It was full of rice paddies and basically swampy until they constructed the racecourse in 1846. The area became home to 6 cemeteries and then became known as Happy Valley a common euphemism for cemeteries. In 1922 the Happy Valley sanatorium and hospital opened in Happy Valley.
Happy Valley is also home to the HK Jockey Club headquarters and clubhouse and the Hong Kong racing museum. Nowadays in addition to the racing track the centre of the course is filled with sports fields for rugby and football and it is home to the Happy Valley Athletic Association. The parks are also well used by schools and local clubs and the track round the racecourse is popular with local runners.