Years involved in industry: 70
Category : Pioneer
Awarded 2006 Ken Carr Medal
GOTBA Executive 32 years
Greyhound Racing Control Board member 16 years
Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association Director 8 years
Ballarat GRC Committee 10 years
OAM in 2009 for services to Greyhound Racing
George Schofield is the only surviving ‘Pioneer’ to be inducted into Victorian greyhound racing’s Hall of Fame and, quite remarkably, the 91 year old continues to contribute to the sport today through his work as a canine chiropractor. Working from a shed on his property located 30 minutes north of Melbourne in Yuroke, Schofield’s talents aren’t limited to the greyhound industry. People drive for miles to have George run his healing hands over their injured domestic pets. “I love to see [injured] dogs get better, especially little paralysed ones. When I see a dog that can’t move, and then watch it get up and walk away it is better than all the money in the world”, George said recently.
Schofield has been applying his chiropractic skills for over 50 years. He works six days a week from 10am – 4.40pm, having Tuesdays off to “tidy things up around the place”, and even these days it is not uncommon to have to queue in line for up to an hour for his services. “I’ve checked all different types of animals. It’s something that comes naturally to me. At first I didn’t charge people. Then I went from charging nothing to charging a silver coin, then from a silver coin to one dollar and then from one dollar to 10 dollars”, he said.
Schofield’s contribution to greyhound racing stems far wider than his chiropractic brilliance. However, he has been involved in virtually every aspect of the sport, including spending a combined total of 56 years as an administrator, 32 of which were as the Executive of the Greyhound Owners, Trainers & Breeders Association [GOTBA]. “Some wild men had greyhounds when I first got into the sport. I always wanted to get into the administration side of things for the betterment of greyhound racing”, said Schofield.
Schofield fought long and hard for the benefit of Victorian owners, trainers and breeders in an era in which the industry of today would struggle to comprehend. Schofield’s son-in-law Dr. John Stephens, the CEO of Greyhound Racing Victoria, explained that administering greyhound racing was particularly tough in George’s era. “The administrators of yesteryear paved the way for the standards of today. In the old days there was something like 1500 members of the GOTBA and George was on the Executive. The GOTBA was like the union for greyhound racing”, Dr. Stephens said.
“Increases in prize money was not a given, nor were things like racing vests and kennel blocks that were of a today’s standard. George fought hard for a lot of those sorts of things as well as open box draws which for years were conducted by the race clubs. The administrators worked extremely hard to put systems in place that could guarantee the integrity of the sport”, Dr. Stephens added.
Schofield’s time as a committeeman at the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club was also critical as he worked with the GOTBA to save the club from extinction, while another interesting chapter in his life came with his involvement with a greyhound called Shan’s View. George purchased Shan’s View just prior to the 1960 Australian Cup for the then unheard of price of 2,000 pounds [this was a time when 800 pounds bought you a house].