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Title Image: The Legend
A lifelong fan: Marie Davie

 Phar Lap Scrapbook

'Saw "Bobbie" first time Saturday Oct. 25th at Moonee Valley when he won as he liked the W.S. Cox Plate...'

During 1930 and 1931, Australia was in the deepest part of the economic depression. Although Australians were suffering a loss of confidence and security, they also saw themselves as 'battlers' who would eventually overcome. Phar Lap showed this battling spirit and somehow epitomised all that was good about Australia.

It was in 1931 that Marie Davie had her first sighting of Phar Lap, recording the occasion in her scrapbook. Captivated by the unlikely champion, she was to remain a devoted fan for the next seven decades.

Newscuttings and pictures of Phar Lap were lovingly added to her scrapbook over the years. Friends would sometimes give her clippings they came across in the press. Mrs Davie also wrote several poems about Phar Lap, typed on an old manual typewriter and pasted into the scrapbook.

In 2000, Mrs Davie was about to turn 99 years old and rang Museum Victoria to offer her scrapbook as a donation after her death. A museum curator went to view the material and to discuss her interest in Phar Lap; it was clear that the champion horse had been a sustaining force in her life.

Mrs Davie was able to recall the day she heard the news that Phar Lap had died. She was so shocked that she only just managed to haul herself onto one of Melbourne's trams and head home. On arrival she collapsed onto the couch, temporarily paralysed with grief.

A week after their meeting, the museum curator took a phone call from Mrs Davie to say she now wanted to donate the scrapbook immediately. The curator was delighted. Calling her several times over successive days with arrangements to pick up the material, the curator got no answer. Eventually, contact was made with Mrs Davie's solicitor. She had passed away.


© Museum Victoria Australia