Host: Blina Station
When I tell people that we muster on horses, images of handsome ringers on horseback, dashing helicopter pilots and beautiful McLeod’s Daughter-esque jillaroos with pretty bandannas, tight wrangler jeans and perfect hair may come to mind for some. But often it is a long hard slog, long days in the saddle and hard riding to get the job done. Yes, we are lucky here at Blina, sometimes we have those handsome ringers, dashing helicopter pilots and pretty jillaroos – but most of the time we look like a bunch of ferals on yangs, hooning around the bush trying to bang a mob together in the wattle (god I hate wattle!).
A job as a ringer is not your usual job – you live, eat, sleep and do a very physically demanding job with your workmates. If you don’t shoulder your part of the load, it can sometimes get personal, and yes, things can get bitchy and sometimes we have issues and pettiness in the camp, but that is often the case when you have a group of people from a myriad of backgrounds all slapped together in close quarters.
It really is make or break, out here you learn to lean on one another – friendships are truly forged in fire. Sometimes, your workmate is depending on you whole-heartedly for their safety. If you let go of that back leg while they are cutting a big sappy weaner, you could cause them to slice their hand with a scalpel, or if you aren’t right there in the right spot when they are about to throw a big bullock, they could get seriously hurt. You learn to watch each-others backs, laugh together and blow off steam at one another.
The most important thing is to sometimes let bygones be bygones and even if they’ve let you down during the day, be big enough to have a bit of empathy, understand that one day that might be you in that position, be big enough to have a beer at the end of the day and talk it over if required– or simply forget about it. Sometimes management need to make snap decisions, and yes, sometimes it may be the wrong one- but as a team we need to roll with it. I think the best thing about our job on these big cattle stations is that tomorrow is a new day, no matter how bad today is – you can go to bed, sleep on it and you get a whole ‘nother chance in the morning to give it 110%. We work as a team, and if you are willing to swallow your pride from time to time, it can become a very strong team.
Personally, there have been plenty of times when I just don’t feel like I am good enough, strong enough, tough enough to make a go of it in the cattle industry. There are times when I’ve gotten lost in the wattle or been thrown from my horse or lost a beast and I’ve thought – Jesus, what on earth was I thinking – why did I think I could do this?
If you have that thought, the only thing to do is grit your teeth and squash that self-doubt, you are able to do anything you set your heart to, a little bit of intestinal fortitude and a whole lot of hard work –in my experience, is all it takes to succeed in any situation. Out here it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from – all that matters is that you get out of your swag every morning, put your shoulder to the wheel and work 110% beside your workmates, even better with a smile and a laugh. This is why I love this life, why I came back to it after trying to work in the city, why so many people love this life we live out here in the bush.