Ringer from the top end – of South Australia!

Host: Mt. Sarah Station
Written by Alex Josefski – Station Hand, Mt. Sarah Station.

To me, the greatest part of my job is being able to learn something new every day. Whether it is a major skill; like driving a truck or something as simple as tying a knot. No matter how big or small the skill is, they are all helpful when working on a cattle station in the top end of South Australia.

Campfire beers – myself and Damo.

Coming straight out of the city, I had no idea what to expect when I first arrived at Mount Sarah Station. I had to catch two flights, which was a first for me, then drive three hours with my new boss through the desert in order to make it to my new home. I was proper green when I arrived, but was eager to put in the hard yards to make a living in middle of Australia.

Pest control . . . One shot wonder!

The first day on the job I was taught how to ride a motorbike and how to stop cattle from pissing off on you when the other blokes are mustering into your mob. I thought I was a real stockman when I was able to hold up a mob of 20 on my own. I knew then and there that this is the job for me. Throughout the year, I have been able to gradually build up to working larger mobs of cattle by myself on the bike and it’s a great feeling when you realise that you have improved. It’s like remembering the first time you drove to how you drive now.

Starting out.

Talking about learning to drive, a majority of you will know, there is usually a lot of machinery that is required to run a station. Trucks, graders, tractors, loaders, and everything in between. The way I was taught to drive most of the machinery was by being thrown in the driver’s seat, shown how to start and turn off the machine and off I went. There usually aren’t too many obstacles in the way out here, so this method was the easiest and best way for me to learn. Personally, the front end loader is the most fun to operate, because who doesn’t like digging holes with a massive machine?

Never too old . . . or young to learn!

It’s always an achievement to learn the major skills like driving a truck or how to work a mob of cattle. But it is often the simpler and smaller skills that make living in the bush just that bit easier on a day to day basis. For example, learning to half hitch a bit of rope on the yard gates properly lets everyone sleep easy after a long day mustering without worrying about that stubborn mob breaking out of the yards. Or putting some spit on the end of a poly fitting just to make it that little bit easier to connect them together. The list is endless, everyone has their own tricks and tips which is great because you can learn from them and work out which ones work for you. No matter how long you have been in the cattle game, the day that you stop learning, is the day that you hang up your hat for the last time.

Walking cattle.