Kelpies and Country Girls Hit the Road – Part 1

Host: Glenforrie Station
Written by Aticia Grey – Manager, Glenforrie Station.

Courtney touched on our road trip earlier in the year in her blog but I wanted to expand on a few of my favourite highlights. Being two young women on the road in a cruiser ute with a trailer load of dogs (only 20 . . .) heading across the country, we did draw a bit of attention. We were humbled to receive numerous offers of places to stay and spell the dogs in every state, the generosity of people following our trip was incredible and very much appreciated. Between staying with friends and finding ‘out of the way’ tracks to roll our swags near, we were rarely short on somewhere to camp and small town caravan parks always had a corner for us.

Photo 1 copyPacked up and ready to hit the road.

Photo 16 copyFinding a good spot for the dogs to have a break.

One such friend we had the pleasure of staying overnight with was Scott and Trish Amon who’s incredible Barru dogs left us extremely impressed. Showing great temperament, clever work, and plenty of natural instinct, these beautiful dogs epitomised everything we look for in our kelpies. Thanks to Scott and Trish for the chance to visit and for the tour of your lovely property.

Photo 2 copyI fell a little in love with these Barru Dogs.

Our first week on the road took us across the Nullabor via Esperance to Keith where we spent a week with Neil and Helen McDonald. An impromtu dog day was held at Sherwood and it was great to finally meet many people whom we knew in passing but not in person. From there we headed down into the Gippsland where we were able to help Neil and a few others educate weaners for a Meat and Livestock Australia trial. We also had the chance to attend a Greg Prince school where we learnt some great dog training techniques from one the the best. Our time in the Gippsland wrapped up with a Neil McDonald school before we headed north on the next leg of our trip.

Photo 3 copySome of the weaner breakers.

Photo 4 copyPeter Barr and Vinny O’Loughlin’s dogs blocking the lead on some fresh cattle.

Photo 18 copyHolding cattle up.

We didn’t make it far before we pulled into Margareta Osborn’s driveway. After settling the dogs for the night and crossing our fingers they wouldn’t start up an echo in the shed, we sat down to our first home cooked meal in weeks and it was to die for; hard to beat a lamb roast. After a wonderful night near a roaring fire for these two shivering WA girls, we had a quick tour of their property in the morning before we once again hit the road, with a lasting friendship firmly established.

Photo 5 copyHad a wonderful visit with the very talented writer, who sent us up the road with a delicious chocolate cake.

From there we bee-lined it up to Miles in Qld, after crossing over the mountains through Hotham with the promise of snow. We did find some (albeit not the snow banks we had envisioned) and although the dogs weren’t real impressed at the temperature drop, it was definitely worth the drive.

Photo 17 copySnow ball.

Photo 21 copyHotham scenery.

In Miles, we attended a Faansie Bassan Dog Training Clinic and though we were the only ones there with kelpies, we made up for it in numbers. It was a great school and we added some more handy tips and techniques to our training repertoire. One of the highlights of these few days for me was staying with Penny O’Neill who hosted the clinic and seeing her beautiful Maremmas in action. These dogs are incredible to watch protecting their select mobs and interacted with us like we were old friends. I left Penny’s place with the realisation that a couple of Maremmas could be just what we need in our weaner paddocks for added protection against wild dogs and this could definitely be on the cards for our property in the near future.

Photo 19 copyThe Maremmas guarding their sheep.

Photo 6 copyCourt finding her photo subjects a little too close for the shot.

After the Faansie clinic, we had a week to kill before heading over to Rockhampton for Beef week. Here Courtney and I parted dogs and ways for a while. She headed over to stay with a friend in Biloela while I headed back south to family friends near Lightning Ridge. After numerous years in drought with no relief in sight, it was heart breaking to see the country so ravaged and the ongoing struggle to keep the remaining few stock in good health. But the strength, resilience, and compassion of the people still working the land and doing everything they could to pull through until the drought breaks was incredibly inspiring. I tagged along on feed runs, shovelling cotton seed, and trailing grain, doing anything I could to help lighten the load for a few days. Thanks to Rob and Therese, Robbie and Hannah Turnbull for my ‘home away from home’, it was one of my favourite weeks of the trip.

Photo 7 copy

Photo 8 copyFeeding cotton seed to the remaining sheep in drought stricken Lightening Ridge.

Tune in tomorrow for part two of our trip!