Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


The making of a lengend

He's only 22 but Ben Hall is already a legend in the making, a horseman of rare ability who is Australia's undisputed campdrafting king.

Story: Heather Brown
Photos: John Elliot and Mike Kenyon

Image Come the winter, when the skies of the north turn blindingly blue and the wind sneaks the cold through the grass, the mob will be moving south again from Armraynald Station on the brooding waters of the Gulf, past stations with names that sound like a song, all the way down the rivers and creeks to the Channel Country.

And word will come that The Man is on his way, the same as it has for a century when drovers came with packhorses, compasses and faith - and news was passed by letter and word.

This time, however, it comes bouncing down the satellite phone, and by fax and email.

Ben Hall, boss drover is coming through with horses and dogs, bikes, truck and men - and two and a half thousand Brahman steers.

This is the fourth year he has made the long march south with a mob this size. The first year, news spread like a fire in the dry season. The Boy and The Cattle were coming. He was only 18 then, and his men were mostly teenagers.

If this was America, they might have made a movie and called it The Young Guns or something. But this is Australia - and it's the real thing.

ImageBen Hall, the 22 year-old boss drover with a reputation nothing short of extraordinary, is The Man. In one sense, it's because he is an outstanding drover. Clearly,in this legendary family of drovers, everything his father knew - and his father, and his father - has been faithfully passed down.

But that's not all. Because out in the bush where a light touch on the bridle is still revered as a blessing and a gift - the sport of campdrafting has reached new heights. It has now taken over as the consummate horse sport of rural Australia.

And the Warwick Gold Cup remains the glittering prize. Ben Hall has won twice in the past three years, the kind of feat that has taken him into the Bart Cummings class becauseit's so damned tough - and he just makes it look so easy. Story end

Full story: Issue 11, June - July 2000

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