Host: Noreena Downs Station
Written by Kate Paull – Owner, Noreena Downs Station.
Living on a cattle station isn’t all hard work and no play so when the opportunity arises for a few days off work and a party everyone jumps at the chance whether it’s a local rodeo, horse racing, pre/post muster party, or even a fire and beers at another station everyone attends.
Being in the Pilbara the Marble Bar races are THE event of the year. All the stations in the area meet up for a weekend of drinking, dancing, story swapping, racing, and general knees up. Marble Bar is about two hours north of Noreena and when the Paull family said we could all go for the weekend everyone was filled with excitement so with shirts ironed, boots polished, hats at the ready, and swags packed we all piled into various Utes and hit the road.
The race weekend is made up of two parts – the races during the day on the Saturday and a ball on either the Friday or Saturday night. What do you wear to the ball I hear you ask? Well in preparation for the ball Niffy and I had spent the days leading up to up it making a dress out of hessian and what a dress it was, I’m still shocked that we haven’t seen it on the high fashion catwalks of Paris and Milan. Kate has a wardrobe and hat collection to rival even the most well-known socialite so we were well covered when it came to outfit choices.
The boys had gone up the day before Kate and me, so when we caught up with them at the race track they were already filled with sore heads and stories of the night before. A great day was had by all and although I don’t think anyone won any money, boy do they know how to party! It was great to meet so many local people and catch up with people I’d met previously.
Our ‘local’ town is Newman and another one of the calendar highlights of the year is the Newman Rodeo and having never been to a rodeo before Kate and me along with Kate’s now husband Nathan and Selby headed off to the big city. The rodeo was everything and more than I expected with bronco riding, barrel racing, and so much more. Once the main rodeo had finished a live band played until the early hours and we all crashed out in our swags.
For anyone that doesn’t know what swag is it’s basically a sleeping bag that will become your best friend. Everyone takes great pride in their swag and before too long you realise that you spend more time sleeping in your swag than you do in a actual bed!
Along with various off station parties there were many more on station parties, generally impromptu, but always involving the special ingredient of booze! The good thing about living on a station is that there is always someone up for a good time and willing to sit up and have a beer and a yarn. We had varying parties from a ‘bandana’ party which involved everyone wearing a bandana and drinking gin and tonics out of a saucepan to cave parties were we would lug an esky and guitar up a hill and into a cave in the hills to sit and watch the sunset.
One things for sure, don’t ever worry that all that wide open space, long hours, and solitude ever equal boredom!