Host: Mt Bundy Station
Written by Sue Witham – Owner, Mt Bundy Station.
This piece is a follow up to yesterdays blog about losing our son Ben.
Something internal keeps us going. We still had two daughters who were mourning too. Bec had started a science degree at uni and gave that up to be home with us for a while. Kasey was 11, it was tough. Scott was inconsolable.
The cattle wandered, the girls kept an eye on them, calves needed tagging and de-sexing. We struggled on numbly going through the motions. Things were tight financially, tourist numbers were slowly returning but we were fairly quiet as the rumour mill worked overtime via the tourist network, the cattle trade looked promising but now we had nothing ready to sell. Scott eventually got a short term job on an Iron Ore mine in the Pilbara of WA as a driller’s assistant – Fly-In-Fly-Out. He also needed to get away from some painful reminders and work out his grief. With no other option we all battled on trying to regain some normality, thank god for friends and family and at times perfect strangers were also a shoulder to dump your woes on.
The next couple of years are a blur really as we were determined to pick the business up again after major losses from cancelled bookings and we worked hard, probably we hid ourselves in the work. Developing new markets and renovating accommodation. We developed a 4WD tour of the property and its wildlife, checking cattle, water, WWII History, and chatting with the public about the industry and the export debacle. This all finished with a beer on the hill over – looking the floodplains at sunset.
We have now got ourselves back on the tourist map and are busier than ever. Our horse treks we had to give way for viability reasons, insurance was a big cause. We have replaced the treks with more weddings, conferences, and catering events. We are the home of the Adelaide River Music Muster hosting singer songwriter Beccy Cole this year. We had a huge amount of interest from film crews wanting to capture the dust, sunsets, cattle and horses . . . well we could provide that.
We have had some great fun and adventures over the years, in taking celebrities on horseback across the floodplains, wobbling around, trying to look the part of a ringer. Some could ride well and others needed Velcro. We have had the likes of Daniel McPherson, The Biggest Loser cast including “The Commando”, Mcleod’s Daughters stars, and most recently Jimmy Doherty – UK Chef and Masterchef runner up Lynton Tapp on an outback food and TV shoot. I am hopeless with celebrities as most of the time I don’t even recognize them. Like the time we had well known author Di Morrisey at our dinner table for three nights before I realised she was “the” Di Morrisey!
The cattle are still important to our business, we only run a few hundred now, a nice little red Brahman mob, with a few ferals thrown in, and a few water buffalo. We now have a following for school groups to explore the cattle industry and often have groups on a mini muster, involved in tagging, branding, and learning why we do what we do to our cattle. We get tears, screams of delight and fear, kids who don’t want to leave, and parents who want thank us for showing their precious city born child a glimpse into food production. We also explain the care of the country with fire and flood our friend and enemy. With a 1.5 – 2 metre rainfall, we experience some serious flooding and pasture growth.