Since last time

Host: Dampier Downs Station
Written by Anne Marie Huey – Manager, Dampier Downs Station.

Welcome back to Dampier Downs.

It has been a busy year for Mike and I since I last hosted this blog. Our development plan is well underway, and while it is a bit scary to now carry a lot more debt it is satisfying to see the new fences going up. The up-side of this is that we are now getting much better control of our cattle, which allows us to improve our management strategies and take better care of our animals. The down-side is that there will be a lot more gates to open.

1.1A section of new fence line – progress!

Along with new fences we have also begun putting in more watering points and are steadily moving towards solar pumps. This will not only cut our fuel bill, but will also ensure our cattle have a steady, reliable source of clean drinking water.

1.2Solar set up at Pat’s Bore.

We have also invested a lot of money into improving the infrastructure around the homestead. My bedroom may still be an ex-cold room, but these days we even have a proper lounge room! We have also upgraded the staff quarters, including a house for our married quarters, and upgrades to the single quarters. Another unique investment is our stock camp bus.

1.3Our stock camp bus – if only she could talk!

She might not look like much, but this old girl has lived an interesting life. She drove across Europe, Africa, and Asia before ending up in Australia. She then departed Sydney on another grand adventure but the trip ran out of steam in Broome where she sat for years until Mike discovered her and brought her out to Dampier Downs. A coat of paint and some TLC later, she is destined to become the home-away-from-home for our staff when they are working remotely.

The dogs continue to keep us busy, although sadly we lost Turnip last year. We have, however, gained Addy and as you would expect she is the youngest member of the team yet has the biggest Addy-tude. Tassie is growing up fast – no longer the ball of cuteness she was this time last year, but now a young, athletic (albeit very hairy) dog. I have now put my foot down – no more puppies!

1.4Tassie – all grown up!

1.5Our latest recruit – Addy.

Our season is in full swing and we are busy putting cattle together to sell. In addition, weaners need to be weaned, breeders need to be vaccinated, and cull cows need to be spayed. Fortunately, Mike’s sister Jane has come back to give us a hand to get it all done.

It must be getting cold down south as we have has a steady stream of visitors. Be warned – if you turn up on a cattle station in the middle of the season you will probably find yourself with a job or two, particularly if you have a useful skill or trade. Having said that, we (and probably every other family-run cattle station) owe a huge debt of gratitude to the family and friends who do help us out with all sorts of jobs when they visit. At Dampier Downs, we have a long list of bores named after just such people.

So all in all it has been a busy start to the year. Stay tuned!