Home' The Southern Cross : July 2016 Contents July 2016 Page 13
When champion jockey Michelle Payne
was injured in a fall at Mildura recently, it’s
Just a week earlier in an interview with
The Southern Cross, Michelle spoke of
the strong faith passed down by her dad
Paddy Payne, who reared 10 children on
his own after his wife Mary was killed in
a car accident while driving three of their
children to school.
The first female jockey to ride the winner
of the Melbourne Cup, Michelle was in
Adelaide to ride the same horse, Prince
of Penzance, at Morphettville Racecourse
and to promote her new book, Michelle
Payne – Life as I know it, at a function at
The Highway, Plympton.
“The faith of my Dad has been passed on
to us, it keeps me going,” she said. “When
I have had bad injuries or been in difficult
situations in my life I go to church and ask
for help or ask God to point me in the right
“Having someone to help get me through
the bad times has been really important.
“As kids we went to Mass every Sunday
and dad was known to say the Hail Mary or
the Our Father whenever he needed to.”
Michelle, 30, said her dad’s deep faith had
helped him after the death of his wife and
had given him hope that “everything would
turn out alright”.
His positive outlook on life and belief that
“everything happens for a reason” had
“really helped” her in life.
Paddy was born in the Taranaki district
of the North Island, New Zealand to Irish
Catholics and Mary was one of 10 children
born to Swiss immigrants. The couple
had nine children in New Zealand. As
devout Catholics they didn’t believe in
contraception so they used the rhythm
method but Dad used to say they were out
of rhythm. (Michelle Payne – Life as I know
it). One boy, Michael, died after three days
from a hole in the heart.
The family sold their dairy farm in New
Zealand and moved to Ballarat which
they had visited before through their
involvement in thoroughbreds. In Australia,
two more children were born – first Stevie,
then Michelle, and they were known simply
as “the little kids”.
Stevie, who has Down syndrome and is a
her strapper, shot to fame when he drew
barrier one for Prince of Penzance for the
Melbourne Cup and also won the hearts
of the nation with his beaming smile as
he led his sister and her horse back to the
“Here we were at the Melbourne Cup
– the two little kids – with all these
internationals...I love him like you wouldn’t
believe and now so does everyone else,”
said Michelle at The Highway event.
People around the world soon came to
know not just about the close relationship
between Michelle and Stevie but also the
tragedy of Michelle losing her mum when
she was only six months old and her oldest
sister Brigid who died of an aneurism at
the age of 36.
In media interviews after her historic ride,
Michelle explained that she had always
felt close to her mum, even though she
never knew her. “...they may have been a
little surprised when I explain that I still feel
close to her, that I know Mum is always
with me, that I pray to her often, and that
she is my protector,” she writes in her
Ghost-written by Melbourne-based author
and broadcaster John Harms, Michelle’s
book talks about her early days growing up
on a property out of Ballarat called Home
and attending Our Lady Help of Christians
Primary School at Wendouree, run by the
Sisters of Mercy.
I learned a lot at Our Lady Help of
Christians. I learned that the Melbourne
Cup was very special because on that
first Tuesday in November the nuns would
wheel out the old TV and we’d get to
In 1991 when she was in “prep”, she
watched her brother Patrick have his first
ride in the Cup on Sunshine Sally. I was so
proud but I was also so nervous for him. I
prayed that everything would go well and
he would run a great race.
She also tells of Father Joe Gaicobbe,
known as ‘The Racing Priest’, who raised
money for a local charity by publishing The
Winning Post, a popular racing newspaper
with a comprehensive form guide for the
weekend races around Australia. He knew
a lot of Catholics loved a punt and that
he had to get the cash out of the punters
on Friday before the favourite was beaten
in the last at The Valley on Saturday
afternoon and parishioners were left with
nothing for the collection plate.
Although she left school at 15 to be an
apprentice jockey, Michelle writes fondly
of her years at Loreto College in Ballarat
and her lasting friendships with the “Loreto
girls” who were waving her on in last year’s
Melbourne Cup and holidayed with her in
Bali to celebrate.
Sitting around the pool at the hotel there
is a lot of reminiscing...The discussions
turn to what is important to us, how we
understand the world, what matters. The
girls are talking about some of the things I
said after the Cup about being blessed.
Although I have had moments of great
doubt, some of them long moments, I have
tried to have my father’s faith. I see grace
every Christmas Day when I look around
and everyone is at Home. I sit for the family
photo and I look across to my father, who
is never in the centre, never making a fuss,
and I believe.
Michelle Payne – Life as I know it, with
John Harms, is published by Melbourne
University and available from Matilda
Bookshop, Stirling, and other book stores.
Footnote: Michelle required surgery
to her pancreas after her fall at the
Mildura race meet on May 23. She was
released from hospital on June 8 and is
considering her future.
Faith keeps Michelle on track
By Jenny Brinkworth
You are invited
To the Mass of
150th Anniversar y
of the founding of the
Sisters of St Joseph
of the Sacred Heart
Sunday August 7th
All Saints Church,
A $10 ticketed
luncheon will follow.
($26 per Family)
RSVP numbers for luncheon:
Or 04 3880 0788 by 28 July 2016
Annual Mass for Anniversaries
If you are celebrating a significant wedding anniversary this year –
1, 5, 10, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40... years an invitation is extended for you,
your family and friends to come along to a special Mass on:
Sunday September 11, 2016 at 2.30pm
in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral
Mass will be followed by hospitality and photo opportunities.
To register for this event, send in details via your parish by Friday August 19.
Details of the day and venue will be included on a formal invitation
that will be sent to you when you register.
More information please contact Robyn Carroll, Manager,
Archdiocesan Events 8210 8220 or Rachel McCabe 8210 8106
Links Archive June 2016 August 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page