“He lived life to the full, and through his pen was able to give countless other people a lot of happiness”. (Keith Robbins)

One of Australia’s foremost racing journalists, Bert Lillye was involved with the industry for almost 50 years.

Lillye began work at 15 as a copy boy at Smith’s Weekly in 1934. From there he progressed to the Sydney Morning Herald, moved to the Daily Mirror for five years, and then retuned to the Herald where he remained until his retirement in 1984. He also contributed extensively to Turf Monthly, where he commenced writing his column Backstage of Racing, a feature he later continued in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Lillye was an expert researcher, ever careful to verify his findings before committing them to print. Wherever possible he would look at the human angle, and show sympathy for the ‘battlers’ of racing.

He was known as a great raconteur, and many of his stories he brought together in his collection of anecdotes Backstage of Racing.

Image source: Fairfax Syndication