‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ – A maxim for life

Host: Kadaitcha Pastoral Company
Written by Sam Chisholm

There is something about a cattle station that evokes a primitive disposition from everyone who is lucky enough to step foot over the boundary grid. The rawness of the environment has an enchanting power that casts a spell, which can never be broken.

To an outsider, station people are out of their minds. Who would want to live in that barren emptiness? Slaving all day under the blazing sun with the dust, the flies, the snakes, the spiders, or the 2-hour drive into town to get a KFC family feast and a carton of beer.

A life lived outdoors has taught us to question preconceived ideas. What makes something crazy? What defines happiness? Who gets to tell us what to do? When do we listen?

Working is our way of life, there is no routine, no rulebook, no knockoff time, and every situation is different. We forge ahead with a spades a spade sort of attitude. What if there is no water in the tank? Simple, find the problem and fix it. It doesn’t matter that it’s 2 am, the pump has fallen down the bottom of the borehole and there’s a yard full of perishing weaners. Go build a tool, (which could probably win the New Inventor), fish it out and fill the tank.

This is living at full throttle, possessed souls battling against the odds to carve out a life from this extraordinary part of the world. To survive, to endure, to leave a legacy for the future, its more than a job, it’s a lifestyle.

Come time to ‘play’ we can be found chasing more cows around in circles at a campdraft, trying to kick the ears off a rank horse at the rodeo and staying up all night long so we can make sure that the sun comes up, the same as it does every workday.

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When reintroduced back into ‘normal society’ our ‘normal’ friends step back in horror at the figure standing before them. Sunglasses tan, bronzed up to the elbows with distinctive dark V around the neck, and the rest of the body a pasty white. Hard defined muscles earned by branding a years worth of calves in the cradle and rolling countless hay bales across the flat, ripple underneath a baggy shirt and easy smile. The first 6 beers at the pub were “just to wash the dust down” even though there is not a spec of dust to be found anywhere near the Oak in Double Bay.

It’s curiosity that keeps us coming back, never knowing what will happen next or what you’ll learn about the land or yourself. Chasing curiosity is a dangerous game because it’s hard to know when to stop, but one thing’s for certain, it leads to the greatest experiences of our lives.

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