Host: Kalyeeda Station
Written by Barb Camp – Owner, Kalyeeda Station.
A common theme in any conversation about the sustainability of outback station life is diversification. After the 2011 live export ban there were many families and businesses that were suddenly faced with the loss of their livelihoods and only source of income. It’s only natural we would want to safeguard our futures and make sure we have alternative sources of income. Not only to look after our families, but the land and livestock relying on us. What seemed to be forgotten when live export was frozen overnight was that the land and livestock did not freeze along with it – cows were still standing in yards looking for hay, and diesel was still needed to drive out and start the bores so they had water. All of this takes money and so we started to look to alternative means of securing income. This has given rise to some wonderful new enterprises in the Kimberley.
Some people have turned to cropping and installed huge pivots to grow their own hay and fodder. Others have opened their homes up as station stays to embrace the growing tourist market in this beautiful part of the world. I’m a great believer in playing to your strengths, and for that reason I have a different plan for diversifying Kalyeeda – I want to set it up as an outback matchmaking service.
I know what you’re thinking – It’s hard enough to find Mr or Miss right in a city where your pool of prospective partners is considerably bigger. Even now in the days of speed dating and Tinder trying to find that one-in-a-million fish in that big ‘ole sea is a challenge. So what are the chances of finding them when that sea suddenly becomes a pond cut off from the rest of the world, with a population of a dozen or so fish?
Maybe that’s just why it works so well. When you work together in a stock camp it can be a little like a pressure cooker. You are with a small group 24/7 in all sorts of circumstances so a lot of the usual dating etiquette and practices go out of the window. You see them sleepy and grumpy after a week of 4am starts, and you see them covered in muck and dust after an 18 hour day. The equivalent of your first date might be driving three hours out into the desert to fix a bore, or riding together in the lead of a mob of cattle – there’s certainly plenty of time to talk, but no time to worry about if your lipstick has smudged or if you should wait three days to text him.
Maybe it’s the magic of the desert stars or maybe there really is something running in the waters of the Fitzroy River, but Kalyeeda seems to be a bit of a hotspot for creating lasting romances – I would even go as far as getting all mushy and saying true love. I’m certainly happy with my own outcome from using the Kalyeeda Outback Dating Service, but don’t just take my word for it – let’s hear some testimonials from some of our other happy customers . . .
Justin and Julie
This lovely couple met while working on the stock camp back in the 1980’s when the North West really was wild and apparently so were the women! ‘What was the moment you realised you’d found someone special?’ I ask. Kalyeeda’s resident horse guru recalls the time he watched his feisty cowgirl ride off on her horse into the scrub chasing a rogue cow only to emerge from the other side of the bush riding a few minutes later sitting on the cow instead – she was so determined she would not give up and lose the beast. Justin’s eyes get a sparkle when he talks of Julie’s fighting spirit and determination. ‘She’s one tough girl’ he told me.
Josh and Emma
Described by many as ‘the most perfectly suited pair’ This beautiful couple met at Kalyeeda more than ten years ago when Emma was the station cook and Josh was head stockman. The talented bush-poet and his beautiful lady are now married and raising their two gorgeous kids the outback way.
James and Sarah
A chippy and a student nurse – James and Sarah met when they worked the stock camp together in 2012. They first bonded with their shared passion for racehorses, then love blossomed as they grasped for each other’s hands while falling off their horses’ bums trying to pose for the above photo . . . just kidding! They now live in New Zealand where they are featured regularly in the best dressed pages in the society mail.
Jeremy and Angharad
The Welsh city girl with a Masters in chemistry met the professional Kiwi feral with a degree in agribusiness he’d rather not mention in the 2013 stock camp. It was a learning curve for both of them. He taught her to ride a motorbike, she taught him how to make a salad dressing. Beautiful. This comedy-act duo continue to keep it real where ever they travel, be it playing cricket on the lawns of England or busking on the streets of Christchurch.
It worked for German backpacker Diane like a letter to Santa. She requested a tall, good looking Aussie bloke on the store order one month and then fell in love Darren the local mechanic who brought the boxes of veggies out to us. Two years down the track they’re still madly in love and she’s helping him run his business in Broome.
What will 2015 bring? Will the magic of the muster bind another young couple together in the hobbles of love? Perhaps you would like to feature in the Kalyeeda Outback Dating Experience and would like some more information of this nascent business enterprise?
Watch this space.
NOTE: I pitched the idea of Kalyeeda Outback Dating Service to my father in law – big boss Peter Camp. As I see it all we would need to do would be to tweak the wording of our ‘stockperson wanted’ advert and perhaps ask applicants to enclose a photo then we could start charging for our services! Unfortunately, Peter was not particularly receptive to the idea.
Peter Camp would like it to be known he will not be hiring staff based on romantic availability. He prefers to hire based on such characteristics as a good attitude, appropriate experience, and enthusiasm. Other attributes he looks for in a prospective stockperson include physical capability, good sense of humour, and a love of animals.
. . . is it just me or do the attributes of a good ringer sound quite similar to what you see written time and time again on the ‘searching for’ section of the dating websites? . . .