Friday, 15th March, 2019
Billy Graham’s involvement with racing in Broken Hill spans almost as long as the St Pat’s Races themselves.
Starting as an apprentice jockey in the 50s, you will now find Billy at the Jockey’s Room in his role as steward during race day.
“On race day I look after the jockeys and help with weighing the jockeys out, getting their numbers off of them,” he said.
“I do that alongside Richard Harris.
“I’ve been doing it for about seven or eight years.”
Bill said his friend Ron Nelson used to be a steward and when Ron passed away the race club approached him.
“They asked if I would like to help and I said yes.”
Bill had been riding from the 1950s until about 1984.
“I travelled all the way around the country and rode in country races in Victoria and NSW.”
Bill was born in 1938 in Sydney and came to Broken Hill when he was 17-and-a-half working as an apprentice jockey.
He married a local girl Coral in 1962 and after moving to Sydney and then coming back; he worked for Bert Muller in his saddle and upholstery workshop.
Just 12 months later the couple welcomed their first child, a son who was named after Bill.
The couple had four more children; Allan, Michelle, Ian and Jeanette.
He was heavily involved in the Silver City Race committee when it restarted in the 1980s.
Bill has been the president of the Far West Registration Board and the delegate for NSW Country Racing Council.
“When I came here, there were 12 jockeys living in Broken Hill and 14 to 15 horse trainers.
“Racing was pretty popular in those days.”
In 1978, Bill went to the North Mine to work and was an open cut driver in a 50-ton caterpillar truck.
In 1984, Bill retired from race riding but continued his mine work until 1991, when he was offered redundancy.
Not one to sit around idol, he opted to open his own upholstering business.
He loves working on old cars and enjoys the camaraderie of the car club members and car enthusiasts.
One job he gained great pleasure in doing was work on a magnificent old 1913 Oldsmobile.
Bill has loved his time in the racing game and does enjoy playing lawn bowls and has relished the competition of Pennants with his mates.
In the late 1990s Bill joined BH Lions and has worked tirelessly in that wonderful organisation over the years and is a Past President of that club.
He has also been President of the Vintage & Veteran Car Club and President of the Australian Legion of Ex-servicemen and Women and Delegate to Country NSW Racing Association, and Life Member of the BH Owners and Trainers Association.
In 2012, Bill Graham received a Broken Hill City Council Citizenship Award for his contributions and service to our community.