Living the dream

Host: Umbearra Station

Well here we go; I have never been one to put ourselves out there but with encouragement from Steph Coombes and my husband Angus I am giving this a red-hot crack. So, hang in there and hopefully we will produce some good reading!

A little about ourselves…

My name is Kimberley, and along with my husband Angus, live on Umbearra Station with our children Oliver (5) and Millie (1). Umbearra is a family owned and operated Cattle Station in Central Australia, we cover 3600 square kilometres (approx 900,000 acres) of grazing land and run Organic Certified Red Angus cross cattle.

 Kimberley and Gus.

The station is located 320km south of Alice Springs and situated right on the Northern Territory-South Australia border. Angus’s grandfather Leith McKay purchased the property in 1962 and 10 years later Angus’ father Thomas purchased the adjacent property, Kulgera, which is what makes up Umbearra today.

My husband is the third generation, born and bred to this rural living with the red dirt running through his veins. Meanwhile I grew up only 450km south in a small opal mining town where my father was an engineer and my mother busily raising three children amongst the “Painted Desert” white and ochre coloured landscape.

Once I graduated from High School, I had the opportunity of moving to Alice Springs to continue my career in children services. With only a 2-year plan of living in Alice Springs my dream was to work around Australia, and Perth was to be my next destination.

Although, as usual for someone so young, my life took a different direction all together. Not long after moving to Alice I met Angus.

After a year of long distant relationship, we decided to take the next step and I packed up and moved out to be with him on the Station in 2006.

Angus was 24 years old when his father, Thomas, decided a change was in order. After 40 odd years of developing Umbearra, he undertook a sea change and moved to Emu Bay on Kangaroo Island SA. Thomas and his wife Marie purchased a small farm to run 300 head of red Angus cattle from Umbearra.

At the age of 24 and 19, Angus and myself had to find our feet quickly. We were thrown into the deep end to navigate this new lifestyle of running a cattle station in the thick of one of the worst droughts since the 1950’s. With no family support as our closest family where 1500 km away, this was a daunting challenge. Experiencing what it is like to live and work with your partner was a real eye opener. Safe to say were able to work side by side and still get on at the end of each day.

Although, I have a few memories of not being very impressed with Angus. You see, most afternoons after a long day processing cattle in the yards or days spent on a motorbike tailing weaners together, I would come home to the chore of the “evening meal”. This was something I was expected to undertake all by myself while Angus would enjoy a cold beer and a yarn on the front lawn with the contractors. Meanwhile, I’m peeling spuds and trying to make a decent main meal to serve up to everyone. Of course, Angus would get most of the credit for dinner because he cooked the bloody steak!

Cooking was just not my thing at the beginning, I had no clue. I remember the first batch of scones I made for the hungry crew. Every one sitting down around our kitchen table and taking the first bite into a fresh scone straight out of the oven to only spit them out as they where not edible. It turns out I was meant put in 2 table spoons of sugar not salt. That year for Christmas my father in law handed me a cook book as my Christmas present and said, “Don’t take this the wrong way but I think you might need this.” Turns out I did.

Now 13 years later looking back this all seems a lifetime ago. In the past few years my husband and I have taken full ownership of the station, something we could only have dreamed about back in the beginning. With two beautiful children and a house paddock full of poddies never to be sold, life for us has turned out pretty alright.  We have experienced droughts of epic proportions and seen seasons with so much greenery you’d forget we lived in Central Australia. The one thing that has remained constant for us is knowing that we are working for the next generation. If we can give our children the opportunities that have been presented to us, we have done our job.

Our family.

 Kimberley, Angus, David and Toby.