Host: Liveringa Station
Written by Tom Robertson – Ringer.
I had said my goodbyes and just as I climbed into my ute to point the steering wheel north, a wise man left me with a few parting words: “Go, have the time of your life, but make sure you come back.” After pondering his comment for a few seconds and being none the wiser, I responded with, “What makes you think I won’t be back?” he said, “The north … it’s addictive, it sucks you in.”
It took me no time at all to cotton on to what he meant by this, and if I had dollar for every time those words resonated with me throughout the year, I could have bought Liveringa!
Sunset over the Mouleman wetlands
For me 2015 was supposed to be a sabbatical. Head north, get my fix of the North Australian cattle experience I had heard so much about, come home and settle back into the “real world.” The year seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. Just like that it was November and time to head home. As I drove down the driveway and out the front gate, I knew within myself it wouldn’t be for the last time.
After spending a month at home on the header, and a further six weeks in a truck carting grain around the countryside, I had successfully induced a quarter life crisis trying to decide on my future. I had convinced myself that at 27, being a ringer for another year was not the sensible option. All the while knowing in the back of my mind that all I wanted to do was spend another season in the north.
By this time it was early January 2016. Time was up. I had to make a decision. I was going back. Have I ever doubted the decision I made? Not for a single second. When people ask me what it is that I love about the north, the answer is simple. It’s not just a job it’s a lifestyle.
The sun setting behind one of the hundreds of iconic boab trees.
It’s being able to hang your hat up at the end of the day and know you’ve done a hard day’s work, throw the fishing rod in the back of the ute after work and try your luck with the Barra in snake creek, chuck the cast net out and see if the cherabin are on the go, or share a laugh with the boys after you retrieved that freshy (fresh water crocodile) they had thrown underneath your bed!
Get that thing out of my room!
On a daily basis this job presents you with situations that are truly unique and amazing. Having 1, 2, 3 or sometimes 4 helicopters land in the evening sunset right in front of you as they turn up in preparation for the following days’ musters. Tourists staring in sheer amazement, taking photos and waving as you cross the Fitzroy river in a road train full of cattle, using every bit of the trucks power to pull you ever so slowly out the other side of the river bed,
Pulling the road train over Myroodah Crossing.
Or my personal favourite … throwing the kit off and sliding into the outdoor bath with a cold beer to watch the sun go down or stare at the endless collection of stars above you.
A bath with a view!
It’s the combination of all these small things that make all those long, hot, sweaty, windy, dusty, and slightly chaotic days completely worthwhile, and is the backbone of this amazing lifestyle that keeps us all coming back.