotsman, logged 22 years as President of Collarenebri Jockey Club and sat on the committee for 35 years.
He was afforded life membership of his beloved club in 2004 and remained as president until 2008. In 2010 Jack sold up and relocated to Gilgandra, where retirement beckoned.
“I was talked into becoming president in 1986,” he said. “Les Cross was the previous president – he was the local school teacher at the time – and I worked with him a lot before taking the job.”
Trainer Kelly Smith, who as a jockey rode Lunar Landing to win the 1972 Collarenebri Cup, said Jack was indeed a local legend. Smith says the racing game at Collarenebri would not have survived without Jack’s foresight and generosity.
“As far as a race club goes, Colly was gone,” Smith said. “Nobody will ever know what Jack put into this club; there is so much here that came out of Jack’s own pocket, and not many people know that. Many clubs will always have good presidents but it takes a long, long time to find that special one.”
Smith still laughs at Jack’s self-imposed silence on the eve of raceday: “You couldn’t talk to Jack leading up to a meeting because he was so focused on the races … everything had to be just right,” Smith said.
“And the day after a meeting, he’d be at the track at 8am for a working bee with his trucks and his men – men he paid out of his own pocket. Jack was a colossal man, you can’t say enough about him – every race club should have a Jack Meaney,” he said.
Click on the following link to read the full article - Vale Mr Jack Meaney
NOTE: Jack Meaney’s funeral will be held at 11am at the Anglican Church, Collarenebri on Thursday, 7 December 2017.