A blessed childhood on a cattle station – part two

Host: Noreena Downs Station
Written by Kate Paull – Owner, Noreena Downs Station.

Today’s post follows yesterday’s post about growing up on a cattle station.

Poddy Calves – I remember our first poddy Bobby that Dad gave us – when she grew up we used to ride her around. Us kids loved poddies, we would set up makeshift pens under the old tank stand, yard the poddies up and draft them into god knows what, then we would try and ride around on a few of the bigger ones, but the majority of the poddies were not in for this idea.

3.3 copyKate and Cobba.

Hurdles – We used to set up our old shearers cyclone beds on their side and pretend we were horses and jump them at a flat out run, pretty easy to do but not funny when you hit your shin still have a few of my scars today. I remember when we were started at boarding school and were in training for sports carnivals and myself and either Nif or Chook got comments on our good hurdling skills . . . when asked by the sports teacher were we learnt that level – um let’s say I don’t think the real story was well received. We also use to set the cyclone beds up with different courses and jumps with other things lying about.

Old mattress – NEVER leave a mattress outside in full view buggered or not with the Paull kids about, trampoline or bouncy castle for us. We may have wrecked a few.

Rubbish Tip – Countless fossicking for broken crockery, coins, steel, and whatever else takes a kid’s fancy, making things such as bang bang sticks (guns), dragging old items back to the homestead to have Mum yell at us “take it back there is enough junk lying around as it is” . . . “it’s not junk it looks great or useful Mum!”.
Old Ausin Champ army vehicles were always good fun to play in albeit they weren’t going anywhere.

North Flat – This used to be an Aboriginal camp back in the day; collection of coins, matchboxes, marbles, bottles, and old crockery all to be carted back to the old cook house and checked out, then of course we would play with the old Metter stove. We also used to hide money and trinkets in jars, rags, and boxes out on this flat normally in the wash only to be dug up a not long after one day to three weeks, except I am pretty sure there is one we have not retrieved maybe our own future children will find it.

Dolls and Toys – We had a few stuffed toys, a few that I remember are Possum and Golly the gollywogever. Never let Niffy near your dolls she massacres them! My bendable arm and leg barbie called Rosie, which was pretty unique I thought, was no longer once my darling sibling got hold of it! Wires broken, no leg, and then all those glorious locks cut off . . . yeah skin head barbie little devil, last time I let Nif near my toys!

Visitors – We used to love it when people visited, Woggles who is a cattle truck driver that we use these days, used to come out and give Dad a hand mustering. Well when he came he was extra special, he used to bring us kids a mine satchel bag full of lollies, we were allowed one lolly a day and two if we were extra good, I will never forget that special little treat. Once the army came out and they were tracking down the opposition – ‘the badees’, us kids had them ultimately distracted they showed us through vehicles, and other cool gear and gave us ration packs which we thought were the bee’s knees.

Horse riding – We used to have a bombproof horse called Cherry, she was a piebald, god that horse put up with some shit from us kids. We also used to have two that were best mates called Lady and Jane, Jane was an old racehorse but such an old sweetheart and if we could climb up her legs we were right for the ride, then old Lady a quarter horse . . . well she used to have an imaginary line that once she got to it would never cross it come hell or high water. When we got older and we had a few other horses such as Activity and Bricks we would go for longer rides and if it had rained we would take our horses down the creek and go swimming with them.

3.5 copyNiffy riding Cherry and Kate leading.

Adventures with Dad –  Sooo much fun to be had when you were with Dad, he used to take us on a windmill run, mustering in the buggy with him, going to fix things, or just off investigating things. We used to think it was all pretty good fun though and loved helping him, we would be driving along and if we saw some cattle and they took off (had a few wild lady’s back in the day) Dad would be automatically off the road and straight over to them to block them up (stop them) as this would teach the cattle to pull up and stop which is pretty important in education of cattle. To this day that action has payed off for us within our cattle, they are easy to handle, and very easy to block with a bike, buggy, helicopter, horse, and probably even with your pet duck if you wanted to. Also on our drive with Dad we used to play “I see the cattle first”, yep four kids on constant alert scanning for cattle just so we could excitedly tell Dad we saw them first.

3.6 copyDad and Niffy.

Bicycles on rims – Now if you ever get a flat tyre on your bicycle and you can’t mend it well problem solved, rip the tyre and tube off so you can ride on the rim, this always happened to our bikes, to get the best speed up we used to start at the top of the hill near the house then go flat cookie and at the end take a sharp left hand turn or hit the fence – poor MUM!

Mustering the cattle away from house mill – We use to round up the cattle on foot at the house windmill and walk them out on the cattle pads like a proper mustering team until we got CAUGHT by Dad one day, we were in mega trouble, what can I say we were meant to be musterers!

Get rid of the governess quick smart – We were awful to our governesses that Mum bought in to give her a hand as she was a busy lady my mother – schooling us, mustering, and feeding four children and a stock camp and doing the bookwork – what a champion. But us kids didn’t like governesses so it was our thing to see how long it took to get rid of them with all our naughty little pranks, I think only one governess handled us and that was Georgie from the UK, she had us stumped but we also liked her.

Well with this little story I have relayed to you all it near on sounds like I am stuck in my childhood due to my memory of it, I suppose I am one very grateful person to have grown up on Noreena and cherish what I used to get up to and spend so much time with my siblings. I wouldn’t trade anything for my childhood and my siblings and I are all very proud to be involved in station life and agriculture as our childhood had made us appreciate it.