How I chose to call Katherine home

Host: Charles Darwin University, Katherine Rural Campus
Written by Russell Young

I grew up on rural remote properties in North West Queensland. I completed my schooling through Mt Isa School Of The Air. After the completion of grade 10 I left school and started working for the McDonald family. A large privately owned family cattle operation better known as MDH.

The property was called Chatsworth located 140km South of Cloncurry and 180 km south east of Mt Isa. It was excellent country for both breeding and fattening with a full capacity of 30 000 cattle. Primarily with male cattle of Brahman and Santa Gertrudis lines, with a small number of female cattle making up a breeding program. It was well improved with 60 sub-artesian bores and 25 dams. It employed around 15 staff and at age 18 I was handed the role as headstockman.

The McDonald family were great people to work for and I was able to get a better understanding and develop a vast range of skills in different fields which allowed me to acquire relevant and sought after knowledge that is required to work on large and remote cattle properties such as; breaking and training horses to working large mobs of both wet and dry cattle, pulling bores, mechanical work, welding and training staff.

After spending four years working for MDH I left Queensland and moved to the NT where I ran stockcamps on places such as Scott’s Creek, Anthony’s Lagoon and Legune. So once again I was very fortunate to get to work for some very knowledgeable superiors who really helped to further my knowledge and see a lot of different country side. I also made a lot of great mates in the NT.  In 2008 I moved to the Gulf of Queensland contract mustering where I spent the next 4 years of my life. Most of which was spent at Vanrook Stn, a very large breeder operation 140kms North East of Normanton. It was a very well run property where I got to really further my ability in handling large mobs of breeders.

At the end of 2012 after spending the first 27 years of my life living in isolated parts of the Northern end of Australia I decided it was time to move to civilization. In 2013 I moved to Emerald in Central Queensland where I commenced contract day working.  I really enjoyed it as I got to work for some great people and got a chance to get into the farming and cropping side of things, as well as continue mustering. Getting involved in cropping was a great change, I found the different aspects of it really interesting. Learning how to develop and prepare land for planting as well as operate all the modern machinery which is very high tech compared to what I was use to was quite refreshing. In 2015 I got into the livestock agency game which really helped boost my people skills and gave me a greater understanding of the business side of things.

By the end of 2017 I felt I had explored enough and decided I wanted to settle down and take on a permanent career job. During the years I spent in the North I had really taken a liking to Katherine in the NT. I had also developed a real liking to training and developing younger people in the pastoral industry.

At the start of 2018 I applied for a job with Charles Darwin University as a VET Lecturer based at the Katherine Rural Campus. I was extremely lucky and got the job I wanted in the area I wanted to be in.  Working for CDU is great and I get to work with a great bunch of people in Katherine. My role is better than I could’ve hoped for.  Not only do I get to train and assess staff on cattle properties throughout the NT I also get to deliver chemical accreditation and 4×4 courses with some of the other trainers not only on cattle properties but remote communities as well.  So I get to travel a lot and see plenty of spectacular countryside. I’m glad with the career I’ve chosen and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me within the training industry.