Host: Kalyeeda Station
Written by Barb Camp – Station Hand, Kalyeeda Station.
We call it club Kalyeeda, and to be honest, it’s a bit of a big deal. They say the crew that parties together stays together and I know I’ve partied with some of the best friends you could hope to meet on the verandah out at Kalyeeda. When you work from sparrow’s fart to past dark day in day out with the same crowd – love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’re gonna get close. And what you tend to find after living in each others pocket’s for that length of time you learn to love each other like some sort of weird family. We sometimes considered that instead of advertising for stock workers on the station we should put it out there as a dating camp – there’s been more than a few couples started their lives together while sitting around the campfire at Kalyeeda!
The social side of station life moves in a spiral. Firstly, there’s your core unit – the workers. With up to eight people using one shower of an evening it is a bit of a ritual to sit and have a cold beer while waiting your turn. It’s the perfect way to end a hard day – sitting around covered in red dirt and comparing stories from the day. With 5 o’clock starts being the norm we generally all hit our beds straight after dinner.
Things are a bit different on Saturday nights – that’s when Club Kalyeeda opens its doors. After a long week of work in the dust and sun, and looking forward to a relaxing Sunday off fishing or watching movies in the air con, people tend to linger on for a chat after dinner. Whether it’s sitting around having a few beers on the verandah in the warm weather, or huddled around a bonfire when the desert chill sets in its always good to have a gossip with your mates.
Usually there’s music – a bit of country and western always goes down a treat. Sometimes we’re lucky and there’s someone who can play a guitar. Sam, one of the 2014 ringers wrote a brilliant song about his time on Kalyeeda that’s well worth checking out . . .
Sometimes Club Kalyeeda gets a bit wilder. We’ve had some awesome nights riding practice bucking bulls made out of 44-gallon drums set on big suspension coils, or climbing the house water tank to check out the sunrise after a long night partying.
The social circle spirals out more when you meet up with the other stations. When there’s a bit of a lull in the mustering we might get some time to get off the property for a proper catch up with other people in the area. Our next-door neighbours are Nerrimah station – a mere 40 minute drive away. They host an annual cricket match for the local crowd. Its a long day of hard-out rivalry followed by an awesome barbeque of home-grown beef – a great day’s wind up at the end of the season.
But the gold standard of station socialization will always be the rodeos. Whether you watch or participate, this is where you catch up with other ringers, make friends, let your hair down, and blow off some steam. Almost everyone who has worked on Kalyeeda has had a go at riding a steer at a rodeo. Some, like me, have a two-second career at rough riding before they meet the dirt and decide it isn’t for them. Others, like my far more athletic husband, carry on and chase eight seconds of glory and the elusive belt buckle awarded to the cowboy (or girl) who can hang on in style for eight seconds.
Either way, rodeos are a great way of catching up with mates or making new ones in an area where there’s no phone reception to be constantly making Facebook status updates or cruising Tinder. It’s the ultimate weekend getaway after weeks of only interacting with the same half dozen people.
Funny though – when you do make it out into the wide world, you always end up gravitating back to your crew. That’s what Club Kalyeeda’s all about.