Almanac Local History – Pine Ridge Cemetery Coburg: Albert ‘Nuts’ Renny




Allan Barden recently published a detailed piece on the Pine Ridge Cemetery at Coburg. We have picked out some of the characters about whom he wrote.

The first is Albert ‘Nuts’ Renny.





1898 – 1919


One of the best jockeys of his day on pony courses.

Died while racing at Fitzroy Racecourse.

(Notes researched and written by Kelly Morgan)


For ‘Nuts’ Renny, sadly like many of the other jockeys buried in Coburg Cemetery, they didn’t have a happy ending. Even sadder not much has changed in today’s time. Racing is filled with much disaster and tragedy.


Nuts or Albert Sylvester Calder Renny as he was born in 1888, lived most of his short life in Moonee Ponds, 900m from Moonee Valley race track. His interactions with the racing world started with an apprenticeship in 1912 with Flemington-based trainer Chris Moore. Following the completion, he went on to ride at unregistered pony courses in Melbourne and Sydney. This led to the Victorian Racing Club (VRC) disqualifying him from racing. Without considering the legalities, the public considered Renny one of the best jockeys of his day on pony courses. The VRC evoked the disqualification in 1917 and he joined Jack Holt’s stable in Mordialloc, by 1918 left Holt’s stables returning to the pony courses.


Renny died at Fitzroy Racecourse (St. George’s Road, Thornbury) on 24 November 1919. He was riding the favourite, a four-year-old gelding called Wongaburra in the fourth race.


All went well during this race, also known as the Fitzroy Purse, until the final turn. Renny moved into second and tried to ride along the rails. But Wongaburra clipped the heels of the horse in front, stumbled and fell. The fall brought down three more horses and Wongaburra landed on Renny, crushing his skull. Renny died and Wongaburra was so injured they destroyed him. A very similar story to Reg Bell.


The track cancelled racing for the day and a large crowd stood silent as the doctor pronounced him dead. They moved his body to the mortuary and an inquest determined the cause of death was a racing accident.


At the time of his death he was 21 years old, single and living at the Mordialloc Hotel. Friends and family described him as a smart dresser, had an engaging manner and was popular no matter where he went. Renny was a good rider and a clever horseman, and was always out to win the race: ‘You have to fall to get beat’. Sadly that was very true in this case.


In the following years on the anniversary of his death tributes took up half a column memorialising him. He is buried here with his parents Agnes and Thomas and three of his thirteen siblings, many of his family were also deeply involved in the racing community.



Read more about Albert Renny HERE


Read more from Allan Barden HERE




To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.



Leave a Comment