School Life / Station Life

Host: Kalyeeda Station
Written by Wave Camp – Owner, Kalyeeda Station.

Yarding up with Peter, Camille, Wave and Rosella. 

Hi, I’m Wave and I have lived in the Kimberley my whole life. My Mum and Dad, Peter and Cheryl Camp, bought Kalyeeda Station in 1996, the year before I was born, and we have lived here for sixteen years. Located on the edge of the Fitzroy River, and three hours from the nearest town we are on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert.

10,000 hectares of floodplain covers the land, as well as sand dunes, wattle scrub and plenty of dreaded Spinifex. Around the homestead the sprinklers work hard to keep the grass green, as the sun seeks to drag away the moisture. There are poddy calves on the lawn (lawnmowers and fertilisers), and two terrifying canines protect the houses, a Shiatsu and King Charles Cavalier. At nearby Goose Hole billabong, horses and cattle rest under the shade and ignore the crocodiles watching in the water.

The family at Christmas. L-R James, Lindsay, Camille, Peter, Wave, Hannah and Barbara.

I’ve done school at home my whole life, the primary years at Katherine School of the Air (KSOTA), then high school at School of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE). Primary school was great as a grubby kid running around (mostly naked) refusing to do work. Each year a different tutor, and a different nationality, culture, and personality to learn about. Danish, Dutch, German, Austrian, Scottish, Welsh, English, Kiwi, and occasionally an Aussie! School camps in Broome or Derby once a year, with teachers desperately trying to control feral station kids as we caused chaos. I am pretty amazed that I actually passed Primary school at all, with the amount of school work that I did (not much). Missing out the entirety of year four due to family issues, and most of year five because my tutor wanted me to learn to appreciate art and complete a twenty page history of the world rather than learn maths! That’s without even mentioning the many days off I had going mustering!

I learnt from about eight the best way to get sweet revenge on my unsuspecting tutors for making me do fractions. Horse riding. Whether it be an ‘accidental’ stick up the tail, a whack to the horse’s rump or a lack of saddle, my tutors suffered. I even remember, at one point, leaving one of my tutors stuck in the middle of a paddock she didn’t know while I cantered off to find cattle, the day after she arrived. They came away with bruises, cuts and emotional scars. Many of them were great women and great friends, and a few of them were not. The one time that I was forced to do work with my elder sister, Hannah, I was both rapped across the hands with a ruler and, after attempting to run away, dragged back to the house by my hair. It was not a great experience.

Mum and Dad have always made Kalyeeda a home run station, and all of us have always helped out. I have three sisters and two brothers. There is many an unfortunate tale that my siblings can whip out of their memories, leading each other astray and into trouble, be it a picket in a billabong or getting lost in the home paddock. Damien and Robyna as well as their families live in Queensland.  Hannah, James, and Camille currently live and work in Kununurra, with James’ wife Barbara.

James and Barbara.

My parents bought Charnley River in 2000, so I swapped my home between Kalyeeda and Charnley for many years. Charnley was a large station full of trees, mountains, creeks, and endless scrub, not to mention cleanskins and scrubber bulls. I would miss days of school mustering with the crew and working in the yards.

During the season we lived out in stock camp for a week at a time, mustering the area with helicopters, horses, bikes, and a bullcatcher, walking the mob back to the house yards after about four days. Then my frantic tutor would enact torture on me in the form of maths for about two days before heading back out. We could be standing around holding a mob for over four hours without anything happening, then chaos would ensue as the helicopters chased in mobs of galloping scrubbers. While walking in the lead, I would lecture my old gelding on the benefits of behaving while simultaneously watching the horns behind me, but he would still buck as soon as he thought I was getting bored.

Walking Out Cattle with Santiago and CamilleWalking out cattle.

Currently I am living at Kalyeeda, frantically completing year 11. I am still missing out on school, but I could not really envisage a world where I am not getting yelled at by a teacher. High school definitely much harder with six subjects to keep up. It’s funny how living on a station can come up in many of my subjects, like women’s rights in P&L and land management in Biology. I combine the busy schedule of online Centra lessons, tests, and exam preparation with riding everyday.

My passion for horses has now led me to competing in showjumping and dressage, so my Dad made the twelve hour drive with the horses to Kununurra for the Agricultural Show, and then the further five hour drive to Katherine Show. The week after we arrived back in Kununurra, I competed in the Kununurra Campdraft and rodeo, and then we all drove back to Derby and Broome for their annual rodeos. Therefore, I had over four weeks of school work to catch up on!

Preparing for RodeoPreparing for rodeo.

I just sold one of my horses that I have ridden since I was 10, a brumby off Charnley. There were certainly tears, but it gives me more time for the rest of them. There is always something sad about seeing a horse standing unused and unappreciated in a paddock. My current tutor, Angharad, helps me with it all. From quelling the panic before a test to blasting out the Disney tunes while washing horses and plotting the demise of a particularly slow calf on the tail of a mob. The rest of the crew keep the slow months cheerful, with the occasional water fight, sabotage of toothbrushes and traditional name calling. Personalities may clash to begin with but by the end of the year, Darwin’s theory has run its course and everyone gets along.

The Crew at Derby rodeo, pre STation Challenge, L-R Jaime, Jess, Anghard and JeremyThe Crew at Derby rodeo, pre-station Challenge, L-R Jaime, Jess, Anghard and Jeremy

At the moment we are all finishing off the first round of the season, and readying ourselves for the Picnic Races and Bullaruma in Derby on the 20th and 21st September. Horses to prepare, dresses to buy, and head stockmen to manipulate into racing!