My love affair with Yarrie Station

Host: Yarrie Station
Written by – Tiffany Fowler, Yarrie Tragic, Yarrie Station.

My love affair with Yarrie Station started many years ago when I was knee high to a Mickey Bull.

My family connections with the Coppin’s go way back before Ann met Lang, when my dad was a Dingo trapper on Mt Edgar Station (Ann’s family station).

5.4Annabelle and I.

I’m the same age as Annabelle, and in a way I can say we grew up together. And I don’t mean I lived on the station and grew up, more so, my family spent many school holiday driving up north with the end stop (and most exciting in my opinion) being at Yarrie Station. My love affair with horses also began here at Yarrie, with a horse called Janelle, or was it Blue Eyes, or Henry . . . it’s too long ago to remember now, but riding high on my faithful steed and mustering cattle had me believing I was born to be a jillaroo (my parents had different ideas about that believe me).

When I got older and the family trips up north stopped, I continued my pilgrimage to Yarrie (almost as frequently as each year) with a quick plane trip from Perth to Port Headland, to be picked up on a stores run to spend two or so weeks at Yarrie mustering and riding horses. Now, I could spend some time here telling the stories about the mischief Annabelle and I used to get into, but I wouldn’t want my God Mother, Ann Coppin, thinking that I wasn’t a little angel!

At the end of my holiday in 2001, I remember nervously creeping into the kitchen after dinner one night to ask Ann of I could come and work at Yarrie for the season after I finished High School and before I started Uni. When Ann said yes, I’m sure I did a double summersault with happiness. What unfolded thereafter, ensured Yarrie always had a little spot forever in my heart.

My year as a Jillaroo flew by. I turned 18 out at my favourite stock camp, Gap Well, stories of which won’t air in this forum. Needless to say, the fact I still don’t drink Bundy Rum to this day, is an indication of the events that unravelled that night. The year at Yarrie taught me a lot of things about life, and about hard work and fun and play and love and . . . the list goes on. I think I remember the day I left Yarrie that year. I knew it wasn’t going to be the end of my adventures at Yarrie, but the thought of leaving my second home left me crying all the way to the gate (or should I say the Muccan River Crossing, which was about a half hour drive).

Needless to say I was back again the following uni break, and again and again, and again. Coming back in later years I introduced some of my friends to Yarrie station. Knowing what an impact it had had on me, it was only fair to share the love around. Looking at the Yarrie Stations Facebook page, with its plethora of friends, many of which have worked there or at least spent some time there (of which I have 65 mutual friends), it’s not hard to tell it’s a great place to be.

This year I’m spending a two month holiday in Port Hedland with my fiancé Brett and our band of race horses. We’ve toured the local race tracks, including Marble Bar, where we enjoyed our very first win as trainers. The sensation of our first win, celebrated with friends from the station, at a track that I’d spent many a day gallivanting around in my past, was second to none!

Between riding our horses on the beach and swimming them in Pretty Pool (a tidal inlet at the beach), we’re not having too bad a time of it really. Considering its probably 10 degrees at home (Mumballup – in the South West) right now, and here it’s a balmy 33 degrees, and we have an uninterrupted view of the ocean from our front veranda.

5.2Team enjoying a Smoko break during yard Work: Back (L-R) Alex, Sarah, Nebraska, Annabelle, Ann. Front (L-R) Spud, Hughie (Dog) Wizzard, Me (Tiffany), Wayne.

So far this trip I have managed to make it out to Yarrie to join in on three musters, maybe with one more if I’m lucky before we head home. I’ve got it all sorted out ! Drive the 230kms out to Yarrie, go mustering one day, leave the next day before yard work !!!

5.6 copyThe crew getting stuck into yard work at Jinacarlie Yards.

Yesterday we mustered the Jinacarlie area, a childhood favourite of mine. The beauty of the landscape out this way is breath taking. Rolling spinifex covered hills with rich red outcrops and shady tree-lined creeks. Photos just can’t do it justice.

5.5Ann Coppin heading out on the days muster on her horse Witchcraft.

I rode a horse called Calcutta. He is amazing. He is the epitome of what a mustering horse should be. Sure footed, brave, fast, witty and, not to mention, Handsome !! Not that that helps him with the cattle, other than to lure them in with his devilish good looks, only to bite them on the buttock if they fall out of line. If I fall asleep out there on the mob, he’s the first one to wake me up when a beast breaks free from the mob, all I really have to do is hold on for the ride. Over my many years of mustering, I feel (well at least some days) that I’ve just about got it down pat, and having a horse that is quick off the mark, with ridiculous speed, turn on a dime ability and cow sense, just makes me look good out there. Now I’m gloating a bit here, and a quick shy from Calcutta at something spooky on the ground brings me back to reality as I manage to gain my balance before being led off through the scrub after a cheeky mickey bull.

5.1Calcutta, my favourite horse at Yarrie.

Annabelle is who really amazes me out there. She won’t like this one bit, being the modest person she is. Annabelle has grown up doing this all her life, but for me, to see her develop from being an awesome horse rider (that I aspire to be as good as one day), to being swift and nifty on the bike chasing bulls, to being the leader up there in the sky in her shiny helicopter, is what truly amazes me and fills me with pride. And to top it all off, being able to go for a fly with my best mate in her helicopter at the end of the day, looking over the land of which we’ve just mustered, is second to none . . . words can’t really describe.     

5.7Smiles all round in the Chopper.

So that’s it, my ongoing love affair with Yarrie Station. My fiancé Brett will just have to understand. Well maybe he won’t completely understand the connection I have with Yarrie, but after managing to get him out there on a small trip and some musters a few years back, at least he has a feel for it and knows what he’s up against.

Till next time, and as the hat says . . . I’m ‘Happy as Yarrie’.

Tiffany Fowler