From a Hobby Farm in QLD to a Station in WA

Host: Country Downs Station
Written by Cortney Sonter, Governess.

As in previous years, I have always asked if anyone who has worked or is working for us if they would like to write a blog. I believe that whilst its great for Kurt and I to wax lyrical about what we do and why, it is also a lot of fun for all you readers to actually get the lowdown about us and our lifestyle from the people who have to give up a bit of their own lives to come out and help us. We were so very lucky to have Samara stay with us for 2 years to supervise and educate the boys. But as with all young people finding their way in the world, Samara had bigger dreams and left us to pursue her career in Early Childhood Education and Teaching back in the NT. We do miss Samara, but luckily for us, we managed to replace her with someone else who has fit into our family with the same ease and effortlessness as Samara did. Today’s blog is written by our newest member to the team, Cortney, who we are so thankful that she chose to take on a very different adventure in 2018 to come and work for us. Sometimes, everything just falls into place and this was most definitely one of those times for us! – Nikki

Hey there! My name is Cortney Sonter and I’m the current Governess at Country Downs Station in the Kimberley, WA. Before I get into my job and the lifestyle out on a station as a 19 year old, I will give you some background to where I am from.

January, 2018, I made the long and rewarding trip from Kingaroy QLD to the Pilbara WA to pursue my job for the upcoming year. It was an amazing trip as I did it with my trusty sidekick, my Mum (she put up with my terrible singing for 2 weeks, gold STAR!).

The stunning Lake Argyle where my Mum and I met the wet season and decided to get a cabin instead of swags.

In Kingaroy, my parents own a little hobby farm of 80 acres where we have approx. 14 head of cattle (Charolais) a dog named Zena, 2 birds, a few fish and the good old snail. As my mum and dad work full time and my two younger siblings are still in school, it was just a nice place that was away from the hustle and bustle of town, but only 23km, so it wasn’t too shabby at all.

Some of our cattle back home in Queensland and the front paddock.

Coming from a little farm to a station has been a huge change! From the driveway being 22km long, a bore run lasting 5-6 hours, the 4WD track that is the Cape Leveque Road (at times) and everything else in between. The only thing I had going for me was that fact that I liked working with kids, probably a good thing that that is what my job is then!

A Governess is not a nanny! (just wanted to get that out there). I am classified as an in-home-tutor so each day I work from around 7:30-6:30, and my job is to take the two boys, William 9 and Rory 6, to school where they both have an hour air lesson and then set work and activities to complete with me. After school finishes at roughly 2pm, we watch movies, play outside, find baby goats and horses, clean cars (got to get pocket money somehow) and do our chores of feeding chooks, ducks, cats and dogs. On the school holidays, we help with bore runs, clean up around the station, go to town here-and-there and just chill out so we are ready for the next school term. This job is very rewarding in that I get to learn so many things along the way from both the boys and their parents, Nikki and Kurt Elezovich. Even though I have only been here for 3 months, I have got to experience so many things that have happened for the better and is making this job a lot of fun!

We started the year at Emu Creek Station in the Pilbara, WA and in late February moved back up to Country Downs where we plan on spending the remainder of the year. The move was long and tiring with two vehicles, one trailer, a truck and a sea container, 3 dogs, 2 cats and 2 kids… “How to move a station 101”. The difference between the two stations got me by surprise as I have never been in WA before now! I personally prefer Country Downs station as it is only 90kms from Broome, we have a beautiful coastline where I spend my weekends with friends and the schoolroom for the boys is a lot more effective for their learning.

The school-room at Country Downs. We now have a lot of art hanging on the walls. I have set the boys a challenge of filling the school room with art by the end of the year!

To say it has been a challenge to get used to a different lifestyle where hot showers and electrical kettles become a god send, phone service is no longer a thing, and my family and I go quite a while without seeing each other would be an understatement. But I am lucky enough to have been brought into such a caring and wonderful family where I feel like I am home which has made the transition easy. It is a different lifestyle for a 19 year old, but man is it fun!

Myself, William (9) and Rory (6) enjoying our afternoon treat of icy poles! They were the best after a swim in the Yannarie River at Emu Creek on those hot days.