Our decade on Brunchilly

Host: Helen Springs Station
Written by Yvonne Bauer – Domestic, Brunchilly Station.

My husband, John, our two girls, Benita and Sandy and myself moved to Brunchilly Station, Northern Territory in 2004. John grew up in the bush and we wanted our girls to be able to experience the same lifestyle. September last year was our ten year anniversary of living here, so we must like it!

John’s job has been varied, he started here as the Machinery Operator, driving the loader to clean out turkey’s nests etc. and from there became the Bore Mechanic, fixing the bores that pump water for the cattle, for the next eight years. Now he is the Bore Runner, which means he starts and services the bores that pump water for the cattle. He has over 60 bores to start here on Brunchilly, with each of them pumping up to 10km to three or four turkey’s nests or tanks and then each of them filling up to four troughs, which adds up to a lot of troughs to clean. John travels 5000km per fortnight, so he also services his Toyota once a fortnight as well as maintaining pipes and turkey’s nests fences. What he enjoys about his job is getting out seeing the cattle and the countryside because there’s always something different happening. The bore runner’s job is vital to the station, without water there are no cattle. Also, the bore runner covers a lot of the station area each day and so can let the manager/head stockman know of any problems there might be.

3.John fixing a broken fence on the bore runJohn fixing a broken fence on the bore run.

3.Cattle drinking at a freshly cleaned troughCattle drinking at a freshly cleaned trough.

My job has mainly consisted of being the Home Tutor to Benita and Sandy, but also over the years, some gardening, cleaning, and assisting the cook with processing meat when a killer is brought in. When we moved here, Benita was in year three and Sandy in year one. We started at Katherine School of the Air with HF radios and rapidly progressed to IDL (Interactive Distance Learning) computers from year two and four until year nine, which we still use today. 

3.Sandy with Moo one of our working dogsSandy with Moo one of our working dogs.

The girls were then enrolled with NTOEC (Northern Territory Open Education Centre), for years 10 – 12. This school is based in Darwin and also accesses the IDL system. Benita successfully completed Year 12 in 2013, and has since worked for a year in a stock camp and is now attending an Agricultural College to further her studies. Sandy is completing Year 12 this year with NTOEC. I have really enjoyed the challenge of teaching my own children, but the responsibility has weighed heavily at times. I am looking forward to this being my last year of being a home tutor after 12 years!  I also do the administration work for Brunchilly. Even though I don’t ride a horse, draft cattle, or fix machinery, my role here contributes to the smooth running of the station.

3.Benita on her station campdraft horse 'hope'Benita on her station campdraft horse ‘Hope’.

John and the girls really enjoy their horses and campdrafting. Since I don’t ride, I have my own interests including making hand-dyed scarves and camera straps. Sandy also has a keen interest in photography and has her own online business. All the photos in this blog are hers.

3.Hillvue Miss Majestic After a hard days work mustering cattleHillvue Miss Majestic After a hard days work mustering cattle.

3.Meg enjoying a swim in the trough while John cleans the troughMeg enjoying a swim in the trough while John cleans the trough.