NFSA revisits Phar Lap’s 1930 Melbourne Cup victory with new clip

National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has marked the 90th anniversary of Phar Lap’s only Melbourne Cup win with a never-before-seen multi-angle presentation.

On Tuesday 4 November 1930, Australia’s wonder horse, Phar Lap, thundered to his first – and only – Melbourne Cup victory. Having survived an attempted shooting just days earlier, the public’s interest in the champion thoroughbred was at fever pitch.
Jockey Jim Pike rode the four-year-old gelding down the home straight to a comfortable win. A contingent of camera operators filmed every gallop, eager to win their own race to get the first images on the big screen.
In honour of the 90th anniversary of the iconic race, the NFSA has compiled a brand new, multi-angle presentation of the closing stages of the 1930 Melbourne Cup.
The new presentation uses digitised footage from the three surviving films of the race: a Movietone newsreel, and two films both called The Melbourne Cup 1930. The presentation is accompanied by audio from the 1931 Phar Lap documentary The Mighty Conqueror.
The NFSA holds only a single 35mm black-and-white nitrate print of each of the three films, as no original picture or sound negatives have been found.
However, the NFSA’s acquisition in 2014 of the only known surviving nitrate print of The Mighty Conqueror gives hope that more films of Phar Lap – or of other moments in Australia’s sporting history – are awaiting rediscovery.
The new tri-screen clip of the 1930 Melbourne Cup can be viewed at:
NFSA Curatorial Officer Simon Smith is
/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length.