1936 saw the death of Bill Atkins' boss Tom Walker, leaving him a couple of Contessa Nettle cameras and some debt. He took the business over and turned it into a successful business still thriving today.
Bill became a face everyone new with a nickname mushroom as he kept popping up everywhere to sell photos of their horse winning. To add to his business he started Photoform for the Sunday papers in 1938 and it continued into the next century. Bookmakers also bought photos Photoform photos at the 4 furlong post as well.
When Photofinish cameras were created, he and his son John worked with a firm in Sydney to supply and operate the cameras at the South Australian country meetings.
In the late 1950s’ He started photographing Stallions and Yearlings for Bloodstock Agent David Coles. Every year they would travel all over SA and neighbour States to photograph all the yearlings to be sold that year. The photos were printed in a magazine called The Stock Journal, and supplied to the Breeders for their own promotion.
Being involved in the official side of racing, led he and John to develop a film patrol system to aid the stewards in their decisions. Anything photographic on a racetrack Bill had a finger in, so when TV became popular they developed a closed circuit system in South Australia so punters could look at the odds and view the races.
1970 when Tavel won the Adelaide Cup it was the first time in Australia racetrack photography was done in full colour. The photos were so successful with his son John’s help he changed his operation to full colour overnight.
With the growth of colour photography the companies focus shifted to processing and printing natural colour photos, and the Film Patrol,Video and Photofinish were passed over.
Bill saw his son John’s strength in this area a quickly got out of his way, retiring to Aldinga by the beach. His Grandson, Paul Atkins, now runs the photographic printing business with Computers and Online Services, still with the same goals, deliver a quality product, on time, at all times.
As well as the Matrice award for services to the Thoroughbred Industry, Bill was made a life member of the SAJC and passed away in 2000, leaving a lifetime of racing memories.