The harder I work, the luckier I am

Host: Yarrie Station
Written by Lydia Inglis – Stationhand/Technical Assistant, Yarrie Station

When I finally made the decision to move to Pilbara and work as a station hand, I had mixed responses such as:

“That’s amazing, you’ll have so much fun!”, “That’ll be a nice wee break from your career”, and let’s not forget the never-ending “Why?”. In pursuit to find a blog topic I found myself thinking “Well, why did you?”.

Surprise! I’m a kiwi in Australia. I came over to Australia in 2015 to pursue a career in ag science – particularly sheep (yep.. kiwi working with sheep… I’ve heard it all before folks).

I worked in an animal science research team at Murdoch University where we focussed on sheep productivity and welfare. I loved my job – I was surrounded by amazing academics and endless opportunities. I was lucky enough to do my Honours while I worked there and the combination of the two took me all over Australia and the UK.

The next step was to do my PhD, of course. So when I made the decision to leave to work on a cattle station, I got one of those responses “That’ll be a nice wee break from your career”. But in fact, this was a career move. So, instead of doing my PhD, I did my Certificate II in Agriculture, and I couldn’t be happier with what I have done and accomplished so far this season.

My role on Yarrie Station is station hand/record keeper. I’m right there beside Annabelle, station owner and cattle-woman extraordinaire, most days helping her collect crucial data to help her manage her herd’s performance and learning so much in the process.

Wow. How lucky am I? I get to do all the exhilarating station hand duties like mustering on horses, shoeing horses, chasing and processing wild mickey bulls, witness amazing chopper pilots work their magic meters above us all the while being involved with all of the record keeping. But let me tell you… where there are ups, there are downs.

In one week I managed to: get hit in the face by a cow’s head while it was in the head bale (no cool battle scars, just some tears and a blinding headache for a couple of days); hammer my hand instead of the nail on the horse shoe (hello blood blister) and; have a horse stand on my foot and then fall off my horse (if the headache wasn’t bad enough, just add whiplash). Gee.. how lucky am I… why am I here?

Well, a couple of weeks previous to this one I castrated my first calf, pregnancy tested a cow, ran a pain relief trial on castrated weaners and shod a horse without hammering my hand or getting my foot stood on! Wow! How lucky am I!? This is why I’m here. It is amazing, and I am having so much fun.

This sums up being a farrier to me. And that’s not even the blood blister I’m referring to in my story.

And this really sums up a day spent mustering.

Aside from all these amazing ups and downs, what makes the Pilbara a really special place is the people. There is a strong sense of community and although I am the most isolated I have ever been, I am more in touch with people, friends and family than ever before. This is priceless.

 While there’s choppers buzzing above us, let’s quickly get a snap with the Yarrie sign. Thanks to Col for taking the pic (and not getting your finger in the photo this time) and thanks to George for being one of the many beautiful people I have met in the Pilbara.

My great uncle once said “Every person is given an opportunity at least once in their life. It is up to them whether they take it or not”(Les Roughan, Dog trial champion).

I spent years of my life wondering what it would be like to live and work on a station. I don’t regret it taking me this long as I have been able to bring a skill set with me but have the courage to take risks, be bold and follow your passion, if you work hard enough you’ll be lucky enough to reap the benefits of it.