Written by Kylie Savidge – Owner, Southampton Station.
And now to the two legged variety. Oliver joined our crew in September 2014, a young English gamekeeper who had come to Australia for adventures abundant and adventures he has had!!
Olly was given my phone number by a friend of a friend of a friend and after much indecision I thought, what the heck I will ring it! I answered and was rather confused with this very proper British lad who was ringing me about a job. What job? Anyhow it was decided that he would venture out into the wilds of South-western Queensland and join our family on our cattle property.
I am pretty sure he didn’t know what to expect and he took a chance coming to almost the middle of nowhere to work and live with people he had never met.
I had sent him the link to the Central Station site and instructed him to read the blog I had written. Upon reading that there was no stopping him coming and in due course he arrived and was taken to Southampton and introduced to life in the bush. Fortunately for us he LOVED it and although it took a little while for him to warm up to our loud and boisterous family, he soon became an integral part of it. A younger brother to me and an older brother to my children, my Dad’s right hand backpacker and general go to person when jobs needed doing.
Olly’s girlfriend, Sian ( pronounced Sharne), joined us about six weeks later; a beautician from England, which I did think might not go so well but my worries were unfounded as Sian took to outback life like a pro! For a girl who was scared of horses and most other large animals, she very quickly became the resident dog, horse, and goat whisperer!
Sholly (Sian and Olly) settled in well and were enjoying their adventure no end when I received a call from Svenna (Sven and Jenna) our previous pair of backpackers, asking if they could come “home” please. We were in a dilemma! What should we do? I decided I couldn’t say no but told Svenna we had another lot of workers, to which they replied it didn’t matter, they missed us all and wanted to come back before they had to go back to Germany and England respectively.
Now we had four backpackers who all got along famously working for us, everything was ship shape in no time! Whilst I had stopped cutting scrub in March, Dad was still away three times a week pushing mulga for our cattle on agistment. As he is in his early 70’s, having Sholly and Svenna at home was a tremendous help to him and to me, not to mention Mum, knowing that Dad aka the Ninja (Dad has spectacular disappearing and reappearing abilities) was in good hands.
We have been very lucky in the fact that all of our backpackers have been people with a “nothing is too hard” attitude and always willing to try their hand at anything.
Every weekend I would be regaled with their near death experiences (!!!), Ninja-isms (Dad is renowned for his sayings, such as if someone is a little cranky Dad will say,”Hmmm they are all bristles and snout today”), and the general hilarity of having very proper accents trying to discern a laid back Australian drawl and vice versa.
The Ninja explaining the count out to Krystle.
Jack and Olly were avid pig hunters and in general destroyers of all things pest – feral cats, foxes, and pigs didn’t stand a chance. Jack very much enjoyed showing Olly how we hunt in Australia and I think Olly was a very willing participant!
These holidays are the first lot of holidays that we have not had backpackers with us for two and a half years.
I know that I miss Sholly and Svenna a great deal. I miss Olly trying to gross me out (really he didn’t succeed, I have two sons!); Sian and Jenna and our girl talks; and Sven for his IT expertise and fixing Mum’s computer at least twice a week. The care they took of my children when I was working in the paddock was exceptional!
If you have not had the experience of employing backpackers – do it. We have all learnt so much from each other. Exposing each other to each other’s cultures, learning that packet chips are not chips but crisps, broccoli is pronounced brocollie, capsicums are peppers, that Fosters is considered beer!!, that “mingin” is a word meaning icky, learning how to talk with a northern British accent (thanks Sian), and many more little things that will remain with us all forever.
So last but not least let me say thank you to Sian and Olly, Sven and Jenna, Mike and Angela, Ricky and Rheanna, Krystle, Lassie and Sandia, Karljin and Stephen. Thank you all so much for all that you have done. Each and every one of you has a place to pull up stumps in Australia if you ever desire to.