Host: Anna Plains Station
I want you to bear with me for just a moment; imagine you’re 17, just finished high school in Perth, Western Australia, and deciding what to do with your life. Firstly; you know you don’t want to go straight to uni, you want to get some experience under your belt first. So, using connections made through school you line up potential work experience opportunities in Marketing and Advertising – the industry you think you want to be a part of. Then, the GFC happens; the last thing an organisation wants hanging around is a 17 year old work experience kid who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
What do you do?
For me, I had the opportunity of a lifetime thrown at me. For me, the GFC was the best thing that could’ve happened. Without it – I would’ve found work experience as planned. Without it, I wouldn’t have even considered moving to a remote cattle station in the Kimberley to work as a Governess (home tutor/nanny) for two gorgeous young children – nine and ten at the time. Without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am.
Okay, so now you know the background of how I ended up at Anna Plains (affectionately known as Anna), let me tell you where I am now.
After a three year Commerce degree, I’m living in New York City – yes, the one in America, where Sex and the City, Friends, Seinfeld and countless other TV shows and movies are set. The one where dreams are made, and I’m here following my dreams. I’m fortunate enough to be interning at a Digital Marketing Agency in the city that never sleeps (with a few cocktails thrown in for good measure).
So, how does someone go from the outback jungle of the Kimberley to the concrete jungle? Well, you’d be surprised what you can learn in the Kimberley.
Firstly; I learnt that life isn’t easy, and employees sometimes need to go above and beyond. I was on Anna during a tough year. It was dry, they’d had little rain and in order to make it through everyone needed to go above and beyond. The crew would be out mustering, fixing leaks or doing a myriad of other tasks that meant they weren’t home until hours after their “knock off” time, sometimes for seven days straight.
Secondly; I learnt how to handle difficult situations and people. On a station 250km from the nearest town, with a group of only 12 people it can feel like you have nowhere to go. When you disagree with someone over something, it requires a tactful response rather than an emotional one in order to avoid weeks of tension. Sometimes, it was even better to bite your tongue and let them think they’d won. Sound familiar?
Thirdly; I learnt independence. I was 17, living in a part of the country I’d never visited, with a family I’d met once, being held responsible for the education of two kids, who were wise well beyond their years. As well as that, there was no mobile phone service (a scary though for a 17 year old) and I had to watch (via Facebook) while all my closest friends started Uni, turned 18 and enjoyed all those first-year-uni milestones that I was “missing out on”.
But finally; I found an amazing place that has never left me. Every year since I left Anna, I’ve been back to visit my “Kimberley fam”, I still keep in touch with every person I’ve met on my way and every year I’m back there I fall in love with it all over again, and tear up as I leave.