Racecourse, a rural and residential locality, is six km south-west of central Mackay.

Four years after Mackay was first occupied several inhabitants chose a site south-west of the infant township for the district's first racecourse. The following year (1867) the Mackay Turf Club was formed.

By the early 1870s sugar cane growing had largely displaced grazing along the Pioneer Valley, and small private mills, Robbs and Balmoral, were opened in 1869 and 1873. In 1885 the Mackay to Eton railway, via Racecourse, was opened, and in the following year Racecourse sugar growers succeeded in establishing the Racecourse Central Sugar Company Ltd. The company's new mill, two km west of the racecourse, began crushing in 1888. The mill competed with others for sufficient cane, generally with success, and in 1927 built a southwards tramline to obtain cane from around Homebush after CSR closed the Homebush mill. The Racecourse mill was also converted to a co-operative, and became part of Mackay Sugar in 1988. A white sugar refinery was added to the mill in 1994.

With the sugar mill and the racecourse two km apart and being known by the same name, confusion between the two was resolved by naming the racecourse location Ooralea.

In 1992 Central Queensland University established a campus at Ooralea.

Racecourse has had census populations of:

Census DatePopulation
1921176
1954425
1981704
2011242