Cows, Curry, and Culture

Host: Myroodah Station
Written by Brenda Gibbs – Station Cook, Myroodah Station.

When I was asked to write a story about my job as Myroodah station cook, I thought the readers of this blog had undoubtedly heard it all before. Station cooks are first in the kitchen and the last to leave. They are busy most of the day cooking for staff, plus visitors, and maybe doing some gardening, feeding poddies, and cleaning. So what makes my job different from other station cooks? Probably not much, so instead I thought I would share with you the things that makes my day and put a smile on my face . . . but first let me introduce myself and Gordon my husband of 35 years (you get less time for murder) and how we ended up at Myroodah.

We were both born and bred in the Limestone Coast area of South Australia famous for its World Heritage Naracoorte Fossil Caves, Wonderful Wineries, the Magical Blue Lake, and Larry the Big Lobster.

In July 2014 when the last of our five children left home we decided to set off on a working holiday around Australia. With Gordon a mechanic by trade with a farming background, and me working a range of jobs from caravan parks to canteen manager to rat catching and lots in between, we knew we would have no trouble finding work. Well work and family reasons had us hopping all over the countryside like a couple of disorientated bandicoots. From a piggery in Mallala, South Australia, to a caravan park in Airlie Beach, Queensland, back to Naracoorte to fill in back at our previous jobs for three months and sadly farewell Gordon’s mum. Then it was on to another caravan park in Barmera, South Australia, with a bit of fishing along the way.

In April 2015, we decided to hang around the West Coast area of South Australia and find some work, but when we hit the SA/WA border we thought we would just check out the Nullarbor. Next thing we are heading to Broome and this is where we saw the ad for “Cattle Station Workshop Maintenance & Cook Couple” at Myroodah Station. Best move we have ever made.

So back in the kitchen and those things that make me smile . . .

  • My little apprentice is Sam (the manager’s son) who is four. He is now my Number 1 egg cracker, fish crumber, and biscuit roller. When we have finished cooking it’s onto the floor to build a train track, do a jigsaw or the best fun of all, riding in the imaginary bus we make out of the dining room chairs. Sam and I go to some amazing places in the “Myroodah bus”.

2.1 copyTravelling on the Myroodah Bus with Sam.

As all of our stock camp are Indigenous and my hearing is not the best, there is quite often a mix up in conversations. For example, when I asked one lad what he had been doing for the day my interpretation was “killer crocs” – his answer actually “cleaning out troughs”.

  • Our Head Stockman Ian likes my curry but it was never hot enough so after a couple of tries making it hotter, half a tin of curry powder and a good spoonful of chilli flakes I knew when the sweat was pouring out of Ian I had succeeded.
  • Miss Emily, the governess, is so sweet and bubbly until she says let’s watch a movie and suddenly I am watching this gruesome horror film.
  • When the lads come home full of chat about their day, after tea they thank me for a lovely meal.
  • Going out of my comfort zone driving the truck to pick up stores from Looma or Camballin and crossing the river after a heavy rain by myself. Things I would never have tried down south.
  • Learning from the lads about their families and their culture while enlightening them about ours.
  • Then there is the wildlife that are attracted to the kitchen. A snake in the coolroom, a mouse which took months to catch, goannas knocking at my door, and if they can’t get in that way they come up through the sink.

2.2 copyThe last of the great white hunters. Emily and Gordon with their kitchen catches!

Collage_FotorThe reason my sink was blocked. Poor little goanna, I accidentally cooked him with boiling water.

2.5 copyEvery morning having a cuppa whilst watching the beautiful sunrise before I tackle the day’s work.

2.6 copyWhen the boys decide to give me a night off and pick up dinner on the way home.

These are just a few of the things that make me smile.

That void we’d previously felt from being so far away from our own family has definitely been filled through being part of the Myroodah family, and we are so glad we answered that ad!