Mabel Creek Station
Mabel Creek Station is approximately 45km West of Coober Pedy, South Australia. It is a grazing property owned by the Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara and currently under sub-lease to Saltbush Ag. It was de-stocked in 1994. Tenders for lease were advertised in 2016 and one accepted. We are unsure when first taken up as a station, possibly after opals were found at Coober Pedy in 1915, although the opal fields didn’t really take off until the 1930’s.
In the 1930’s-40’s it was owned by Alf and Lillian Turner, they ran sheep and had several staff. They went into cattle late in the 1930’s, so got horses to work them (and better horses are needed to manage cattle than sheep). They bred and sold horses too. Mabel Creek was owned by Richard (Dick) Rankine from 1953 to 1986, he ran 21,000 sheep and 1,000 cattle, with the assistance of some staff. Rankine also had other stations in the area. He was known for good horses, sold a lot of horses.
Marty Dodd (1921-2003) was a breaker on Mabel Creek, he wrote an ebook about his experiences. He worked for the Turners for no pay for a decade, then went to work for the Rankines on Ingomar, where he was paid, taking his horses with him. Horses he bred won country races. When the Rankines took over Mabel Creek, Marty returned there to work. He moved to Coober Pedy in his later years.