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‘If you don’t ask, you don’t catch’: How an Aussie stockman roped a job in Prince Philip’s stables

‘If you don’t ask, you don’t catch’: How an Aussie stockman roped a job in Prince Philip’s stables

Appreciate many of the arena, Bill Oram is remembering the Queen’s late husband. However the Queensland stockman is now not always really thinking about Royal visits or movies or newspaper articles.

He’s thinking about certainly one of many toughest males he ever met — a boss with a fascination about Australia whom he admired greatly.

Early Newspaper

He’s remembering a dare, and a letter he sent to the Queen begging for a job in the Royal stables.

And he’s wondering restful — 40 years on — how on earth it all came off.

What are the chances?

Or now not it’s 1980 and 18-year-ancient Bill Oram is travelling from the tiny Queensland town of Baralaba — population roughly 300 — to Windsor Castle.

A sepia photo of a shirtless young man with a cowboy hat bending down and washing a horse

Bill Oram washing Harrier, a Cleveland Bay mare, while working at Prince Philip’s stables.(

Supplied: Bill Oram


Months sooner than, he’d sent a letter the Queen asking for a job at the stables telling her how he grew up riding horses with his grandfathers — each “handsome horsemen” — and about his fascination with the Royal Mews.

“A mate of mine made a bet that I would now not be game to,” he said.

He never for a 2nd belief it will approach off. In fact, he’d “almost forgotten about it” when he purchased a response saying a job had approach up at Prince Philip’s stables.

“And Prince Philip can be in Canberra if I wanted to make myself available for an interview,” Bill said.

“That was essentially the most casual job interview I’ve ever had.

“At that point I assumed this was beautiful crazy.”

It acquired crazier again when, almost impossibly, a job provide on Royal letterhead arrived at his Baralaba home.

It informed Bill that if he accepted he would join three “very good males looking after the Duke of Edinburgh’s Driving Horses”.

A letter with

An provide of employment from Prince Philip inviting Baralaba’s Bill Oram to work in his stables.(

Supplied: Bill Oram


Riding with a prince in the snow

A blue and white ribbon with the word 'Groom' written on it in gold

A 10th plaque ribbon from the European Driving Championships gained by Prince Philip and Bill Oram as groom.(

Supplied: Bill Oram


Bill would inch on to toddle with the Prince at the European Driving championship in Zug, Switzerland, in 1981, the place they placed 10th.

Prince Philip gave the plaque to Bill, which he holds as a memento of “a really formative part of my life”.

For almost two years, Bill informed Prince Philip reports of growing up in rural Queensland as they drove collectively in rain, hail, sleet or shine past the chapel that would change into Prince Philip’s final resting place.

“I learnt very early now not to examine exterior and watch the sleet coming downing thinking we may now not be out today, who would force in this because he would,” Bill said.

Regret and moral recollections

When he heard of Prince Philip’s passing, Bill said he remembered a man who had some “very stable personal traits”.

A man with a mustache in a cowboy hat and a multicoloured shirt squatting down near a young cow.

Bill Oram is now an agricultural science teacher at St Brendan’s college in Yeppoon.(

Supplied: Bill Oram


“I became very inquisitive about him,” Bill said.

“He was physically very tricky, he was very loyal, he was very interested in americans.

“He loved Australia. He was very interested in what I had achieved growing up in Australia.

“He visited Roma in 2002 … I regretted now not going.”

Now an agricultural science teacher at St Brendan’s Faculty, Yeppoon, Bill uses the memoir to inspire young males.

“Of us normally ask me how proud I am of it, nonetheless I’m really a lot extra happy with being a teacher,” he said.

‘If you don’t ask, you don’t catch’: How an Aussie stockman roped a job in Prince Philip’s stables