Horse racing and the Melbourne Cup

A guide to research and history of the Melbourne Cup and horseracing


This page gives tips about resources and research. There is a list of key books that cover the history of the Cup and advice for researching newspapers.

Try a general search on our catalogue just by entering 'Melbourne cup'. From the results list you can use the options on the left side of the page to narrow your search. 


Newspapers are a wonderful source for contemporary eyewitness accounts of Melbourne Cups.

Through the Australian Newspapers Project, the Melbourne Argus has been digitised and is now available online. The Argus contains reports of the race, a list of place-getters and the full field on the day following the Cup.  For example, here is a report of the 1864 cup.

Indexes to newspapers are sporadic. The Library's Family History and Newspaper Room holds card indexes to the Sun (1929-1970), the Herald (1926-1970) and The Age (1962-1973). 

For detailed tips on searching newspapers try these research guides:

There are also Biography and Local History indexes on microfiche. Ask staff at the information desk to access these.  More recent additions to these indexes are available online through the Australiana Index.  These are general indexes but may contain obscure and relevant references to issues or events relating to the Melbourne Cup.



There is a lot of information online about the Cup. Below are listed some useful sites. Also try general Internet searches including a range of keywords.

In fiction


The Library holds a variety of horse racing–related fiction, including Nat Gould's prolific popular fiction of the 1900s and Arthur Upfield's Depression-era novel The great Melbourne Cup mystery.

The action of In the frame, by British racing author Dick Francis, takes place around the Melbourne Cup.

American author Mark Twain was much impressed with the national fervour around the Cup.