Culture Shock

Host: Yougawalla Pastoral Co.
Written by Jane Sale – Manager, Yougawalla Station & Yulia – Cook, Bulka Station, both of Yougawalla Pastoral Co.

Well it has been a very quiet day on the hill today. It does give me a chance to catch up in the office and what’s happening around the house. It’s is never lonely though that’s for sure.

ttLil’ Ripper hanging in the office.

tttI have even had time to stop and inspect the planter boxes and we have some baby tomatoes well on their way.

ggg. . .  and basil with a view.

While out on the deck I found a little bird that had hit the glass and was in shock on the deck. I picked him up and he had his eyes open.


He is a little zebra finch he took water from a syringe and I put him in our cockatiels cage.  Our much loved Lil’ Ripper doesn’t mind though, he got to hang out in the office.  After a rest in the cage and much upset from the kids (because they wanted to keep him), we let the little bird go and he flew off happily.

Introducing Yulia and her family.rrr

Gary, Yulia’s husband has been here almost since we started.  He is our longest serving staff member and we are very lucky to have him in many ways. He is an incredible toiler that is not at all phased by a life of isolation. We started talking to Gary about the possibility of sponsorship, when he came back from a holiday and told us he was getting married. His fiancé Yulia was from Indonesia, he was to be married in a couple of months and wanted to bring her back to Yougawalla. We were a little concerned to say the least, wondering how this girl was going to go from Surabaya to Yougawalla! Gazza kept saying she’ll be right, she’s up for anything and he knew only too well.

In 2011 I was attacked in the yards by a cleanskin bull (meaning it had never been in the yards or close to humans before) I was badly hurt and still being attacked and caught in the pen with the animal. Gazza went straight in and put himself in harm’s way to get me out and I would not be here today if it weren’t for him. I was in hospital for a week and was able to rest and recover knowing that Yulia was at home with my children and looking after everything, they really are an incredible match. This is the perfect example of the fact that you become so much more than colleagues working together out here in isolation.

I asked Yulia to write today about the huge changes she has had in her life right through to being a new Mum to their beautiful baby boy, Seamus.

– Jane


Wow! I can’t believe that I have been here for almost three years. It feels like only yesterday since I first arrived at Yougawalla Station. I came from Surabaya, East Java in Indonesia. Surabaya is the second biggest city in Indonesia. It’s the same like any other city in the world, it’s busy, buildings everywhere, traffic is crowded, big shopping malls with everything we need in it . . . etc. and how my life became so different after I married to an Irishman – Gary, who has been working at this cattle station for couple of years.

aaaGary, Gus, Jim & Tilly.

It was big shock for me when I found out how far this station is from everywhere. It takes four hours to drive to the nearest town. As far as the eye can see, there is only bush! And then I found out there are about 15,000 cattle in this station . . . unbelievable! And all the systems that they have, to run this cattle station is very impressive. I love it! Surprisingly, being isolated doesn’t bother me at all. Wake up early in the morning and go to bed at 9 pm became my new routine.

fffWet market in Indonesia.

In Indonesia, we use beef in most of our meals. We use beef for bakso, rendang, curry, soup, and we even cook the other parts like tongue, liver, stomach, brain, and lung. Its funny to see how people reacted after I told them that in Indo we even eat cow’s nose and ears. But that’s the difference. Same like the way everyone in Indo eat well done-steak while out here they like it rare . . . for me, I’ll eat anything.

The fact that Indonesia is the biggest consumer for Australian cattle is another surprise for me.  As a consumer, I didn’t know how long the beef journey to get in Indonesia until I’ve got here. I knew the cattle come from Australia but I didn’t know the process.

I just feel so lucky to have a chance to learn and live at Yougawalla. It such an amazing experience. I didn’t do much mustering or work in the yard like the others because I have been working in the house most of the time. I learned to be a tutor for home school, also how to organise weekly food supply for the station, as well as how to cook easy-simple meals for the staff from Jane.

Now I live at Bulka Station (Yougawalla owned) and I love this place. It’s about two hours away from Yougawalla but a bit closer to Fitzroy Crossing. Just different place but same life and I really enjoy it!

ddddGary & Seamus.

We moved to Bulka Station in December 2012 with our four week old baby boy, Seamus Meally. We were a bit nervous at the start because that was in the middle of wet season, no other people around, two hours away from the nearest hospital (if we can get out) with newborn baby. But after a while we start to feel more relax. Now, Seamus is seven months old and healthy.

vvSeamus watching the horses graze at Bulka Station.

My role at Bulka is pretty much the same like at Yougawalla. I am working in the house to manage the food store and cook meals also be a full time Mum for Seamus. This week we have Lochon Contracting and their crew to do mustering and yard work. There are 10-12 people all together at Bulka Station at this moment, depends on who is coming and who is going between Yougawalla or Bulka. The good thing with these guys is they are not fussy eaters.. They pretty much eat anything I cook. So far, I’ve been cooking some Asian dish like curry, Indian food, fried rice and even traditional Indonesian beef stew called semur. I also do western dish like bake potato, pasta, roast beef or chicken, bolognese, taco, casserole and my new favourite one – osso buco.


The other thing that I like of being here is how time move really fast. We pretty much busy everyday with this and that. Whether we work inside or outside, running around in the yard or in the kitchen doesn’t really matter, because we all have our own role but we are working together as a team.