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On the right track – Coral and jockey Bill celebrate 60 years together

William (Bill) and Coral Graham are celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow – Thursday.

The couple met through friends when Coral was training to be a nurse in 1960.

Coral’s friend, Noelene Keenan was on the lookout for a short woman for another friend Bill Graham. And why was that? Well, Bill was an up-and-coming jockey from Randwick in Sydney who was in town enjoying the easy lifestyle of Broken Hill.

Noelene and her friend John Shirdell organized a blind date for the pair at the Silver City Show in 1960.

“Bill and I always got on well together. We could read each other well,” Coral said this week.

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They were married in 1962 at the St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Lane Street, Broken Hill.

When they married, Coral stopped nursing and they had their first child, William in 1963.

They’ve enjoyed the journey of family together over the past 60 years.

Coral said when she introduced Bill to people, she’d say this is Billy Graham, the jockey, not the evangelist, but he can preach.
“Bill likes to talk,” she said.

“I wouldn’t change anything. Everything we’ve done, we’ve mostly done together,” Bill said.

It’s easy to see that they support one another in their marriage.

Coral supported Bill by managing their life at home and helping the kids with school and sports, while Bill started his days at 5am.

He not only raced horses but worked at the Broken Hill saddlery as well.

He started his racing career at age 13 at the Randwick racecourse and lived in the stables on Doncaster Avenue in Kensington.

“Our family motto was had saddle will travel,” Coral said.

Bill raced horses professionally for about 30 years. He stopped at age 54.

“Bill’s done a lot of volunteer work. I decided to stay home and keep things running,” Coral said.

Bill would often be away racing horses, but he’d always try to be home as soon as he could.

Bill served on quite a few Boards in Broken Hill, including the Lions Club, Legion’s Club, Far West Racing Registration Board, and NSW Country Race Council in Sydney.

He raced at Menindee, Ivanhoe and Wilcannia and was there for Menindee and Wilcannia’s final races.

“I never thought I’d return to nursing,” Coral said.

But the Government realised they didn’t have enough nurses to man the wards, so Coral completed a refresher course and went back and worked for 11 years before retiring.

“I enjoyed nursing very much,” she said.

Their eldest son, William, believes his father is a very lucky man to have married Coral.

Sixty years on, the couple have three sons and two daughters – William, Alan, Michelle, Ian and Jeanette.

They also have three daughters-in-law, two sons-in-law and six grandchildren.

One granddaughter is making a celebration cake for their 60th wedding celebrations and on Saturday, they are having an afternoon tea at the Demo club with family and friends.

One of their sons, Alan, will be travelling from Sydney to help them celebrate.

Congratulations, Bill and Coral, on 60 years of commitment to one another.

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