The Rise of John Wren

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In 1893, John Wren, unemployed and from a poor family, set up the Collingwood Tote, an illegal betting shop that would achieve mythical status, depending on who you asked, as either a den of vice ruining the lives of many or as a symbol of the working class fighting back against discriminatory laws.

In its twenty years of operating, the police attempted to raid the tote so many times and failed to the point they gave up completely.

Instead, the establishment banned Wren’s horses from racing in the Spring Racing Carnival.

In response, Wren set up multiple alternative racecourses and significantly hurt their finances.

Titus O’Reily and Mick Molloy look at the rise of John Wren, a man who took on the establishment and built up a sporting empire that crossed horse racing, cycling and boxing.

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Aug 21, 2022

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