Family dedicated to campdraft

Alexander McGhee riding Sammy. Photo: Keer Moriarty.
Alexander McGhee riding Sammy. Photo: Keer Moriarty.

The Open Draft and special prize at the recent Beaudesert Campdraft recognise the dedication of a family to the sport.

The Don McGhee Memorial Open Draft and the Don McGhee Memorial Family Prize are named for the youngest of the three McGhee brothers, all well-known camp drafters in Central Queensland during the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. 

Along with his older brothers Bill and Jim, Don rode in numerous rodeos throughout the region, participating in many events including buckjumping, bullock riding, steer decorating, bull dogging and pick-up work. 

But it was camp drafting which remained the brothers’ passion. 

They worked together as a team, frequently swapping horses and famously celebrating together in the evenings after the events concluded. They also donated and presented a variety of trophies.  

Don McGhee’s camp drafting career spanned over 30 years. 

One of his earliest recorded wins was the Emerald Open Campdraft, in May 1946. He was then aged 20 years. 

Don went on to win various camp drafts held in Dingo, Duringa, Blackwater, Emerald, Bluff, Rockhampton and Twin Hills. 

He rode many horses over the years but considered Monty  to be his most outstanding horse – together they won 10 drafts in the 1960s.

Don’s proudest achievement was a first place on Monty in the Open Campdraft at Twin Hills in 1957.   

2023 is a special year for the McGhee family, with Don’s Great Grandson, Alexander Glynn McGhee competing in the Juvenile Category of the Beaudesert Campdraft. 

Sixteen year old Alexander is new to the sport and said his horse, 20 year old Australian Stock Horse Sammy, has been campdrafting longer than he has. 

Sammy belongs to Alexander’s Grand-uncle, Michael Glynn McGhee, from Central Queensland. 

Alexander’s Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Francis Glynn Connolly was a member of the committee which met in 1889 to organise the first formally staged campdraft held in Queensland on 9 July 1889, at the old Gayndah racetrack.

SRM Print

About Keer Moriarty 470 Articles
Small town newspaper Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady.