A life of luxury – the fun continued

Host: Yougawalla Pastoral Co.
Written by Jane Sale – Manager, Yougawalla Pastoral Co.

3.1 Yougawalla crew Facebook thread #2Yougawalla crew Facebook thread #2.

One of the situations relayed to me was . . . when a bore broke down that was providing water to four dams which supplied around 1200 head of cattle. Haydn and a small crew set about pulling the bore. This consists of pulling up metal rod casings that are screwed together and sit down the bore shaft, around 60 metres down, to carry the water up and, on this set up in particular, called a mono pump, it holds a pump at the bottom that sucks the water up. The crew pulled all the rods up and on the last one realised that the pump had rattled and come apart from the rod. Back to the workshop and one of our clever staff made a rod they called the ‘Didj due’ to its long hollow shape, that was designed to drop down and catch what was left down there, but that wasn’t working.

A day later and the crew came up with the ‘Didj Mark II’. Finally they had a result and started to pull up the mess at the bottom but the wire snapped and we were pretty much stuffed. In a last ditch effort they made a long hook and just had to “go fishing”. It was never expected to work but worth a go. When they finally realised it wasn’t going to work they started to pull up the fishing hook only to find it was tangled in the end of the ‘Didj Mark II’ and the original ‘Didj’ which had caught the rest of what we needed. Had the bore not been attached and all the gear still stuck down the shaft we would have had to drill a completely new hole and replace the bore itself. The victory this day saved us around $50,000, so let’s just say that both the cattle and the crew got a drink that night.

3.2 Yougawalla Crew Facebook thread #3Yougawalla crew Facebook thread #3.

I became a solar repairer in the early days here. The Solar Power unit had just been put in and during the night the electricity had shut off. The next day I was here on my own with the kids. If the power is out here, unlike in the city it means the phones go down (no mobile service) and there is no running water most importantly. So down at the solar inverter I found a couple of very thick manuals and between the usual feeding kids (six months old and two and half years at the time) and keeping them occupied I managed to read through and after a couple of false starts got the power up and running. This once city girl was very proud of herself that day and writing this reminds me to mention that not only does the problem need to get fixed but life’s got to go on and all the other jobs of looking after kids, pets, horses, and cattle (and husbands) that can’t look after themselves need to be tended to as well.

There are so many stories on this Facebook message thread about our staff using whatever they had in the back of the ute for a bit of bush mechanics or working through the night to turn a road train around that had gone down the wrong dirt track. Graders, to pull out loaders, to pull out trucks from a bog, breakdowns, and weather trapping us in, the stories go on and on. It reminds us how tough some days can be and then add the hot weather into the equation and they are really sent to test you.

3.3 Graders to pull out graders - whatever combination worksGraders to pull out graders – whatever combination works.

We were recently down south of Perth on holidays and caught up with some other station friends that were holidaying nearby. I asked them what their holiday apartment was like and they said, “Are you kidding? It’s fabulous! The aircon wasn’t working so I called someone and they came and fixed it. If something goes wrong, it’s not my problem.” . . . A luxury holiday!

People surprise Haydn and I all the time and they surprise themselves as well. It seems that these tricky situations are the most remembered, talked about, and laughed about events on station. They are also the biggest lessons in station life and life in general. Of all the personality traits that are called upon or that you dig down deep for in our hour (or two) of need, the one that shines through the most is our sense of humour. If you can’t laugh about these things, life out here would be pretty grim. So your sense of humour is the most important luxury to bring with you.

3.4 Yougawalla crew Facebook thread #4Yougawalla crew Facebook thread #4.