The “bush change”

Host: Liveringa Station
Written by Desi Turner – Gardener, Liveringa Station.

Clive and Desi joined us this year to manage our workshop and gardens. We love their enduring positivity and sense of humour. – Karen, Station Manager.

 “Let’s live and work on a cattle station,” Clive said as we sat drinking a coldie after a day of sight-seeing on our holiday.

3.1 (Small)Desi and Clive at the caravan park in Broome.

“Mmmmm . . . that would be very . . . different!” Red dirt, dust, and primitive accommodation like in the fiction I had read – though we’ve lived in places like that before. “Do I want to do this again?” my brain was asking, “NO!” (definitely no out loud voice with that thought!)

We travelled from Albany in our 18’6 van so I could see the north of WA for the first time and Clive could enjoy and see places he’d only passed through quickly 20 years ago on his way to Queensland to meet me – not that he knew that then.

After cleaning in Broome for six months through the wet, Clive saw this job on ‘the net’. Chatter chatter over a cuppa at 5.30am and his resume was on its way.

Holy moly, what a surprise – Jed rang and asked us out for a visit!

The drive from Broome was not that exciting, but as we drove through the gates of Liveringa, our excitement grew as we marvelled at the Boabs standing elegant and stately along the driveway.

3.2 (Small)One of our favourite boabs along the Liveringa driveway.

Interview: laid back and casual

Countryside: awesome and exciting

People: friendly as . . .

And so the wait started . . .

The phone rang on a Wednesday – Clive had been offered a job.

  1. To accept?
  2. Stupid question of course!

Driving through the front gates two weeks later, our van following us in preparation to start work, we both felt like we’d been driving this road for years.

After four months, each day is an adventure and has new challenges.

Clive’s job as Workshop Manager is fairly self-explanatory: fix what needs to be fixed, order parts to be able to fix broken machinery, delegate jobs, and impart information to his apprentice, Matty.

With only about 100+ pieces of plant to look after ranging from the ride-on lawn mower and utes to farm equipment and road trains and trailers as well as quad and motor bikes . . . and sometimes the stove in the kitchen! “Sounds easy”, I hear you think, and it would be if we lived in Perth or a larger town.

Availability and receival of parts can become quite a saga if they are not in stock in Perth. The time frame expands out quite considerably if they have to be sourced and shipped from the Eastern states. A real drama if crops have to be dropped on the ground, the hay needs baling, or cattle have to be moved during mustering.

Picture this: a workshop with a Prime Mover and two trailers awaiting parts, a Toyota needing a new door, motor bike waiting for new handle bars, utes on and off the hoist being serviced, the radio goes crackle, crackle – Oh no! The grader needs work (only 40km from the main homestead!)

Clive jumps onto his trusty white steed, aka Toyota ute, and it’s off into the bush to work magic.

Most of his days end with a feeling of a job well done and having achieved to the best of his ability.

Clive’s hours are Monday – Friday, 6am – 5pm. Saturday and Sunday are relax days unless he has to work, though these find him busy around the house tending and experimenting with the vegie garden he has constructed with the existing frame in the yard at our house. We have consumed (with great excitement and taste) our own grown tomatoes, beetroot, radishes, lettuce, and rockmelon. Another task well done.

During our first meeting I was assured that if Clive was lucky enough to be employed then there would be employment for me also. 20-25 hours per week has blown out to about 40 some weeks. My main task initially was going to town (Derby) to pick up mail and freight twice a week. I now include garden maintenance, poddy calf feeding, and some cleaning in my job description.

The mail/freight trips to town some weeks are as many as 4+, especially during mustering to pick up Aviation Gas for the helicopters. The hours during the day and between town runs are filled by assisting with feeding the poddy calves, cleaning ablutions, sorting and cataloguing the workshop store, AND sometimes I get to travel in the white steed to that grader that needs fixing in the bush! The bonus to that is that we can call in and see the Rock Art on the way and I get to drive the Grader Driver’s ute back to the workshop (an adventure in its own right).

One of the many highlights at the end of the day as the sun sets . . . just how many frogs will be watching us from the hanging pot out the front? 6, 7, or perhaps 8.

And the most amazing? As the sun rises each morning, we drink our cuppa and think “amazing, absolutely bloody amazing!”

Thanks team Liveringa!

3.3 (Small)Desi and one of the poddies at feeding time.

3.4 (Small)Clive out fixing the roller “in the field”.

3.5 (Small) The view from Clive and Desi’s back verandah during an Inkata muster (Inkata is the name of the hub of Liveringa and it includes the Homestead, permanent residences, staff quarters, kitchen, yards, feedlot, workshop, centre pivitots.