Years involved in industry: 60
- Sandown GRC Chairman 23 years
- Sandown GRC Committee 28 years
- Greyhound Racing Control Board member 2 years
- First Australian Greyhound Racing Association President in 1963
Henry Harrison’s greyhound racing passion dates back to the 1920s, initially as a typical punter and owner-breeder. He witnessed his first Melbourne Cup, in the proprietary days of the sport, at Napier Park in 1927. And when the race shifted to Sandown Park in 1956, with the introduction of the tin hare, Harrison was a powerful force in developing its status.
Harrison was appointed to the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club committee in 1959 and elected chairman in 1964, a position he held for 23 years.
His son-in-law Geoff Dawson (the incumbent SGRC chairman, who was elected following Harrison’s retirement from the club’s directorate in 1987) recalls the first time he met a giant among men – and set eyes on his daughter Loretta, who later became his wife. “I was a harness bookmaker’s runner at the Showgrounds in the early 1950s. I went around the back of the grandstand and Henry was there with his daughter Loretta. I thought ‘she’s not a bad sort’, so I kept going around the back to put some more bets on.”
Harrison’s greatest achievement, in Dawson’s opinion, was the negotiation of TAB coverage for greyhound racing through his powerful connections in the racing industry and with high ranking state politicians. “He was extremely convincing, and I don’t think the SGRC would be here today without his influence,” Dawson said. “He even purchased a thoroughbred from Sir Chester Manifold, just to speak to him about his main objective: getting the tote for the greyhounds.”