We have been enjoying a special privilege, visiting one of the vast Outback Stations and at this time of year they are finishing the rounding up cattle for market before the Big Wet arrives, it is almost the end of ‘mustering’ time. This is a time in the Kimberley when the land promises its bounty under the duress of flooding rains, humid heat and scorching sun and before this bounty arrives, the market cattle need to be shipped out and the ‘keepers’ settled in to fatten over the season of abundance.
Anna Plains is a vast holding that is bordered by the Indian Ocean on the Kimberley Coast south of Broome in Western Australia. The Station is over 3,600 sq klm and runs about 20,000+ head of cattle. It is currently owned by a Aussie family and is a fully operational cattle station. The seasonal workers are made up of backpackers on work visa’s and a sprinkling of Aussies who know how to live the life. Amongst them is one of my nieces and she truly is living a dream.
It is a pity more Aussies don’t get out here onto our land and learn something of the country, that which nurtures them. Living the Station life is really something special and we have a few members of our family who have ventured into the new and unknown and are loving the experience, learning about their country like too few do. They have honed up on a few necessary skills but at large, they learn as they go.
Camping along the shores and anywhere on the station is not a public right but a right governed by the leaseholder and permission should be sort before accessing the lease-land for recreational purposes, including the extensive beach reserves. Anna Plains is a vast plain on which sits the main homestead. The homestead hosts the occasional guest as do many and everyone enjoys the adventure of the beautiful 80 mile beach, which forms the western boundary as well the experience of the hard working remote cattle station.
We found our stay really lovely. The shady trees and green grass around the Homestead very welcome as the summer heat begins it move across the land. The entertainment of the mustered cattle grazing in the large muster paddock along with the pet camel was wonderful and we felt very welcome as family and guests.
The station hands were working hard during our stay and the kitchen running full time catering for the staff however the friendly attitude was delicious and we had a wonderful few days. Helping out where we could we largely tried to keep out of everyone’s way as they went about the business of keeping a well oiled machine running. Nothing was a chore and I can’t understand why more of our young folk don’t take up the experience of station life.
Knowing how many kids these days whine about the lack of employment it leaves me shaking my head and thinking this is really the generation of the sense of entitlement. It will be a sorry thing to see this generation as life passes them by and destiny catches up with them. There is just so much opportunity out here for the young and willing worker and seeking the young station team in action was a real pleasure. The enjoyment and satisfaction they got out of their work was also a delight to witness and it really gives you a sense of faith in the future for these great hardworking young men and women.
We took the opportunity to tour about the station some and one of the delights was to play about in the warm waters along the beach. The vastness of the station was breathtaking and the view from a bluff simply awesome as the Station holding takes in everything that can be seen into the horizon and beyond.
Even the pups had a ball and the fine white sands and beautiful shells scattered along the beach were a special delight. The birds have migrated in and were feeding along the shoreline as the king herring skipped through the waves looking to escape becoming part of the food chain.
These young men and women I see around me working the stations are happy. It is hard work but it is infinitely rewarding and I envy them their youth and vitality. Nothing can describe the experience they are having, the freedoms it affords them and the rewards that come with a job well done which can be so satisfying. To see so many young people, many working their way around Australia, enjoying a unique experience such as found in Station life is in itself a reward. I can honestly say I am green with envy of the opportunities life has to offer the young of today. If only they seek out the many wonderful experiences to be had.
Jan is an Author and traveller. Join her in her journey on Facebook or you can find out more about her fictional books on Australian Aboriginal Lore.
The Dreaming Series and The Spirit Children Series are stories of the Featherfoot, or the journey of young men and women into an ancient Lore. Available in ebook and print they are tales and legend bought together in a unique story. Part of the telling is Jan’s extensive research into what is the most ancient Lore on the planet, still practiced quietly today in remote and contemporary Australia.