Station folk gathered at William Creek for a day of friendly rivalry on horseback and motorbike.

Story Therese Hall  Photos Peter McDonald

Distance proved no barrier for the 175 people who trekked to William Creek, in the far north of South Australia, for the region’s annual gymkhana on April 14. The tiny township, halfway along the Oodnadatta Track, was filled with families who’d travelled for up to 12 hours to take part in the William Creek Gymkhana.

Initiated 52 years ago by long-time Anna Creek station manager Dick Nunn, the annual day of horse and motorbike events is now run by members of the extended Williams family, who are the post-Kidman owners of Anna Creek (as well as another six cattle stations in the region). Trevor and Helen Williams headed the volunteer catering team, working alongside John ‘Hobbsie’ Hobbs, who’s been in charge of cooking the vegetables for the evening roast for the past 38 years. “I used to be an engine driver on the old Ghan train, which passed through here,” Hobbsie says. Now retired, he travels from Port Broughton every year to help out and catch up with old friends. 

Out on the racetrack, Colin Greenfield, of Billa Kalina, and Hollie Williams, of Nilpinna, commentated on a fast-paced gymkhana program in the morning followed by motokhana events after lunch. Events were grouped into three divisions to cater for 59 competitors, aged from as young as nine months. Roy Nunn, the youngest contestant, and the great-grandson of Dick Nunn, competed strongly in the Junior Monte Carlo, with a little help from his dad Justin Nunn, of Wertaloona. Justin was the overall adult winner in both the horse and bike events, carrying on his grandfather’s legacy at this important event for the region.  

This story excerpt is from Issue #119

Outback Magazine: June/July 2018