Host: Noreena Downs Station
Written by – Jenny Jones, Camp Cook, Noreena Downs Station.
Jenny Jones from Wheaton Aston in Stafford in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom will be telling her Australian station experience today, Jenny worked at Noreena as a station camp cook. So over to Jenny now. – K.P.
As like many British twenty-something-year-old’s I reached that point where my wanderlust could no longer be contained to the constraints of my 9 – 5 office job so I booked a ticket, packed my bag, and headed off to the land down under seeking adventures and new experiences.
I wasn’t one of these new age travellers who wanted to ‘find themselves’ and ‘get lost in the experience’ I was looking for a bloody good time and the opposite to what my life consisted of in England. And boy did I!
After several months of living in Sydney where the sighting of a real Ozzy was few and far between I decided that I wanted to see what it was like on the other side. So packing up and moving on it was. A friend and I hired a van, planned and plotted a rough route, and hit the open road to seek out new adventures on the other side.
The journey alone was an adventure visiting new places, seeing amazing sights, meeting some great people, and sleeping in far too many car parks to remember. Whilst on the road I decided that I wanted a second year in this great country as I’d only scratched the surface of what lay beneath. The options for rural work fell into two categories; fruit picking and station work. The horror stories of fruit picking quite honestly filled me with dread and fear so I thought I’d go for the station work!
I dug out my CV, tarted it up a bit, and sent it off to the Job Shop and before too long I had a phone call from someone that works there saying they’d put me forward for a job and someone was going to call me in a few days. Then the call came through the lady was called Tubby Paull who with her husband Tex and brood of children ran a station in the Pilbara called Noreena Downs. She discussed how secluded the station was and how far away from the local town it was located, the lack of luxuries, and what my job as cook would entail. I thought to myself not a problem at all! Well I live in the countryside in the UK and our nearest shop is 20 minutes away so this can’t be all that hard! By the end of the call I had the job and was due to arrive in a town called Newman a few days later where I would be picked up. How very kind – little did I know that where I was about to live and fall in love with was some three hours drive away.
As the plane took off from Perth and I looked around at my fellow passengers I soon realised that I was the only women on the plane and the only person not suited and booted for a mine, strange I thought. As the green heavily watered gardens of Perth passed below us and the red dirt was all that lay ahead I knew life as I knew it was about to change and a new adventure was surely about to begin.
As the plane landed at a somewhat small airport and myself and my fellow high-vis passengers disembarked the plane the heat hit and me I remembered Tubby mentioning it was hot but surely this was an oven I’d stepped into. Not knowing what either of us looked like Tubby and I waited till everyone was more or less gone and we were the only two left. After exchanging hello’s etc., we jumped in the car and went off to do the shops – three shopping trolleys later, countless cartons of beer, doing the postal run, going to hardware store, news-agents, pharmacy, and talking with what seemed like everyone in Newman we went off to meet one of Tub’s friends for lunch. Sitting in the the restaurant with Tub’s friend Deb and her son I began to think that this whole thing had been hyped up and the talk of remoteness and basic facilities was all a bit over the top.
After lunch we piled back into the car with what I can only explain as the contents of all of the Newman shops we were off . . .