New horizons and wedding bells

Host: Farrcombe Contracting
Written by Raine Farrcombe – Owner, Farrcombe Contracting.

As far as life in general goes, Potter and I are consistently planning on how to improve from here. Last year we joined the elite club of ‘cattle owners’ and purchased our first 60 head of cows. We found as soon as we took ownership of these animals we immediately began treating them as pets. Since fattening these cows while on agistment at Gorrie Station we have now sold most of them. For the last 12 months we have been in the process of acquiring some lease country, it appears that this will become official as of the 1st of August 2016. This is a huge and exciting step for us as a business and a couple as it means we have the capacity to own and accommodate up to 600 head. This will allow us to branch out and secure another source of income and invest in something other than equipment for our contracting business.


4-1-copyOur own first cattle sale, cows being trucked off agistment.

Of course there are lots of improvements to be made first. Fences to build and repair, bores to complete, troughs to install, and fences to grade. This will add to our already growing workload and is something that we need to try to accomplish during our less busy mustering months. Should we not be able to stock the property ourselves, there is always the option of taking on agistment cattle. My parents have recently sold their farm and are also looking at other ventures in which they would like to branch into, this land should be able to accommodate the interests of the four of us.

In addition to our newly acquired land, we are also hoping to upgrade some of our contracting equipment. Earlier this year we sold the F250 and purchased some comfort with a Toyota 200 series wagon. We also invested in a new bike trailer and more recently a new more reliable quad bike. Another of our future goals for extending the fleet include wanting to purchase a prime mover and a 40ft trailer with kitchen and bathroom facilities. Every trip to town for the last 12 months has required that a copy of the latest truck deals be brought home with the groceries, just waiting for the right ‘rig’ to come our way.

4-2-copyNew quad with custom made bull bar.

And so the discussion on wedding venues began. Darwin seemed liked the most obvious choice, everything you need in the one place! Mum and Potter suggested we have the wedding at home at Coolibah and although this had been my dream since I was a little girl, the logistics seemed all too hard. No, it will be easy, they said! Well planning a wedding from a cattle station in the middle of nowhere, to be held on a different cattle station in the middle of nowhere is far from easy!

Although the whole process is quite exciting, we have discovered this task to be most daunting and stressful without access to internet and constant phone service. So as I go to town to collect groceries a mad dash to check emails and make phone calls occurs. There’s wedding invites, flowers, cakes, bridesmaid dresses, suits etc,. all swimming in my mind at once. The entire time I have been paranoid about forgetting something obvious like organising a celebrant or ordering chairs!

We have been so fortunate to have fantastic friends and family who have come to the rescue and played an enormous part in planning this epic event. My parents have developed the venue by setting up poles in the middle of our paddock to string lights from, fencing off the venue so the horses don’t eat all the grass we are attempting to grow and trying to create a campsite with reasonable amenities. Friends have offered to make decorations, set tables, cater for the recovery and the week leading up to the wedding, pick up flowers and cakes and alter suits. We are expecting 150 guests on the day, and being 230km from the closest town, travelling home is not an option. Most of our guests are hiring campervans or bringing their campdrafting setups (horsetrucks, caravans, and goosenecks), whilst it appears many others have invited themselves to sleep in the main house, on the couch and swag it on the floor. Absolute chaos is what is crossing my mind at this stage. Guests will come for a week which makes catering a nightmare and then there’s the ‘recovery party’, so the whole week long process will be epic, but most of these people we do not see for years at a time so I suppose the whole effort will be totally worth it. The isolation itself is proving to be a challenge, we are having to freight the equipment that we hire (tables, chairs, lights, portable bar, portaloos, dancefloor) and assemble it all ourselves. A working bee the week before the wedding is certainly on the cards.

As for ‘the dress’, I have heard many horror stories from those who purchased online and with Darwin only having two wedding stores in the whole city, mum and I did a trip to Brisbane. Two and a half days of dress shopping and I made a decision to purchase a dress from the first shop on day one. The whole experience of mum and I in the big smoke unsupervised with so many shops was a real treat!

5-1-copyMum and I saying ‘yes to the dress’.

So now as the day draw closer, phone calls to mum via the satellite phone every 2nd day ensures that our final preparations are hopefully on schedule. Whilst here we are out at camp at Doug Walter Bore, mustering South Tandidygee Paddock. I help draft the mobs and while the rest of the crew preg test the dry cattle, I prepare bulk smokos and dinners to put in the freezer so that I am able to leave a week before the wedding while ensuring that no one will go hungry. Potter on the other hand is scheduled to leave two days prior to the wedding . . . of course work is priority. The flying padrae is booked, the photographer is flying in from Greece and the booze has been ordered, slight problem . . . my dress is currently lost in freight somewhere between Brisbane and Katherine. As for a honeymoon, well Halls Creek Campdraft is looking pretty good.

5-2-copyOur Campdrafting string during our Honeymoon at Halls Creek.