A northern opportunity

Host: Isolated Children’s Parent’s Association
Written by: Jessica Dodwell

Save the date for the 2017 Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Federal Conference to be held in Alice Springs, August 2-3. Hosted by the Alice Springs Branch, this promises to be a great conference in true Territory style. Find all information at this link: http://icpa.com.au/events/view/79/2017-federal-icpa-conference 


I am a governess on the property ‘Bibil’ situated 200km north of Longreach, centre of Queensland. I school two children, Madison (grade 6) and Wyatt (grade 4) along with working on the station that their parents Ben and Jaye own. ‘Bibil’ is 46,000 acres in size, which holds their Brahman stud.

Being a governess means I help the children in the school room with their subjects because they are too isolated to join a State school each day. Sometimes I am lucky enough to help out on the station of an afternoon consisting of mustering and other cattle work.

My family home with a chimney. Very different to the Bibil homestead.

I was 18 turning 19 when I first found out about the job. I had lived and went to school in Cootamundra, NSW, all my life and when my younger sister told me about Jaye’s post on Facebook looking for a governess and I instantly applied. In October 2015 I met Ben, Jaye, and the kids at Warwick campdraft and had a day in the schoolroom with Madison and Wyatt to see what it was like. I enjoyed this part and was excited about what it would be like up north if I got the job. Once I was given the job, I started telling my family and friends about the 20 hour trip up to Queensland I would make for a new lifestyle. I was extremely excited but super nervous as well. I knew no one up here and I knew that the lifestyle and climate would be completely different to what I was used to.

My family in Cootamundra.

I come from a campdrafting family so I had that in common with Jaye, Ben and Madison. Wyatt not so much, as he loves machinery. I completed grade 12 and my Certificate 3 in Child Care. During school I worked at the RSL club cooking in the kitchen at nights and then my first year out of school I continued with cooking at the club but also worked full time at a child care. I have always wanted to be a teacher and what better way to get teaching experience than being a governess?

I’ll be honest, the heat nearly killed me but I wanted to prove to not only my friends and family but to myself that I could do this. And I did. I am in my second year of governessing with the same family and still loving it. It can be hard and test your patience some days, but at the end of the day I love this family and what I do. It was the best decision I made to move away from home and learn to be independent. I have made so many life long friends and Jaye and Ben are amazing to work for.

I love being able to spend quality time with Wyatt and Madison on weekends and after the school work is done.

I have definitely changed as a person, being up here has made me work more and appreciate the little things that I took for granted or didn’t realise when I was down home. I love how it is so remote up here and you have to learn to be alone, and I think that’s the best quality I have gained from being up here. Not relying on anybody, and this is only because it is so remote and you have no phone reception. I have gained so many new qualities and have learnt a lot of new ways on how to do things around the station which will of course benefit me throughout life.

This is the life!

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