Host: Springvale Station (Yeeda Pastoral Co.)
Written by Aelwynn – Cook, Yeeda Pastoral Company.
Back home in Canada if you ask people whether they know what mustering is, most people will raise their eyebrows and not know how to answer. I was the same about a year and a half ago, before I was hired at Springvale Station for a position as the station cook.
Originally just looking for a short term position, I am now well into my second year here. Working at Springvale has introduced me to a world I was completely ignorant to, especially coming from a life of living and working in major cities such as Toronto and New York City.
What really blew me away at the beginning was the number of cattle and the size of the property that Springvale encompasses. Springvale has between 35,000-45,000 cattle and the property is close to two million acres in the Western Australian Kimberley. The landscape with the stunning rock formations, beautiful creeks, as well as the astounding sunrises and sunsets also made me understand why this area is an outback tourist destination.
During my time here, I have prepared countless meals for hungry workers in kitchens and over fires in the bush. I love trying new recipes and the favourites amongst the workers are being compiled to go in a future cookbook that I intend to publish.
Along with cooking I have also been able to take part in everything from yard work, to fencing, fighting fires to feeding calves. More recently, I gave strapping bulls and mustering on horseback a try. Where else in the world can you get a job where you can experience so much!
Strapping the bull was one of the most adrenaline filled moments of my life and mustering in general is an impressive process that I am so happy that I have been able to take part in. Watching the hundreds of cattle filter into the yards, with dust flying up in the air everywhere just as the sun goes down is a beautiful thing to watch. Being able to take part in mustering cattle on horseback in particular, is something that I fell in love with right away. The longest ride I had completed before was an hour long, english style, in a well groomed ring or trail. Completely different to riding western, over rocks, gulleys, through bush and the partially dried up creeks like we tackled the other day. Let alone while keeping cattle moving and in line for five hours. Needless to say I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to do it again!
The Station Manager Dave Deighton who has been working in this industry throughout his entire life is the one who ensures Springvale runs effectively. He has taught not only me, but all of the workers the ins and outs of how to make this station run well.
He is a portal of knowledge, experience, and has the most genuine personality I have ever come across. Dave walked me through the bull strapping, fire fighting, and mustering as well as a few traditional Aussie recipes. These are just a few of the reasons why he won my heart as well.
It was a major life shift moving to Springvale Station to live and work however, one I will never regret. Now, I can proudly say I am one of the few Canadians that can tell you what cattle mustering is all about!