Eating in the outback

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

On the weekend Haydn decided to muster a small paddock at Bulka which was not part of the plan . . .

So our weekend consisted of unexpected drafting, processing, and tailing weaners, as well as walking out some bulls and heifers. So an overnight stay at Bulka (our neighbouring station) was necessary. I am lucky to have my dad visiting from Melbourne to stay with the kids back at Yougawalla.

Kaylie and I spent the morning this morning walking a group of heifers out to a paddock on the horses and tailing the weaners. Once we had all the cattle sorted it was time to try to get back onto “Plan A” (see Monday’s entry). All the horses have been at Bulka over the wet season so we loaded three of them onto the truck to take them back to Yougawalla with a trailer of hay, ready to start mustering this week. It’s handy to have a mechanic driving the truck on the 120 km dirt road journey, one minute it’s smooth sailing . . .

1 . . . then the next, a leak in the diesel filter.


Jim’s solution . . . “Never go anywhere in the bush without some black electrical tape and some spare clamps.”  He was spot on and we were on our way again.


I am home happily with Gus and Tilly tonight. Haydn is still at Bulka with his chopper ready to muster at Wattle Springs tomorrow. I thought I would write a little bit about one of my favourite things, food . . .

How do you eat fresh food when town is an eight hour road trip?


Fresh meat is easy because most of the time we eat our own. In the mustering season we would eat the meat from about one bullock or cow a month. We quarter the carcass, hang it on the bone in the cool room, and divide it into the different cuts, mince, and sausages. I have no photos that would show properly how it is done. I hope another station doing the blog will go into more details for butchering their meat.


My friends and family would tell you there is not a lot of green in my thumbs. But I was inspired by Scott, Sally and the kids, this year planting vegetables in a garden they built for a school project and I have started growing some herbs, chillies, and baby tomatoes. I will let Sally tell you more about their garden when she puts her contribution to the blog tomorrow. I can’t wait to be eating fresh veggies soon.

Fresh Groceries

We have a mail plane service now provided by the government. This service comes from Kununurra every Wednesday and visits three Aboriginal communities before landing at Yougawalla. Our crew let me know any personal items or snacks they are craving or need to order. Yulia tells me what they need at Bulka and I place the order every Monday. This service is great and I must say I much prefer emailing an order than going to the supermarket. Problem is, it’s just not that easy to duck back to the shops if you forget something so you learn to be resourceful when cooking.

Dry and Frozen Goods

When we first moved to Yougawalla we were feeding around 17 staff, living in portable housing and eating in the shed every night; we had no services in place and had put the buildings and the generator next to an old shed that had good drinkable bore water. We cooked in the kitchen there or on the barbecue and ate in the shed every night. The first shop we did was seven trolley loads. There were only four of us there and a lively 18 month old (Gus), so we were pushing one, pulling another, and trying to work out what we were going to feed 17 people over a couple of weeks.

Thankfully systems have changed a fair bit. We have Mindibungu Aboriginal Community at Billiluna on the Tanami, 90km east and then 20km south. We are very lucky to now have an agreement with their store to order our goods from the same supplier in Darwin. They are freighted together to the Billiluna. We only order these dry and frozen goods once a year and the Billiluna Store puts the freezer goods in their cool room and stores the dry goods securely until we can get there to pick it up. This is always a big day at Yougawalla and I don’t think I would have any troubles getting a job stacking shelves at a supermarket.



Uncannily every year we seem to get rain when the stores arrive. This year the freight truck got stuck for a night on the Tanami due to the roads getting slippery from the rain. It is a nerve racking time to say the least when you have $10,000 worth of stores sitting on the Tanami. Thank goodness we were able keep them at the Billiluna Store as we were stuck from the rain as well and had to wait a week for the roads to dry up.  All’s well that ends well though and we are stocked up for the season.