This past Sunday saw the birthday of a Broken Hill icon, local celebrity and world’s oldest registered bookie as Doug Carroll hit another milestone, turning 97 years old.
When we say he’s an icon, it’s no understatement – everyone around town knows Doug.
“I was at the doctors the other day and she asked me if I knew everybody in Broken Hill, and I told her nah everybody knows me,” Mr. Carroll says.
Mr. Carroll has been a bookmaker for longer than most of us have been alive.
And he has no plans to stop anytime soon.
“I’ve been a bookmaker for 70 years. When I started as a bookmaker in Broken Hill, there was 29 of us. I am the only one left now.
“I’ll keep going until I don’t know what I am doing. If I give you a good price on an odds-on favourite, I’ll know it is time to stop.”
Doug is a pretty low-key guy. He didn’t want anyone to make a fuss when the day came around. But when word got out at his local watering hole, the Mulga Hill Tavern, the bar staff had to do something.
They organised a cake and sung happy birthday for him, much to Doug’s chagrin. Mulga Hill Tavern bartender Denise Smith told us.
“He told me to stop singing, because I can’t sing,” she laughed. When the Barrier Truth spoke to Doug, he did confirm this. “She wouldn’t win at amateur hour,” he said dryly.
Outside of the occasional trip to Cobar or his yearly pilgrimage to Wentworth for the Melbourne Cup, your best bet of seeing Mr. Carroll is at the Silver City Cup this November.
So if you’re around for the Cup, stop by and lay a bet with the oldest bookmaker in the world.