Seeing them come and go

Host: Gallipoli Station
Written by Jacki Bishop – Overseer, Gallipoli Station.

One of the things I really enjoy about where I live is the people we get to meet and work with.

3;1 One of the Jillys on the station with her colt copyOne of the Jilly’s on the station with her Colt.

Every year we generally get some new faces on the place, whether they are completely new to the industry, transfers within the company or maybe even an old hand trying out a new place. All of them have another story to tell about where they come from and how or why they ended up ‘out here’, I can’t help but relate because it doesn’t seem all that long ago (but it really was), that I was in the same boat.

For some I have found they have become sick of the city or home town and want to get away to experience something completely new. They come from all walks of life and of all ages and even from other countries.

Getting toward the end of the year when the heat really starts sucking the life out of everything, us included, I love looking back to the start of the year at what our crew was like, who has come and gone and how we have all changed and developed from our experiences. We become a little, no, a lot, like proud parents when you find you have a well balanced crew that have learnt how to work together and things just work, with animals that can be and mostly are unpredictable. That takes time. Time invested in staff that you hope will come back.

3;2 The camp in the yards pushing the cows up copyThe camp in the yards pushing the cows up.

It’s nice to see fresh faced Jackeroos arrive (even better when they have come back to stay another year), work the season and leave on holidays/transfer or go back home well on their way to becoming men. I can only put it down to confidence in themselves and what they have achieved. The Jilly’s (female station hands) leaving the year with the same feeling, leaving with confidence they can change a tyre, service their car, ride and shoe a horse, and ride a motorbike, things they may never have learnt or been exposed to if they had not ventured out to try station life as a Jackeroo/Jillaroo.

In writing this I can’t help mention our quiet achievers, those who don’t live the exciting life of the stock camp but who’s jobs are equally important, our ‘Pumpers’. On Gallipoli here we have two Pumpers (Bore Runners) that have the essential job of keeping water up to our stock. They cover hundreds of kilometres every week. They are the eyes for Brolga, keeping him informed of any changes that have occurred, where cattle have moved, broken bores etc.

Then there is the cook. If you get a good one they are equal to gold, if not well it sours everyone. Most of all the boss’s wife, because if there is no cook, guess who gets the job nine times out of ten and that is generally not a good scenario for anyone. We all know who gets the raw end of the deal then! Happy wife, happy life? 

In all, a happy, harmonious, and hardworking crew is the ultimate goal. In our time out bush we have made some lifelong friendships and continue to meet some wonderful personalities. I can’t help but start to wonder, who are we going to meet next year?