Sunday, November 27, 2011

Me and Phar Lap. Oral history, from mouth to page. Jan Wositzky

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Triple CD & Book

Me & Phar Lap: The remarkable life of Tommy Woodcock

Tommy Woodcock was the young man who looked after, and loved, Australia’s legendary racehorse, Phar Lap: the 1930 Melbourne Cup winner and the people’s champion of the Great Depression, who died mysteriously - cradled by Woodcock - in the US after winning the world’s richest race in Agua Caliente, Mexico.

Tommy Woodcock is also fondly remembered as the old man, who almost 50 years later trained the gallant Reckless, second in the 1977 Melbourne Cup, and who famously gave children rides on the stallion just before the race.

Now for the first time you can hear Tommy Woodcock himself, on a triple CD - The Tommy Woodcock Tapes.

These recordings were made in 1984 by storyteller/musician (and Bushwacker’s Band co-founder), Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky.

The two met when Tommy came to see one of Jan’s storytelling shows in the Yarrawonga Town Hall. After the show Jan sang Tommy a song about Phar Lap’s jockey, Jim Pike. In return, Tommy began recalling his days with Australia’s most loved racehorse.

Wositzky recalls the moment he knew he had to document Woodcock’s story: “Straight away I knew I was in the company of a superb yarn-spinner; a raconteur who could paint a picture and build a tale through dialogue, with emotion and sentiment, tracing a personal journey through one of Australia’s great legends - the story of Phar Lap. I realized I was listening to the national archives, straight from the horse’s mouth, if you’ll excuse the expression.”

So the two spent a fortnight on a farm near Yarrawonga, shortly before Tommy passed away, and recorded Tommy’s life story: his early days learning to ride up-country; his great mentors; as a jockey in 1920’s Sydney; Phar Lap; battling through the Great Depression and World War Two; his philosophy and training methods; Reckless; the tragedies and hilarities of life; the flood which ended his six decade career, and his retirement to Yarrawonga.

The result of these recordings is the triple CD and book – Me & Phar Lap: The remarkable life of Tommy Woodcock. The book also includes the most extensive analysis of Phar Lap’s death ever published.



Me & Phar Lap: The remarkable life of Tommy Woodcock

Produced, linking narration and music by Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky.

Issued by The Storyteller’s Guide

Triple CD available from:

(Or if you don’t do computers please ring 0417 332 065)


Me & Phar Lap: The remarkable life of Tommy Woodcock

Published by Slattery Media Group

Available in all good book stores.

Or mail order from:

CDs $40

Book $27.50

CDs & Book $62.50 (Save $5)

(All including postage)

MP3 Download (220 min.) $25


For interviews, review copies, photographs & excerpts of The Tommy Woodcock Tapes for airplay:

Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky

0417 332 065

More details:

Facebook: Me & Phar Lap

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