Time off

Host: Farrcombe Contracting
Written by Raine Pugh – Owner, Farrcombe Contracting.

During our time off we are not always tempted by the draws of campdrafting. We are fortunate in that my parents (Bluey and Janelle Pugh) own some land a couple hours west of Katherine. They have owned and operated Coolibah Crocodile Farm for the last 25 years. Situated in a picturesque location on the Victoria River, we have access to some of the best Barramundi fishing in the top end.

Therefore on our down time we often take the crew out to the croc farm for a spot of fishing and to help Mum and Dad with some chores around the farm.

These ‘chores’ include catching one metre crocodiles to take to market in Darwin, help mince meat for their daily feeds, hose out the crocodile pens every morning, hatch baby crocodiles from their eggs in the incubator, the list goes on but is in no way boring.

5.1 copyToby Wrestling with a Saltwater Crocodile ready for market 

5.2 copyJosh in his fancy crocodile catching attire.

Once the jobs are done, there is always fishing on the agenda! We have access to a secret waterhole which hosts bull sharks, stingrays, barramundi, and the occasional sword shark.

For those not so keen on the fishing, there is always a cold beer, a bubbling spa, and an amazing sunset to unwind with. Mum has a green thumb and the garden around the main house is an amazing oasis to escape the heat of the day in.

5.3 copyThe Plant Horses also enjoy some time off at the croc farm.

Like most farm owners Mum and Dad have their share of ‘pets’ on their property. They have chooks, turkeys, pigs, and a dog as well as some of the less common variety such as their pet buffalo ‘Bully’. Bully has been in the family for about 17 years now and strolls around the property as top dog of my retired horse herd. He is very protective of his little herd of four which includes his best mate ‘Vermin’. Vermin is the result of a brumby stallion jumping the fence and ‘knocking up’ one of my mares, he is very unfortunate looking and was broken in when younger but I have not had the time to continue with him. Vermin and Bully are best buddies, they sleep together and even wallow in the mud together. Our visitors are most impressed with the size of Bully’s horns, over the years they have now reached quite an impressive size. He is very quiet and enjoys a scratch above his tail or sucking on strangers kneecaps.

5.4 copyBully the pet Buffalo.

Mum and Dad’s property also serves as our equine rehabilitation and breeding centre. Potter and I send our mares who are due to foal there over the wet season. The feed here is excellent so the mares and foals do well.

More recently my four year old gelding was diagnosed with a broken navicular bone. After consulting five different vets from across the country, we are attempting a miracle recovery with some specialised boots. Therefore, ‘Villian’ is under constant care with my Mum being at his beck and call. He is very well cared for and we are hoping for an outstanding recovery, so far things are looking very positive. Mum and Dad’s dedication to our horses who cannot travel with us is outstanding and we are very fortunate to have their help and expertise in this area.