Tasmania has lost one of its most loveable and endearing characters with the death of Wilfred James “Jim” Osborne. He passed away last week aged 93.
Osborne was a life member of TasBreeders and raced horses for most of his life. One of his best was With Decorum who won 11 races including the 2010 Devonport Cup and a Caulfield sprint the following August.
He raced the Savoire Vivre mare with Ken and Jenny Breese and Armidale Stud’s Robyn Whishaw.
Osborne’s contribution to the Tasmanian racing industry was recognised last year when he was awarded the Order of Australia and two years ago he also was inducted into the Tasmanian Racing Hall of Fame.
When he received his OAM for service to the racing industry and the community he was humble, questioning whether he was a deserving enough recipient but all in the industry applauded the honour. It was bestowed on a man who almost singlehandedly ensured the longevity of the annual New Year Day race meeting in his home town of Longford.
When the small but unique grandstand was burnt to the ground, Osborne led a fund-raising committee that raised enough money to have the stand rebuilt and it was subsequently named the Jim Osborne Stand in his honour.
He hardly missed a New Year Day meeting after first attending as a boy in the 1930s.
Osborne was a committeeman with the Tasmanian Turf Club from 1972 to 1998 and was always up for a debate on any issue that might affect the well being of the sport he loved.
Osborne was a regular at race meetings until recent months when his health started to wane. Jockeys at Launceston last week wore black armbands as a mark of respect.