Host: Helen Springs Station
Written by Sally Towne – Manager, Helen Springs Station.
Hello my name is Tom Hall, I am currently employed as a station hand at Helen Springs station which is owned by S. Kidman & Co. I began my journey in the northern cattle industry at the beginning of 2013 when I first arrived at Helen. I enjoy the lifestyle that Helen Springs has to offer and the countless learning opportunities provided to me and the other staff here. It has taught me invaluable life skills and given me the opportunity to push myself further by enhancing the skills I already have learnt from experiences within our industry.
Working at Helen has given me the opportunity to learn so much from Chris and Sally Towne. Chris teaches me the valuable skills with all the things involved with my job . . . from working with horses to the low stress management of cattle across Helen and Brunchilly. Being able to work with cattle in this environment allows them to be handled in an easier manner, effectively reducing the stress to both animal and human. Chris and Sally have also taught me countless things about horses and are always putting an effort into the staff here, pushing them to become the best horseman and person they can be.
Station life at Helen is great, the crew here help create such a “homey” vibe so we all manage to fit in and become a much bigger part of the family.
I hope that this year that I will continue to learn and become a better stockman, horseman, and person. With such a great network of people and senior staff around here at Helen to learn from, I hope that I will progress and reach my goal of becoming a head stockman in the future.
Tom Hall riding Labedo.
Tom Hall riding station horse Labedo to be winner at the Brunette Jackaroo Draft.
Tom Hall winner of the Harry Redford Trophy riding Station bred horse Labedo.
Tom shaping a shoe at the Bill Hutton shoeing school.
Hi my name is Claudia Hunter, I have been working at Helen Springs/Brunchilly coming on three years now and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
My job title is station hand so my day consists of waking up any time between 3:15 and 5:15. I usually get to the kitchen a half an hour earlier than breakfast time as I generally pack a lunch for the day. I pack a sandwich, a handful of biscuits, and a couple of apples or oranges. You never know when your next feed will be!
Throughout being here I have also helped out in the kitchen, cooking for numbers up to 20. And camp cooking which I thoroughly enjoy, it’s always good to change things up a bit.
A big thing I love about working for Chris and Sal is their passion for horses and camp drafting. Luckily when they go to a camp draft the stock camp is allowed to take a couple of station horses along too and compete. Each of the returning staff have been given young horses to work. I have learnt a lot about horses just by working here, a lot of patience is needed that’s for sure.
Another thing I love is that although we are isolated we still have a lot of fun between the stations; we are only 2ookm from a water hole, where we spend a few weekends skiing and tubing. We throw events for Melbourne Cup or birthdays. There are also many training schools held for staff including Shoeing with Billy Hutton, First Aid, Horsemanship with Wayne and Rachael Bean, and Fire-fighting. Helen Springs and Brunchilly are very family orientated.
My goal is to one day run a camp of my own and eventually manage a station. I love helping the people that are still learning or are finding things a bit hard to get their head around.
All the best, Claudia. xx
Campdrafting station horse Accelerate.
Competing in a steer ride.
Claudia with her beloved horses.
Claudia having quiet time with one of her young horses.
I first came by Helen Springs and Brunchilly when I started off as a governess fresh from school. With the world at my feet I set off to the Territory. With a love of horses the grass seemed greener on the other side of the fence . . . so I transferred to the stock camp.
Although the first few months were quite daunting not to mention exhausting and thrilling at the same time, my skills increased and I’ve had a lot of experiences. Some I’d like to forget (Character building!! As I like to say . . .) and others I will treasure forever: The laughs that would ring out from the Rec. club, the cattle yards, Camp drafts we attended, weekends away, or just the Tequila Donkey ride!!
Having had the most challenging and exciting year of my life, I have returned to the Barkly. One thing that station life has to offer is the Barkly Gold Rush Campdraft, the Barkly Beef Dinner, Brunette Downs Races, and our wonderful Melbourne Cup party at Brunchilly . . . just to mention a few.
With thanks to the wonderful managers of Helen Springs, Chris and Sally Towne and Luke Giblin of Brunchilly, for providing me with the opportunity to be part of this team and a start for my career in the cattle industry.
Em Bambling walking in the lead of a mob of cattle.
Emm Bambling attending the Bill Hutton shoeing school.
All my life I have wanted to work with cattle and horses up North. Being in a generational beef producing family, it’s safe to say that it’s in my blood. Once I finished my studies at an agricultural college, I found a job as a ringer on a station near Kununurra. After seven months there I decided to finish the rest of the season elsewhere. Through a wonderful friend I was put into contact with Sally Towne, and ever since then I have loved working on Brunchilly and Helen Springs.
Most of the mustering season consists of either spending the day in the saddle walking cattle, branding, drafting, and on the more quiet days fencing. Although I love this industry it’s no walk in the park with all the flies, dust, exhaustion, sweat, and tears. I have never sat down at the end of the day and thought “Why am I doing this?” It’s always been “That was a tough day but we made it through with a smile on our faces”. Being a female ringer is not easy due to not being as strong as the boys but as a group we are able to get the job done.
Jenna, Em, and Claudia taking time out from branding.
Thirsty cattle all lined up for a drink after a long walk.
Jenna walking behind a mob of cattle.