Railton’s Great Elephant Race

It was always an exciting time when the circus came to our town. On this day everyone was excited because the elephants were going to have a race in the Main Street. I stood there in the street watching and waiting: Mr Len Field and Mr Fred Sipman were going to ride the elephants. I can remember the elephants with trainers running up the street with their riders tucked tightly behind the elephants ears. Mr Field was the winner” Wayne Muir

“Railton’s Great Elephant Race” Artist: Margaret Odgers

The mural is based on one boy’s marvelous view of The Elephant Race, which took place in the late 1950’s when the circus used to visit town, arriving on the Railway. Two prominent Railton businessmen of the time – Len Field (General Store) and Fred Sipman (Butcher) arranged to race two elephants down the main street of Railton. This is a wonderful and unique story in Railton’s history, and one that has been verified by various sources.
Wayne Muir who works at Cement Australia’s Railton Plant is the original source of the story, who as a young boy, watched the race. It is his memory of the race – as seen through the eyes of this young boy that the mural is based upon.
Len Field, who now resides down the South of the State, has also confirmed the story, and his nephew Ted Field assisted in researching the race and recalls standing at “Fields corner” watching the race.

This mural “Railton’s Great Elephant Race” came into being when Wayne Muir retold the story of the elephant race to Erin Hurley, who then approached the Railton Ratepayers and Residents Association to see if they were interested in preserving this unique story by way of a mural.
To add a little fun the Artists have hidden some local icons in the mural – can you find them? Platypus, Outline of Mount Roland, White Cradle Mountain, Tasmanian Tiger, Map of Tasmania. Also, for the littlies, can you find 3 giraffes, 2 dogs, 4 clown faces, 3 stars, 1 teddy bear and The Man eating the Icecream. How many balloons are there?

Railton Ratepayers & Residents Association, November 2004
“Railton’s Great Elephant Race” Mural Officially Opened 26th November 2004 by Mr Len Field, Margaret Odgers, Mr Lars Weustenfeld – President, Ratepayers & Residents Association.

Len Field (who rode the elephant), Margaret Odgers (mural design & artist),
Wayne Muir who told the story initially and it came into being.

RAILTON RATEPAYERS AND RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION Thank the following companies and individuals for their donation towards the mural, “Railton’s Great Elephant Race”
S.M.A.R.T.A. Inc (Sheffield Mural And Regional Tourist Association Inc.) – Russell-Smith Electrical & Communications – Treloar Transport – Kentish Lions Club – Mobile Onsite Engineering – Dowling’s Onsite Engineering Pty Ltd – Cement Australia Railton Plant – GlaxoSmithKline – The Town of Topiary Tea Rooms – Railton General & Hardware, – AL & SM Richardson – P & D Bellchambers – Looking Glass Cottage – Dulux Australia – SUP-PLY – Railton Neighbourhood Watch – Blenkhorn & Jordan Pty Ltd Sawmillers – Beaumonts Butchery, Railton – Mr Fred Bos, Railton – Laurence & Norma Dunn, Railton – Ted & Kathryn Lambert, Railton
For their invaluable information and assistance Mr Wayne Muir, Mr Len Field, Mr Ted Field, Mr Wayne Edwards – Lecturer In Painting – Tafe Tasmania, Devonport Campus, Department of Art, Craft and Design, Mural Designer & Painter – Margaret Odgers Produced with the assistance of the following artists: Elizabeth Wildner, Garland Anderson, MaryLou Wright, Paul Kirkwood, Todd Johnstone, Vickie Good, Wayne Edwards, Weixing Huang