Power and Diesel

Host: Miss Chardy
Written by Danielle Doyle – Manager, Mittiebah Station.

Have you ever wondered how we get our power when we live hundreds of kilometres from town? Or did you just think the power lines came all the way out here? You probably did, right? Well they don’t. No – not even the power lines come this far into Woop Woop. So that means we have to provide our own power, it is fascinating stuff people . . . so don’t move an inch.

Diesel is the juice that keeps an outback cattle station alive. Because we live so far from town the station is powered by a huge Generator – we call her Jenny and she is 140 KVA and she is so much nicer than Ergon or Country Energy, or whatever powers you all. We also have a back up generator – 80 KVA – in case the main one breaks down. All our bore motors are also powered by diesel. We have around 50 bores (holes in the ground which we pump our water from).

A bore is a hole in the ground lined with five inch steel pipe with slots cut into the bottom so that the water can seep into the bore hole out of the porous rock. Gee I really sound like I know what I am talking about don’t I, ha ha ha – don’t be fooled! The bore holes vary in depth but as an example ours are anywhere from 105 metres to 150 metres. Some bore holes can be a kilometre deep. We have a “Bore Runner” whose sole job is to travel around the station each day starting these motors to ensure that our cattle have water to drink. Without diesel and a Bore Runner our cattle would perish and we would be out of a job. But I think “Bores” might be a whole other blog post. Stay tuned for that little chestnut won’t you!

fuel truck 2

The fuel man – our diesel angel – comes about once a month, he fills up all our diesel tanks, ULP, and also delivers Av Gas and Oils. I am telling you people – road trains do things for me, I mean just look at it – isn’t she a beauty???!!!

He would normally have three trailers on, however because we were probably the last station on his run, he has un-hitched one and left an empty trailer down the road to make his trip in here a bit easier. To get to us, he drives this beast up 160km of dirt road, not to mention along thousands of km’s of bitumen.

If we didn’t have diesel, we couldn’t run Jenny, which means we couldn’t run our air conditioners. I take my hat off to the men and women who used to live on these stations without air-conditioning (yes, we are discussing the important issues here people), not sure how they survived. This little princess likes her air conditioners. My favourite part about living with generator power is that we can have as many air conditioners, lights etc on as we like. It doesn’t matter if we have two or 22 air conditioners running because Jenny uses the same amount of diesel every month, regardless. But don’t worry – it is still expensive, just like any of the townsfolk who pay a huge power bill every quarter. Let’s just say, our diesel bill is pretty hefty.

Fuel Truck

Here are our main diesel tanks:

Here is Jenny and her little sister. Mr Chardy is servicing Jenny today. He will switch us over to the other Generator just so we are not without power for too long while he does this service.  He will drain the oil, change the filters, and do any other maintenance which is required. We feel very lucky to have such reliable power. It is very rare that we have a black out. So here is our “Power Station” . . .


Yes, it is LOUD. Sounds like a big road train is constantly running. Very different to town power. There is always the rumble of the generator in the background on an outback cattle station.




And this is Jenny’s huge drink bottle – 54,000 litre diesel tank. She is a greedy little bugger isn’t she.





Don’t you just love the power lines . . . how’s the serenity. These power lines remind me that I really must dig out The Castle, haven’t watched it for years. Actually I may have to buy the DVD as I am pretty sure we only have it on VHS and we no longer have a video player.

“Power lines remind me of man’s ability to generate electricity” – Darryl Kerrigan, The Castle.

Who else loved The Castle?