Garryowen Trophy

The Garryowen Perpetual is awarded to the winner of the Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout - one of the most prestigious equestrienne events in Australia. The trophy was first awarded in 1934.

The Garryowen Perpetual Trophy is awarded annually to the winner of one of the most prestigious equestrienne events in Australia, the Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout. The competition is named after three-time Royal Melbourne Show champion saddle horse, GARRYOWEN, whose owner Violet Murrell died tragically whilst trying to save GARRYOWEN from a stable fire in 1934.

A Heroine of Racing

Mrs Violet Murrell of Melbourne, was a heroine who died trying to save her horses when the racing stables burned. The reason for her rescue attempt was twofold; she was both trying to retrieve an asset and was rescuing an animal from its agony.

The heart of the racing world in Melbourne went out to Murrell and trainers, jockeys, and stable-boys came in crowds to her funeral. 'In the racing stables, in truth, the horse and the man are part of each other; and Mrs Murrell's name, with the manner of her death, will live as a tradition in the fraternity of men and horses to which she belonged'. (Sun, Sydney, Sunday 1 April 1934, p. 4)

Began with a fire

This trophy began as a tribute to a brave woman who risked and lost her life trying to rescue her horses and dog from a fire in 1934. It has become the premier turnout event for horsewomen in Australia.

The idea came from a gathering at the Police Depot in St Kilda Road Melbourne, where friends of Violet discussed how to remember her and her beloved horse GARRYOWEN. The event was first staged at the 1934 Royal Melbourne Show.

The public, through the Sporting globe newspaper, contributed to the cost of buying the 12 inch bronze statuette which is a perpetual trophy. The winner is also presented with a blue sash fastened with a small photograph of Mrs Murrell riding GARRYOWEN.

Jockey, jumper, show ring rider

Violet Murrell was 29 years old when she died. She had a career as a flat-race jockey riding and winning against men. She was also a successful jumps jockey.

Mandy Bede


The Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout has given rise to many other awards, recognising the achievements of its exhibitors and contributors. These include the McKinnon Medal, awarded to the best placed exhibitor over 45 years in the Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout, as well as the Garryowen Hall of Fame.