Host: Yarrie Station
Written by – Lozza, Station Hand, Yarrie Station.
Little did I know at the start of this year I would end up in the Pilbara, let alone on a cattle station? Something I have always wanted to do but never thought would actually happen! It was all organized so quickly and suddenly I was packing a suitcase, a swag, my best farm clothes I could imagine, and boarding an airplane to Port Hedland. Driving from the airport I got a taste of what the surroundings were like, the spinifex, large burnt areas and high ranges, I realised how very different it was from the coastal tourist town I came from in Dunsborough, Western Australia.
The moment we drove into Yarrie, I could already feel it was a place like home. The large coloured sheds, the homestead, and the workers quarters all close together. Very much a farm, and it was reality. And then I met the crew. We live together, work together, eat together, and have days off together. You would think we would drive each other crazy, but really it’s the complete opposite. Our team has been amazing this year and the experience wouldn’t have been the same without them.
I also made a few friends of the different species, whether it is the cows just brought in from a big muster, or our four poddies at the home yard: Sam, Fred, Flora, and Doris.
My first few days in the yards were pretty rough. Never before have I worked with cattle, and I was thrown into the deep end. Very luckily, my first week there was also an organised training week for the staff, which was run by Boyd Holden, a livestock-handling guru. With his help I learnt all about the behaviour of cattle, and how to work with them in a low stress situation; not to say that it wasn’t hard. There may have been tears, nerves running through my whole body, but I managed to walk through the big/not so big weaner bulls!
Working at the crush was very interesting. Vaccinating, and processing all of the cattle, and sending them off onto the trucks to supply so many meals for people all over WA, even internationally. And we had the faithful trucky Steve, who with every truck loaded, would have an ice-cold ice coffee for us – Thank you!!
My all time FAVOURITE thing was stock camp. Even though the mornings were early, getting up and feeding the horses, breakky was always made with a smile, as we were all ready for the big day ahead mustering. The game plan was made and we were off. Jumping on my noble steed, Cinco, we were ready for anything.
Mustering was such a thrill and like nothing I’ve ever done before. Racing to stop a crazed heifer who’s tried to escape the mob, Annabelle and Sara in the choppers ahead guiding us as to where to go, bushes whacking into you left right and center – I loved it. My little horse was such a legend, took me wherever I wanted to go, and often knew what he was doing before I did! And there is no better satisfaction than to see your whole days hard work cooped up in the yards, team members running to the gates to shut them as quickly as possible, red dust flying in the air, and a big smile of relief on your face that the day is over with a great result. The beer esky waiting back at camp, or often in the horse truck went down beautifully and was well deserved.
Yarrie is an awesome place and I love it just as much as I love home. Having finished my time in the Pilbara for this year I miss it already, but it’s in my bones now and I will hopefully be back again next year!!