A Headstockwoman

Host: Alexandria Station
Written by Stacey Haucke – Head Stockwoman, Alexandria Station.

Hi my name is Stacey Haucke. My job title is Head Stockperson of the stock camp here at Alexandria.

Home for me is Heidelberg Station, a couple hours west of Bowen (QLD) in the hills not far from Burdekin Dam. The complete opposite to the flat of Alex! My parents have always been on stations. My sister and I were Dad’s number one ringers from early on, or so we thought anyway!

4.1 Stacey Haucke copyStacey Haucke

What’s it like being a female headstockperson on Australia’s second largest cattle station? For me it’s a challenge that I do enjoy. To begin with, the size and the number of people here was a little bit overwhelming. I have a camp of six people, most of them are girls which I think is great and I’d like to think we could give the boys a fair run for their money!!

4.2 some of the stockcamp feeding the poddy copySome of the stockcamp feeding the poddy.

The people in my camp have come all over Australia. One’s from South Australia, a few from New South Wales, a Queenslander, and one that’s from both Queensland and New South Wales, kind of! There have also been a couple of Western Australians.

4.3 Plant horses out at camp copyPlant horses out at camp.

Being in the stockcamp, we have spent a lot of time out at “camp” this year. We have a truck that carries a water tank, lighting plant, diesel, avgas (for the aircraft), horse feed, fencing gear, saddles etc. This truck also tows a kitchen van. We have a couple truckloads of horses, motorbikes, and our stockcamp poddy calf (who thinks she’s a dog!) and we’re away. Some of the yards we stay at have a shower and toilet block while others only have a hole in the ground for the toilet and we’ve taken the “shower trailer” out. There’s a shed at each camp as well for everyone to camp in. There have been some lovely cold mornings while we’ve been out. The one degree temperature plus the wind chill factor makes it pretty hard to crawl out of your swag!!

4.4 early morning - Ready to start drafting copyEarly morning – Ready to start drafting.

We generally go out to camp for two to three weeks stints. This usually gets us to finishing the paddock or paddocks at that particular set of yards. Our job while out is to draft the weaners off the cows, these are then trucked back to the yards at Alex house for the weaner camp. We also pull off cull cows in some paddocks and cut any bull calves that come through. At one particular set of yards we had to scruff the calves, this was pretty funny to start with until everyone got the hang of it!

We’ve finished mustering the commercials and are now doing stud heifers. There’s a mob of meatworkers going soon too, so we are back in at the house for the rest of the year now. There’s lick runs, fencing, bore mechanic off siding, and all the general bits and pieces to go on as well as a couple campdrafts coming up.

The bit I really enjoy about my job is helping people pick up new skills and seeing their confidence grow with it. This year I have taught most of my camp how to shoe a horse, there’s been a couple who’ve learnt to ride a motorbike as well. The Barkly holey ground sorted us all out pretty quickly, while shoeing was met with a few grumbles until everyone got the hang of it!

What made me become a headstockperson? Well I guess it was a natural progression for me, I’ve made a career in the cattle industry and I’m not quitting it anytime soon. To be able to say that I’ve run the stockcamp on Alexandria is to me an achievement in itself as I’ve come in straight up this year as a head stockperson. In this industry I think that there is still a lot of that “oh but you’re a girl” attitude getting around and we have to work that much harder sometimes to get recognition. For me to say I’ve done this, maybe it might convince another girl somewhere along the way to stick with it.

4.4 Some of the Stockcamp girls on their breakers copySome of the stock camp girls on their breakers.

This year at Alex so far has been a challenging and interesting one. There have been ups and downs with it but I wouldn’t trade the opportunity I’ve been given this year! I wasn’t overly excited about going to work on the Barkly, there’s holes and cracks in the ground everywhere that are rough going on a horse and motorbike, and the wind in winter is down and out rude, but you’ll fall in love with the sky pretty damn quick! The sunsets and sunrises as well as the stars at night in this part of the world are in a league of their own!!!

4.6 At a days end. copyAt a day’s end.

I’ll be fronting up for another year of big sunrises and sunsets next year too!! Hope you enjoyed reading my first ever blog and hopefully I’ve given you a small insight to my job and Alex stock camp. One last note – Thank you to Shelby, who’s a keen photographer in the stock camp crew and has kindly let me use some of her photos.

Thanks again,