From beach side living to outback and beyond

Host: Abingdon Downs Station
Written by Laine-Jon Hughes, Governess.

We are lucky to have long term employees and the current governess is on her third year at Abingdon. She took a leap of faith and signed up for her very first job a long way from home.

My journey so far, having completed grade 12 and deciding I would have a gap year before contemplating what I was going to do with my undecided career choices, is that I was ready for a change of scenery. Having seen job positions advertised on Facebook in the Australian outback, it hit me, “that’s it”. I’m not really sure why, but my mind was made up. To the outback, here I come!

Having lived in the same seaside town of Tannum Sands, Queensland, all my life, my family and friends were a bit shocked by my decision but encouraged me to do it with the old saying “You only live once”.

I got the job of Governess/Nanny. So that was it, I was on my way to Abingdon Downs Station.

I can’t begin to describe how nervous I was leaving home for the first time, driving 16 hours out into the bush with a fear of anything creepy crawly, especially green things that hop! But I made it. After meeting my employers and my two wonderful little students I knew I had made the right decision. Although it was very daunting at first being surrounded by and living with all unfamiliar faces I soon found my feet and settled in to the country way of living. (It does take a bit though to adjust to the climate but thank god for air-con.)

I fear these greatly but my little helper loves them so he removes them for me.

I thought living 100kms out of the closest town “I’m not going to see hardly anyone for weeks at a time”, but it is a totally different story out here. There seems to always be a constant flow of visitors that come out for all kinds of reasons. I have had many laughs and great experiences while enjoying different peoples company, with many of these people becoming life-long friends.

Spending the weekend camping, fishing and laughing.

Not long after I arrived at Abingdon I was off to see more of Queensland than I had in my entire 18 years. My journey with my new employers took me to Croydon, Burk N Wills, Cloncurry, Normanton, Karumba, Hughenden and Richmond. 2,500kms within a few days and many hours spent in a car together. It certainly was a great way to get to know each other. This is just one of the many travelling adventures I have experienced in the outback. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is just a quick trip, you get very used to driving for hours to go to rodeos, school camps, shopping trips and even the occasional Australia Day BBQ that was only a 6 hour drive away. 

Watching the mail plane come in.

I had never even thought about a cattle station before coming to Abingdon, so pretty much everything was a new learning experience for me. I don’t know what I would do without my two little helpers, Mr 4 and Mr 8. They guide and explain everything to me that involves the running of the station, especially when it’s mustering season. They know the in’s and out’s of this vast property and I can easily say if it wasn’t for them I would either be lost out in a paddock somewhere or having a mental break down because I can’t get the frogs out of my bathroom!

One of my little helpers having a nap after explaining how we feed the weaners.

A beautiful sunset at mustering camp with my two little helpers by my side.

To everybody’s surprise I am still here at Abingdon Downs, teaching my two little best friends while watching them grow into well-mannered country boys. Living and working on a remote cattle station is a fantastic adventure and truly something I am so grateful that I have been able to experience.

Just one of the many beautiful sunrises at the Homestead.