Host: Alexandria Station
Written by Narda Grover – Station Services Coordinator, Alexandria Station.
Well it’s a year on from when I last blogged on Central Station, it is also a year on since we moved to Alexandria; now that has gone quick. Stephen and I have well and truly settled into life on a huge station, ‘huge’ as in more land, more cattle, and more staff.
Since we have moved here I haven’t found a day yet where I have said, ‘I’m bored’. That doesn’t happen here, there is always something going on especially during the mustering season. Campdrafting season also clashes with the mustering season, so between working and campdrafting there isn’t a day that goes by that isn’t full on. So by the time you get to the end of the mustering season, summer has started and wet season is just around the corner, and everyone is looking forward to a steadier pace.
My partner Stephen is the Manager here at Alexandria and I have the position of Station Services Coordinator. I coordinate all store ordering, building maintenance, and repairs. I handle any first aid issues with staff and the paperwork, reporting, and follow up that goes with them. At Alexandria we have a building that has been turned into what we called The Clinic. It’s a two room building which includes an office/reception room and an examination room. Each month a travelling doctor and nurse visits the station by plane. They are known as the Barkly Mobile Clinic. They fly in once a month and camp overnight on the station, any staff members that require a doctor’s service, can visit the doctor at the clinic.
The Barkly Mobile Clinic fly in on a RFDS plane once every four weeks from April to November, they visit a number of stations on their four day run across the wide remoteness of the Barkly tablelands. We all feel so fortunate to have such a service visit us here at Alexandria, it makes life so much easier for our older staff members with their medications; it also helps the younger staff that don’t own a vehicle. Their presence every four weeks also gives staff members someone professional to talk to in person if they’re feeling the isolation of station life or struggling with something personal.
This month most of our horsey staff will be heading of to the famous Brunette Races, this function lasts for four days and it is the social outing of the year. It is not only two days of bush horse racing there is also a rodeo, campdraft, and gymkhana and a hold lot of other fun activities. Being the social event of the year on the Barkly Tablelands means that just about every station gives their staff the fours day off work to go and relax, wind down, and recharge the batteries.
We all pack up our swags, saddles, and horses, along with some cooking equipment and we head over to Brunette Race course grounds which is only an hour away from Alexandria. All the big companies have their own camping areas. Ours is a shed with a large BBQ made out of two 44 gallon drums welded together length wise, it is one big-ass BBQ plate. We also have a kitchen sink with water on tap. Along with the shed there is also a toilet block with two showers and two toilets, stables, and paddocks for horses.
It is such a great weekend and everyone gets to know everyone really well. Stephen and I get to mix with the staff on a more social level which is great, especially with the Soudan and Gallipoli crews because we don’t see them as much as the staff who live at Alexandria.
Over the duration of the four days we all help the Brunette Race committee on a roster system with a number of other company properties to clean up and work in the backyards at the campdraft. Everyone works as a team. It is such a social and friendly four days it is always talked about for years later. There is always a yarn or two about someone doing something out of the ordinary that is never forgotten. So if you ever wondering where to travel, put the Brunette Races on your bucket list, the station people are friendly, the laughs will be many, and I can guarantee the weather to be cold and the famous Barkly breeze will be there to greet you.
So take care in our great outback and enjoy the journey.