Trailblazing female jockey Pam O'Neill has been recognised with an Order of Australia Medal in the Australia Day honour's list for service to horse racing as a jockey.
Mrs O'Neill famously crashed through the glass ceiling in 1979 when she became Australia's first female jockey, riding a treble on her first day as a professional after years of lobbying to allow female riders.
She backed up the following Saturday, again riding a treble, effectively giving her six winners in seven days.
It was during the late 1960s and '70s that Ms O'Neill started lobbying for female jockeys.
Back then women were allowed to be registered as stable hands, ride trackwork, and barrier trials, plus the novelty ladies' races.
Finally, the authorities allowed her to gain her jockey's licence if she could pass 10 barrier trials. Mrs O'Neill elected to do them all one after the other, on the same day.
She was aged 34 when she was finally granted her licence and rode for 18 years, retiring at 54, riding more than 400 winners and many placings.
During that time she was invited to ride in Japan where she booted home three winners.
Now aged 77, Mrs O'Neill said she was very proud and humbled by her award.
"It really is a lovely way to be recognised, so thank you to whoever nominated me," she said.
Her one regret was that she wasn't able to be registered when she was younger, but over the years Mrs O'Neill held her own in any given race.
She was not afforded the standard apprentice weight allowance as from her first outing she was regarded by authorities a fully fledged jockey, riding on equal terms to her male counterparts.
In 2019, the Brisbane Race Club named a race meeting the Pam O'Neill Fillies and Mares List Race, which is run on Doomben Cup day in her honour.
Mrs O'Neil has worked tirelessly for the Australian Jockeys Association and has been a director since 2001, and the Queensland Jockeys Association since 1997.
She was Inducted into the Queensland Racing Hall of Fame in 2010, and received a Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor's Australia Day Sports Award in 2019.
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