Host: Myroodah Station
Written by Pam Daniell – Manager, Myroodah Station.
It’s Monday morning on Myroodah Station. The staff have been fed breakfast and packed their smoko and lunch for the day ahead. As daylight breaks, they are off to work. The day for me starts early too. I collect my dogs and walk towards our airstrip. It is mail plane day! Mail arrives once per week on a 12 seater plane that accommodates both mail and even the odd passenger. Although the plane generally does not arrive until late morning, a strip report must be called through prior to 7am or the plane won’t come. This involves a basic check of the strip to ensure no livestock are in the vicinity, checking of the windsock so the pilot can clearly identify wind direction and basically checking the strip is all okay to land on.
Our team of close to 20 staff are doing something a little different today. From our bookkeeper, through to our borerunner and all the stockmen in between – they find themselves in a classroom. Over the coming two days they will undertake a Low Stress Stock Handling School. The majority of the course is hands-on in the cattle yards, but the initial introduction gets underway in our purpose-built training room. It is a costly exercise for businesses such as ours. Not only are we pulling up the mustering program currently underway in one of our busiest months of the year, but also to set aside the funds required in the budget to run a two day workshop such as this is a fair commitment in itself. But the gains far outweigh the costs when the main focus of the next two days will be on helping our staff understand the advantages of handling livestock in a manner that benefits both man and beast . . . More on this tomorrow!
On a clear morning on Myroodah, the view to the north-west is particularly spectacular. It reveals a rugged mountain range at which our closest aboriginal community “Looma” sits at the base of. Looma Community was established in the 1970’s during the time when indigenous people were being moved off pastoral stations and placed in to government built communities. Our oldest employee Roy Juboy is a born and bred Kimberley man and we have the pleasure of employing him on Myroodah Station as our machinery operator. I asked him to share a bit of his story with us.
Roy was born in about 1954 out in the bush on Paradise (an outstation of Liveringa Station), just to the north of Myroodah. During this era, Liveringa and its closest neighbours including Myroodah, Luluigui and Noonkanbah were all sheep stations. Roy spent the first few years of his life with his mother and father who were both doing stockwork on Paradise at the time. At about age four he suffered a bad bout of Rheumatic fever and he could not walk for a period. He went in to Derby to hospital and when he was better was sent straight to Fitzroy Crossing to begin his childhood schooling in the mission. He would not see his parents for the following few years. Roy does not look back fondly of those years at the Mission. He said once school was finished for the day, there were a lot of hard and unpleasant jobs the children had to endure.
Roy completed his primary schooling at the mission in Fitzroy and was also reunited with his mother and a brother when they found him there. He then embarked on his first job at Cherrabun Station to work as a stockman at about age 14. It was a cattle property and by this stage Myroodah and those surrounding it, had moved in to cattle and out of sheep. Roy spent time back working on Myroodah and Luluigui Stations and also enjoyed employment on Nerrima Station in the area.
During this time Roy also met his wife to be, Lynley Skeen. She was living in Derby at the time and eventually they both worked together on Myroodah Sation – Lynley helping her aunty with the cooking and Roy doing stockwork. The first of their five children would be born while they were working and living on Myroodah. Roy and Lynley then moved to Looma when more houses started to be built and the community became more established with a store, office and school (which was relocated from Camballin). While in Looma, Roy became an active member of the regional council representing the Kimberley.
These days Lynley works at the Looma Community School and has done for many years. Roy spent over ten years operating machinery in a few different mines in Western Australia including work in gold, iron ore and gas. In 2012 for the first time in almost 30 years, Roy returned to work at Myroodah as machinery operator mostly working on a grader or loader or driving the truck. He says he enjoys being here close to family and in the bush where he grew up. He is very supportive of the training program that is run on the station providing opportunities to Indigenous people willing to learn the skills needed for work in the cattle industry.
At nearly 60 years old, Roy is only slowing down slightly. He is often seen on dusk striding down the dirt roads surrounding the station getting his daily exercise after sitting on a machine all day. He is always happy and a friendly face to have around and a wonderful role model and respected elder to our younger generation of indigenous staff on the station.