IT IS with much sadness that we advise of the passing of one of Club Menangle’s most generous supporters Tanyia Harris OAM on Thursday (July 13).
Tanyia was just shy of her 92nd birthday.
Born on July 28, 1931, Tanyia immediately became involved as soon as she joined the NSW Trotting Club (as it was known at that time). Such was her way.
Tanyia joined multiple committees, most notably the Credentials Committee, where she was very active.
The Credentials Committee was a group that worked to evaluate membership applications to present to the Club Menangle board.
No one who didn’t meet the highest standards would have received Tanyia’s endorsement.
Another role that Tanyia held was as a Blue Coat at Harold Park.
The Blue Coats were essentially the concierge, in charge of ‘first impressions’ for racegoers and would greet attendees at the gate and assist them in deciding where they wanted to go on the night.
Tanyia always believed in South West Sydney, as she did with Menangle Park and that Menangle was the future of Harness Racing in New South Wales.
Prior to the move from Harold Park to Club Menangle, Tanyia was a valued volunteer who assisted with the initial development of the new Menangle Park complex by providing meals for workers every day of the week.
When the new track opened at the current complex in Menangle in 2008, the club was cash-strapped and structures were very basic with hired marquees due to the expensive cost and racing still taking place at Harold Park.
Tanyia then approached John Dumesny, who was then the Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Harness Racing Club to advise that she wanted to assist with purchasing marquees.
On the spot, Tanyia wrote out a cheque for the total cost, which enabled the club to progress with buying the permanent marquees.
The marquee was then named the Tanyia Harris OAM Marquee in her honour.
This was just one act of Tanyia’s generosity. No matter how small or big, her generosity had no end in reach.
Another of Tanyia’s real values to Menangle Park was her connections to the local area, in particular with council and politicians, ensuring that the club always had access to anyone they needed to speak with.
Tanyia had a deep commitment to the Macarthur Region. Her commitment to the region earned her the title of Queen of Campbelltown by all and sundry.
Throughout the years that Tanyia had her school uniform business, she always wanted to help. She ensured that all the local Menangle Park school-aged children were dressed in the correct uniform and didn’t charge for them.
Tanyia had a long-term relationship with the Morris family and Lucky Lodge. Anyone with a memory of Harold Park will recall how Tanyia baby-sat the Morris children.
Tanyia raced many horses with Lucky Lodge, her favourite being Aztec Bromac, which went on to have 170 starts with 21 wins, 26 seconds and 16 thirds, winning more than $400,000.
One of Tanyia’s favourite days of the week was to attend Menangle races on Tuesday afternoons. Tanyia would travel with Alex Smith and his mother Georgina and once there she held court with Anne Turnbull, Ina Smith, Kerrie Commens, Carmel Hancock, Carmel Rixon and others.
She will be deeply missed at ‘the Table of Knowledge’!
In her later years, Tanyia took great pleasure in sharing life with her beautiful great grandchildren.
Tanyia was the first female to be awarded life membership to the NSW Harness Racing Club.
A permanent fixture on the Garrards Miracle Mile Race Night program was the Tanyia Harris OAM Stakes.
Tanyia Harris OAM’s generosity is immeasurable, along with her love for Harold Park and, in particular, Menangle Park.
Club Menangle Chairman, directors and staff along with National Trotguide and all our harness racing family offer our condolences to Tanyia’s family and friends at this sad time.