A Letter of Thanks

Host: Montejinni Station
Written by Amanda Brown – Managers Assistant, Montejinni Station.

I don’t think too many people would have given a girl like me a start eight years ago, and I find it hard to express how thankful I am that someone did.

I’ll give you a bit of an idea. I hail from Calgary, Alberta, Canada – born and raised in a city of 1.2 million plus people and I loved it. I really embodied a city girl, I loved getting my hair/nails done, tanning beds, daily gym visits, good coffee, great food, night clubs, busy streets, and so on. My parents moved to a small farm about 50km outside of Calgary when I was 18 – I was in the midst of getting my post-secondary education and I could not think of anything worse that moving out of town with them (so I didn’t). I had big dreams of travelling the world and having an amazing successful career, and being an independent, strong and successful woman. So to ensure these dreams came true I went to our local trade school after graduating high school and in two years’ time came out with a diploma in professional cookery. At the tender age of 21, armed with a trade and three years’ worth of savings from multiple part and full time jobs I hugged my family and friends goodbye and hopped on an air-plane bound for Australia.

After a few months of enjoying the sun and sand of the Gold Coast I landed myself a job on an island off the coast of central Queensland and it was with this company that I got sponsored for permanent residency and how I eventually ended up in the outback.

Yes, I lived here.

I think you are getting the picture now about the kind of gal I was pre-outback, and here is where my bush story starts . . .

I have no idea how I was tolerated on the first station I was on, by the managers/owners or the employees. I was as far as it goes pretty darn useless, could not start a bore, ride a horse or motorbike, work cattle, fence (still pretty bad at that) etc. I did not understand the work ethic of these bush people, I could not comprehend why we had to wake up at 4.30 every morning or work 15 or 20 plus days in a row but I was willing to give it all a go and I think my saving grace was that I could cook. Slowly but surely I started picking up a few new skills, the day I successfully started the house bore with a crank handle is a day I will never forget and don’t even get me started on when I was taught how to drive a tractor (amazing!). I found everything exciting, every morning I woke up with vigour and enthusiasm for what may come in my day. I loved learning all aspects of living on a station and I was in awe of the owners and the other employees who worked so hard and were so skilful at pretty much everything.

My first camp kitchen.

And so it goes, I fell in love, with the lifestyle, the animals, the people, the culture, and as it turned out the industry as a whole.

Poddy calves are too good at stealing my heart.

I was meant to be having a break from my professional cooking career while I played at being a cowgirl for a few months, then get straight back into being a career driven, successful woman, travelling the world and all the rest of my big dreams . . . however it seemed that my big dreams had unexpectedly changed. So eight years on after working on some of the most beautiful cattle stations in northern Australia I have a deep appreciation for this industry, a wonderful husband, and a busy job on the station supporting my husband, five dogs, four horses, one donkey, and a whole lot of happiness. This is never where I saw my life headed but I am so very happy this is where I have ended up.

The crossing at Tipperary Station, NT.

Willy and I successfully crabbing.

Our wedding in April 2016.

So this is the part where I say thank you. I want to say thank you to everyone in this industry who gave me a shot when they certainly did not need to (you know who you all are), who tolerated my incompetence and aided in making me a somewhat useful bush person. I understand the importance of all the people in this industry who give the little inexperienced first years a shot and who help mould them and grow them into useful contributors to this industry. The ability to ignite a spark in someone new to the industry and inspire them to want to have a part in it all is hard to find but so important. The cattle industry in Australia has many hard working, inspirational, dedicated, passionate people and the more we can get on board the better.

A fresh crop of first years getting choppered into the station because it is too wet to drive.