Host: El Questro Station
Written by Salerno Family – Owners, El Questro Station.
These outback lawyers don’t just settle for the office!
They leave the courthouse at lunchtime swapping their wigs and gowns for a pair of R.M. Williams boots and an Akubra hat. Two siblings; one jumps on a horse, the other in a R22 helicopter – both in search of a mob of cattle. Just another day for brother and sister Law Partners Matteo and Emma Salerno.
The Salerno siblings were raised on El Questro Station when their family owned the one million acre cattle station set in the amazing landscape of East Kimberley. Their brother James – aka Hawkeye – runs the station and calls on family to come home during the dry season to help with the mustering and drafting required when it’s time to process and truck cattle. Emma is known for her fierceness in the saddle and can round up any stray weaner when it’s time to ‘tail’ the weaners (moving young weaned cattle from one paddock to another).
Matteo, on the other hand, is known as fearless from his seat in the R22 helicopter and enjoys the luxury of scouring the beautiful ranges and landscape of El Questro for stray cattle.
After moving to the eastern states to study law, the Kimberley and cattle life never left their blood, even though the brother-sister duo now juggle high profile careers between law, business, mustering, and their army commitments.
Emma Salerno with two Arabs.
Looking back, both agree that this upbringing gave them practical down to earth experiences which they bring to their family run law firm, their active station lives and for life in general. Both completed their Law degrees at Bond University in Queensland; Matteo graduated with honours. Then in 2008 they established a general practice family law firm Salerno Law, Barrister and Solicitors in Kununurra Western Australia.
Many of the locals benefit from the lawyers practical outback style legal services in the remote outback town of Kununurra; particularly those in the pastoral industry. Due to their knowledge and experience in this area, Salerno Law recently represented a Kimberley cattleman and pastoral company in an animal cruelty trial brought by the RSPCA.
Emma and Matteo’s brother James in yards.
As glamorous as it all may sound, station life hasn’t always been easy. While most children spend their days at school playing with friends, weekends down the local pool or park and heading out with friends, these two were up at the crack of dawn ready for a full days’ work. There was poddies to be tended to, dusty verandahs to be swept, chick peas to be soaked to feed the animals and chooks to be fed with their eggs collected. With home school to fit in somewhere, this is really only a small part of the average day of bush kids.
Matteo on the two wheeler motorbike.
It isn’t all bad. You realise next to city kids how much bush kids can actually do. Both learnt to drive at a young age; cook; and garden; repair fences; process weaners; draft cattle; ride a motorbike; service a vehicle and shoe and break a horse.
Emma leads group.
As brother-sister partnership Matteo and Emma Salerno ride the wave of corporate success, there is also something a little special about this pair. When asked to compare working in the legal office younger sibling Matteo tells us –
“Bringing down the R22 of an evening after hours of aerial mustering, yeah, the office chair is comfy, but nothing is better than cracking a cold one around a fire with the blokes.”