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Awarded for service to Sport and Recreation
Entered on roll: 2006
Born in Norfolk, England, Bev Buckingham migrated to Australia with her parents when she was two years old. She grew up in north-west Tasmania, where her father trained racehorses. Bev pursued her love of thoroughbred horses throughout her childhood through pony club, riding lessons, track work and by helping her father in his stables.
Bev left school in 1979 to become an apprentice jockey in her father’s stable at Wesley Vale. She had her first race ride in October 1980, just a fortnight after Alison Anderson had made history as the first woman to race against men in Tasmania. Until 1979, the Australian racing clubs had not allowed women to become fully fledged jockeys.
On her fourth ride, at Elwick Racecourse, Bev rode Limit Man to an easy win, becoming the first woman to ride a winner against all comers in Tasmania. At the completion of her first season’s racing, Bev had ridden 22 winners and was ranked ninth on the overall jockey’s table. In 1982, she won the Tasmanian Jockeys’ Premiership, making her the first woman in the world to win a State Jockeys’ Premiership. She achieved this at the age of 17, in only her second season of racing, with 63 winners.
Bev had many highlights throughout her racing career, riding a total of 906 winners in 18 years. Throughout the 1980s and 90s she won, amongst others, the Devonport Cup, the Launceston Cup and the Queen’s Cup. She won the Hobart Cup three times - in 1986, 1996 and 1998. In 1984, Bev also became the first woman to ride in the Caulfield Cup.
Bev’s riding career ended after a tragic fall on 30 May 1998, in which she fractured two vertebrae in her neck. Despite being told by doctors that she would never walk again, Bev has proven herself to be a winner against all odds by regaining the use of her legs. She gave birth to her daughter in 2000 and is once again enjoying recreational riding.
In 2005, Bev was inducted into the inaugural Tasmanian Racing Hall of Fame. She has also fulfilled a long-held ambition of joining her father as a racehorse trainer.
Photograph courtesy of The Mercury.