Historic Kilkivan ride was family's destiny

THE late Fabian Webb was a great one for getting things started, including helping establish the Gympie Music Muster.

But he did not know the half of it when he started the Kilkivan Great Horse Ride 30 years ago.

The now famous ride has been renamed the Fabian Webb Memorial Ride for 2015.

It is an institution which has weathered momentous changes in Queensland rich history, becoming also a big part of his family's history - and its future.

It is, for example, where his grandchildren Matthew and Clare came from.

"Me and my wife met there," Anthony Webb revealed yesterday.

The only son of Fabian and Tanda Webb, Anthony will be in today's ride and, as he recalled, it has always been very much a family affair.

Recalling his first meeting with wife Helen, he said: "Joe Mooney Snr brought his daughter to be on the ride.

"He asked Fabian to keep an eye on her as she wasn't overly confident on a horse.

"I volunteered to help look after her and the rest is history.

"Jane-Anne (my sister), she was always in it too and supporting it. She'd always look after Dad's horse before and after the ride.

"Dad was with the dignitaries and she'd make sure they were watered.

"Dad was president for 20 years."

FIRST TIMER: 75-year-old Bruce Burnham has arrived from Bonnie Doone station near Monto to ride in his first Kilkivan Horse Ride in honour of Fabian Webb. Riding with Bruce will be his 15-year-old granddaughter Ysa Burnham.
FIRST TIMER: 75-year-old Bruce Burnham has arrived from Bonnie Doone station near Monto to ride in his first Kilkivan Horse Ride in honour of Fabian Webb. Riding with Bruce will be his 15-year-old granddaughter Ysa Burnham. Greg Miller

Fabian Webb was a rare combination; a farmer happy with his own company, but also a people person, Anthony said.

"He wanted me to help with the ride, but I'm not the same person he was.

"I'm quite comfortable with my own company, but dad was a people person as well.

"I think it had something to do with coming from a family of eight.

"We moved up to Biloela in 1993 - bought a place up there and still had cattle at Thornside, back and forth a bit - always helping out with Dad and horse rides."

"Mum always did a lot of the work on the ride.

"And the ride has done a lot for a lot of people.

"It did a lot for the town of Kilkivan and people around it; helped the whole district in many ways.

"Dad had this knack of coming up with these community ideas and people would follow him.

"He had a way with him. It's amazing the nice things people said when he was ill.

"He didn't offend people - had everyone striving for the same purpose.

"And there's always the night before and the night after.

"Clare was about nine when she last rode."

Tanda Webb was yesterday flat out with organisational details.

"We're all looking forward to it. It looks like being a big success.

"But you never know what will happen or what the numbers will be like until they all turn up," she said.

Gympie Times


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