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How To Get Your Free Ticket
There are two options:
- PRINT-AT-HOME TICKET: Click here to access your print-at-home free General Admission tickets. There is a limit of 10 General Admission free tickets per person with a valid email address.
- ON THE DAY: Pick up your free General Admission ticket at any of the Foxtix ticket offices at the Albert Park circuit on the day. Click here to find the ticket office most convenient for you.
To avoid long queues it is recommended that you print your tickets at home and bring them with you.
The Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix celebrates a special milestone this year; 60 years ago, on the 21 November 1953, the first Australian Grand Prix was held at Albert Park. It may have been the 18th Australian Grand Prix, but it was the first to be held on a road circuit so close to the heart of a major city.
In recognition of the heritage of motorsport at Albert Park a number of exciting activities are planned in the lead up to and during the event, all geared to demonstrate that Albert Park was – and still is – a great place for a race.
PUBLIC PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION
From Friday 1 – Sunday 24 March 2013, a public exhibition celebrating the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park will be held at the Crown Entertainment Complex. The display will be located in the Level 1 retail precinct leading to Crown Metropol and the air bridge leading to Village cinemas. The exhibition will showcase outstanding images from a variety of photographic archives, including the personal collections of various people associated with the event in the 50s.
Over the coming weeks you will be able to watch interviews with three fascinating individuals who were involved in the 1953 race. Each has a different perspective and recalls personal stories and experiences from a driver’s, a marshal’s and a spectator’s point of view. Check back soon for the first instalment.
Thursday 14 March has been renamed Heritage Day in recognition of Albert Park’s role in Grand Prix history and General Admission patrons can enter the event for FREE that day.
A special heritage themed exhibition will be located in the Shannons Historics precinct and will feature 10 of the original 40 cars that lined up on the starting grid in the 1953 race as well as a wide range of related memorabilia including, most remarkably, the original engine block of Stan Jones’ Maybach which led the race for much of the way. The whole Historics precinct will be 50s themed to commemorate the early days of racing at Albert Park. A free souvenir booklet will be available (while stocks last) for patrons visiting the Historics precinct and contains a look-back at the 1953 race, the story of each of the 10 original cars and a circuit map with compares 1953 to 2013.
Sadly, only a small number of drivers from the 50s are still with us today. We will be paying tribute to them and the cars they drove with a parade travelling ‘the wrong way’ around the Albert Park circuit, which was how they raced back then. The parade will be complete with strategically placed hay bales to represent the somewhat meagre safety measures that were in place around the track in the 50s compared to today.
NATIONAL SPORTS MUSEUM DOCUMENTARY
A short film will be the key feature of the National Sports Museum’s cinema at the MCG from 1 – 31 March. The film is a poignant reminder of life in Melbourne during another era and poses a stark contrast to the sport of Formula 1® today. Featuring original footage of the 1953 race, including some rare film uncovered in the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, along with original photographs and interviews with a number of people involved in the event, the documentary takes us back to a time when motorsport was possibly considered ‘romantic’.
On 21 November 1953, the first Australian Grand Prix was held at Albert Park. To celebrate the heritage of motor racing in the park, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation announced that FREE entry will be given to all General Admission patrons on Thursday 14 March 2013. As a result, day one of the 2013 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix has been renamed ‘Heritage Day’ for the occasion.
In addition to Heritage Day, a range of activities has been planned to celebrate the origins of what is globally recognized as one of the world’s best Grands Prix. The 2013 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix schedule will see the addition of a parade lap of historic cars travelling in a counter-clockwise direction around the Albert Park circuit. This is the opposite direction to today’s Formula 1® race but mirrors how the race was staged in 1953. Historic garages and car displays will be have a distinct 1950s theme and there will be a special exhibition featuring cars, images and film from the 1953 archives.
50,000 Melburnians were estimated to have attended the first Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in 1953. These days, the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix attracts an estimated crowd of more than 300,000 patrons over the four day event including more than 100,000 on main race day. Albert Park hosted two further races – the 1956 Australian Grand Prix and the 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix – after which there was a long hiatus until the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix came home to Melbourne in 1996.
Whilst much has changed in Albert Park over the past 60 years, clues to its early motorsports heritage still exist. Today’s world famous Albert Park Formula 1® track follows much of the original circuit. The exception to this is Aughtie Walk, once one of the fastest parts of the track, which is now a pedestrian thoroughfare.
Happily, safety provisions have been significantly improved. In 1953 the only safety barriers were hay bales placed intermittently around the track. Spectators stood perilously close to the edge of the road, often spilling over the curb to get an even closer look at the action.
Lining up in 1953 were drivers whose names became synonymous with the sport. Sir Jack Brabham, who went on to become Australia’s first World Champion was on the entry list but did not start the race due to technical difficulties with his car. Meanwhile Stan Jones, the late father of former Formula 1® World Champion Alan Jones, set the fastest lap time but had a podium finish snatched from him towards the end of the race when he too had technical difficulties. Alan Jones is proud to have been present at the launch of “Heritage Day” today at Albert Park and to reminisce about watching his father race.
“I have very fond memories of watching my father race at Albert Park. He inspired me to become involved in the sport and to go on to achieve a World Championship title. But perhaps what I remember most vividly is rowing to Gunn Island in the middle of the lake while my dad was racing. I was with the sons of Bib Stillwell and Reg Hunt, who were also racing, and we treated it as a huge adventure,” said Jones.
“I’m genuinely delighted to see the heritage of motorsport in Albert Park being celebrated in this way. I hope people come from all around to Heritage Day and to take advantage of all the fun and excitement the event has to offer on and off the track.
Andrew Westacott, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, is thrilled to be able to share the history of the Australian Grand Prix with race goers this year.
“The Australian Grand Prix is firmly cemented as a major part of Australian sport and the amazing history behind the Albert Park circuit is something that should be celebrated,” said Westacott.
“We are thrilled to be able to open the gates on Thursday 14 March and to provide free entry to all general admission patrons to show them why the Australian Grand Prix is one of our country’s greatest sporting events,” said Westacott.
Fast Facts on the 1953 Australian Grand Prix
- The grid comprised of 16 rows and 40 cars
- The race consisted of 59 laps
- Fastest lap was set by Stan Jones, 2 mins and 3 seconds and reached speeds of 147.2km/h
- The winner was Doug Whiteford who won by five laps driving a ‘Lago Talbot’. He won in a time of 2 hours 24 minutes
and 50 seconds at an average speed of 131km/h
- The circuit was raced counter clockwise opposite to the direction they drive today
- Race control was a double decker bus
- The start/finish line was outside what is now the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre
- A young Sir Jack Brabham was included in the entry list but was a non-starter due to an issue with the bearings on his Cooper Bristol 1971cc
- The only safety barriers were hay bales
To celebrate 60 years since the first Australian Grand Prix was held at Albert Park, we've tracked down some of the blokes who were on the spot and happy to share their recollections of that historic day. Their insights form the basis of a short documentary which will be the key feature of the National Sports Museum’s cinema at the MCG throughout March, but since their stories about motorsport in another era are as charming as they are compelling, we have also produced a series of mini interviews just for the website.
Over the next couple of weeks you will meet three wonderful characters: John Reaburn was a 17 year old spectator in 1953 and had dreams - that he turned to reality - to be a successful racing driver; Graham Hoinville, already a keen racing driver, had married three weeks before the 1953 event so didn't have the funds to enter the race and had to satisfy his desire to be involved by serving as a flag marshal; and Neal Charge, one of only a handful of drivers still around today, who brings to life what it was like to get behind the wheel and drive the Albert Park circuit for the first time.