Host: Yougawalla Pastoral Co.
Written by Jane Sale – Manager and Tim Allen – First Year Station Hand, both of Yougawalla Pastoral Co.
I am signing out for the week now. Haydn, my husband has asked to do a guest blog tomorrow so the boss has given me Sunday off!
The weather seems to have cleared here but it’s still cold. Here in the north we are pretty good at complaining about the cold, not me I think it’s my Victorian roots shining through, I love it!
Although it has been a fairly slow week at Yougawalla and Bulka Stations it has been a very busy week online. I have really enjoyed so many comments and messages from readers, as have our crew that have been guest blogging. It is great to see people interested in our lives and hearing how it works first hand.
In the past couple of years with the live export ban and the backlash our industry has received from some negative feedback from public. I have seen how quickly people will pass judgement on a situation with only one piece of information from one source and run with it. One thing this reminds me to do is withhold judgement and try and inform myself before I form an opinion about anything. What we aim to do with Central Station is give people access to the way this industry works so they can do the same.
I am going to slip back into a million acres of obscurity but would be happy to answer any questions at any time on Central Station, Twitter or our Yougawalla & Bulka Stations’ Facebook page.
I am waiting with anticipation for all the other Industry business’ hosting on the site, starting with Jo Bloomfield from Hodgson River Station NT on Monday. Please click follow in the bottom right corner of the screen and do the same . . .
I first met Tim when he was 14 and keen to meet Haydn and pick his brain about careers in Agriculture. We got to know him a lot more when he first came to Yougawalla in 2011. Tim was present at my bull goring accident in 2011 and was an integral part of getting me out of danger. During this stressful event for everyone involved and since getting to know Tim more two years on, I have seen that he shows resolve and maturity beyond his years. Tim has a great interest in all the processes involved in the running of the stations and you can’t ask for more than a positive and resourceful worker. I asked Tim to write today about his experiences mustering.
So I’m guessing everyone is wondering who I am, how I got here and what I get up to day-to-day. Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Tim Allen, and I grew up in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne. I attended school in Hawthorn where I completed my year 12 studies in 2012.
Since I was a young buck I have always dreamed of a career in agriculture and Yougawalla offered me the perfect opportunity to step away from the crowd and experience something different, whilst also getting my foot in the door in an industry I am now stoked to be a part of. Ever since I met Haydn and Jane in 2007, I had been desperate to get up to Yougawalla and have a look at what goes on. In 2011 I was lucky enough to spend three weeks here, and ever since I have always said I was coming back for a full season. So here I am!
Luckily for myself, I hold what I see as one of the best jobs on the station. Being the youngest of the crew at Yougawalla this year, I get all sorts of jobs. But so far my main job has been mustering on a motorbike. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend your day than bringing in a mob of 2500 cattle, especially when you have the cattle yarded up after they have been in the paddock earlier that day. Days when we are mustering usually start with a 4:30 AM breaky. It is your responsibility to be ready for your day in the paddock by sunlight. This might include packing a few sandwiches, filling your camelback with water and doing your motorbike checks. The things I like to check on my motorbike before I head off is my oil and fuel, tyre pressures, chain tension and my brake set up.
After being given final instructions at about 5 AM from Haydn, I will set off into the sunrise to wherever I am needed most on the ground. This will usually be a spot where the helicopter has a large mob for me to jump on the tail of, whilst he can continue flying another part of the paddock. This sounds daunting, that you may be behind a huge mob by yourself, but it is made easy by UHF communication between the chopper and the boys/girls on the ground, so that if a mob splits and you have cattle going everywhere, the chopper can be back to help within a few minutes. The better the pilot is in the chopper above you, the easier it is to muster on a motorbike. This is because the pilot is able to see everything, and with good communication to the ground crew, they really pull the whole muster together.
After the cattle have been walked down the laneway system here at Yougawalla, they end up in a small area just before the yards called the cooler paddock. This is the most exciting part of the day for everyone involved in mustering because it is vital that the cattle are yarded properly, in order not to teach them bad habits. If the cattle know that they are able to break the pressure the chopper and the ground crew are putting on them, then they are likely to try and do it wherever they are, which makes for unworkable cattle.
Because yarding up is so important, everyone is concentrating to the best of their ability until the final gates are chained and wired up. Another great thing about yarding up is watching the chopper pilots, because they are the main source of pressure on the cattle. The manoeuvres the pilots are able to make to ensure the cattle are yarded are unreal, and even being under the chopper on the ground is a rush in itself as you a blasted with dirt and general rotor wash.
That’s just a little bit about mustering, and I would seriously recommend anyone of any age to do a year of jackarooing/jillarooing. Not only is it awesome fun, but you are able to push your comfort zones and step away from the crowd. If any of you guys have any questions I would be more than happy to answer them, just contact Central Station and it will be redirected to me I’m sure.
Over & out!