Vale Bruce Skeggs OAM

25 March 2013

Harness racing journalist, race caller, administrator and trotting enthusiast Bruce Skeggs OAM passed away on 21st March, 2013, aged 80.

In addition to his work as an MLA in the Victorian Government and later in local government, Bruce worked in many areas of harness racing and was a passionate fan of trotters in particular.

Possessing a clear, concise delivery, Bruce Skeggs became widely known for his colourful, accurate and unbiased race commentary. He called a world record 34,000 harness races, including 20 Inter Dominion Grand Finals from 1959 to 1979 and broadcast races in ten different countries. 

He began his career in journalism working for The Guide in Melbourne, a weekly racing and trotting form guide, and went on to work at The Argus,  the Farm and Home magazine (1959 to 1956) before doing brief stints with the Melbourne Herald and the TV Week.   He published the Trotting Register from 1960 to 1991, and also edited and published the first Year Book of Australian Trotting in 1960. 

He was the official on-course commentator for the then Trotting Control Board at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds for many years, and was appointed the Course Broadcaster at Bendigo.    He was also the official trotting commentator at the Royal Melbourne Show for 28 years.

Bruce was a long standing committeeman of the Cranbourne Harness Racing Club and was President from 1991 to 1997, with his name perpetuated by the running of the annual Bruce Skeggs Trotters Cup. He also served on the Executive of the Victorian Country Clubs Association from 1991 to 1996 and was a foundation member and President of the Caduceus Club.

On the international stage, he was a Chairman of the World Publicity and Promotion Committee of the International Trotting Association from 1972 to 1987 and edited the periodical World Trot Press and also developed and promoted extensive International Affiliations for Australian harness racing, particularly in Europe. He also served as Honorary Public Relations Officer for the AHRC from 1972 to 1997 and the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council.

In 1995 Bruce received the AHRC's Distinguished Service Award, and also a Media Award for Radio Commentaries, and in 1998 he was awarded the Inter Dominion Gold Medal. 

He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2000 for service to harness racing, to the Victorian Parliament and local government, and to the community.

In 2007 he was an inaugural inductee into HRA's Inter Dominion Hall of Fame, and again in 2009 he was an inaugural inductee into the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association's Hall of Fame. 

The Harness Racing community pass their sincere condolences to Bruce's family.

A Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate Bruce Skeggs' life will be held on Thursday, 28th March - for further details, please click here.

For further information about Bruce Skegg's career in harness racing, please click here.