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A grandstand in the middle of Beech Forest

A grandstand made out of a tree stump? A racecourse in a forest? You'd have to see it to believe it!

Lucky for us, and thanks to the Ask a Librarian service, we have the photographs to prove it. A series of images sent in by Marion from Queensland prompted librarian Kylie Best to dig deep into the Library's collection for more of the story, and other examples of grand trees being used in innovative ways.

In her research she discovered the story of the Ditchley Park Racecourse, The Beech Forest Turf Club and a 20 foot high grandstand with a roof made from fern fronds built in anticipation of a visit from the Govenor. All which could be found within the Otway Ranges in the late 1800s.

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About From the Vault

From the Vault is a video series that delves into the surprising, poignant and sometimes funny stories behind the unique archival images held in the State Library Victoria collection.

Find out more and view all episodes.