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Local Racing Loses Great Champion

Local Racing Loses Great Champion

21st July 2022

Townsville is mourning the loss of a respected champion of the local racing industry with the passing of Laurie Quinlan.

Mr Quinlan, 91, served on the Townsville Turf Club as a committeeman and president between 1975-1992 and was a TTC life member.

His contribution to the racing industry also included his role as a turf club representative on the North Queensland Racing Association from 1988 to 1992, and position on the TAB Board of Queensland from 1991-96.

A doyen of the Townsville real estate industry, Mr Quinlan was remembered this week by former colleagues for his dedication to the TTC and success securing major corporate sponsors.

Among his biggest achievements was the hugely successful sponsorship deal with Parry Nissan to stage the north’s richest two-year-old race – the Great Northern.

The deal struck with Alan and John Parry’s Nissan dealership in 1991 led to one of the most successful race sponsorships in the club’s history and a major rejuvenation of local racing.

Alan Parry, a former long serving president of the turf club, this week described Mr Quinlan as a “true racing man”.

“He was always interested in the turf club right up until his last weeks.

“He had a very good relationship with trainers and sponsors and was very loyal to sponsors and they were loyal to him.

“He really has left a great legacy,” Mr Parry said.

“I still remember when Laurie came to us to talk about the Great Northern and said, ‘this would be a very good sponsorship for you’, and his reassurances proved so very true.

 “That relationship lasted just over 20 years until we sold Parry Nissan in 2012 and in that time, I’m proud of what the race did for our racing and Laurie was too.

“Everyone knew it as the Parry Nissan, and they still do.

 “It was really good from that point of view because a Magic Millions, you wouldn’t know who sponsors it these days.

“In those early days there was the race on the Saturday and the sales on the Sunday.

"I think at the time the turf club was struggling for numbers and it really put another 100 horses into the area each year.

“Laurie and I go a long way back to when our families lived in Hermit Park.

 “The Quinlan family lived in Armstrong St and we lived in Surrey St.

“There was a great Quinlan dynasty on the turf club in a way.

 “Laurie’s dad (Laurie snr) also served as president for a long time.

“That experience through working with Laurie and the club certainly encouraged me to go on and serve on the committee and then as president.”

Former club treasurer and life member Chris Martinez said Mr Quinlan was a quiet achiever and highly respected in the local racing industry.

“There was nothing controversial about Laurie.

“He was always doing his best for the club and busy getting things done,” Mr Martinez said.

“Laurie encouraged new blood and sponsored me for a position on the committee.”

Past president Kevin O’Keefe and former committee members the Honourable Kerry Cullinane AM and Dino Dibella, all life members of the TTC, also acknowledged Mr

Quinlan’s significant contribution to the progress of racing in the north.

Mr Quinlan, a man of deep faith, was farewelled by a large gathering of family and friends at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Mundingburra last week.

He is survived by wife June and children Laurence, Helen, Michael, Paula, Anthony and John.