A day in the life of a Jillaroo on Anna Plains Station

Host: Anna Plains Station
Written by Helen Stoate – Owner, Anna Plains Station.

A typical day at Anna is a long and exhausting one.

Up at 4:45am to get ready, the clothes sorting to determine what’s dirty and what’s not starts. This is followed by slapping on makeup and trying to tame my hair into something that doesn’t resemble an afro. At this point I’m finally awake, ready to brush my teeth, and shuffle over to breakfast.

After a 5:30 buffet breakfast with a food baby on board, plus coffee, we are told the day’s activities by the head stockman and we are off on our merry way.

Come 8:00 we are settled and working hard. It is mustering one day, fencing the next. Walking out cattle, ear tagging calves, putting out fires, and wading through mud knee deep is included in the job description, with the occasional pregnancy diagnosis of cows to liven the day up. Here I suggest doing your washing that day, not four days later.

We have regular smokos and lunch is from 12:00-1:00, so we can tune into the Country Hour. We park our backsides and scoff food like we haven’t eaten in weeks. Being spoilt, we hook into beautiful gourmet wraps and brownies with a diet coke in hand. Bellies full we get up and begin the hard slog again.

Come 3:00pm, we are now smashing through the work with thoughts of our first beer motivating us. Often at this time of day, you look back and realize how much you have done and learned, a proud but tiring moment.

At knock off time the crew is well exhausted. Pulling into the homestead it is time to fill our water bottles for the next day, have a shower, and crack open a Matsos. After the 7:00 dinner is had, the crew relax together and chat, talking of the day’s activities and having a good laugh before heading off to bed around 9-9:30, a long day behind us.

Mrs Boss always quotes that there is never a dull moment on Anna, she is definitely not wrong. So after all this hectic hard work, the question left to ask is why? Why relocate to a remote station to do long days in the middle of nowhere for a season? The answer is simple – we love what we do. From showering with frogs to “bush bathroom stops” it is all worth it. Crawling into bed feeling like you have done something with meaning makes for an easy sleep.

Though station work can be tough, we get treated too. On Anna, the crew recently spent an afternoon tagging birds for research. Travels to Cape Missiessy (the northern most point of 80 mile beach) for a picnic or along the beach for a sunset are often taken, and occasionally we get spoilt with Cornettos from Sandfire roadhouse. Whether it’s people going buttocks up in the mud or having a dirt moustache and dust monobrow in the mirror looking back at you the atmosphere is always fun and entertaining.

So after another truly exhausting day spent working on the Plains, I can sit here in dirty jeans, eyes falling out of my head with a fro underneath my cap and assure you, there is no rocking needed.