The Stock Camp

Host: Nerrima Station
Written by the Crew, Nerrima Station.

2.1 copyThe whole stock camp together at the recent Picnic Races Ball in Derby, from left to right – Callum Moore, Courtney Turner, Jacob Dunn, Tahlia Moore, Kay Sandford, Dave Milton.

Courtney Turner

Hi I’m Courtney Turner and I grew up in Newcastle NSW. I am one of seven and the only one that has taken a liking to station life, starting off my love for the country when I attended Tocal Agriculture college. Soon after graduating my certificate III and IV I was overly eager to move to the outback.  I started working at Nerrima in April this year after previously working for Jumbuck Pastoral at Mobella Station SA. This was a great change from sheep station life, going from working with ‘maggot taxi’s’ (aka Sheep) to larger meaner animals that want to eat me.

Our first muster was bullock paddock it started off well, all the cattle mobbed up and started walking the 15kms home. We got them to the cooler at Rig’s bore and were waiting for the chopper to blow in the last beast when I heard a scream from the other side of the cooler and looked over and saw Kay falling off the side of her horse while a crazy huge cow with massive horns is hitting Kay’s horse! Not content with unhorsing one member of the stock camp the crazy cow turned her attention to me! Our encounter ended much the same but with my horse falling to the ground as well. I have had some of the most fun and wild times at Nerrima; from competing at my first rodeo, attending the Stockmen and Matrons Ball, Cricket day, and our random Monday night darts. I am learning every day and enjoying every minute, Mick Courtney is a great manager and the stock camp are a great mob of people.

2.2 copyWorking hard – feeding out cattle at our homestead yards.

Kay Sandford

A mere 18 months ago I was a carefree, laid-back backpacker. Since starting at Nerrima in May 2013 things have changed. I now appear to have cares that I never even knew existed – cows and calves ‘mothering up’, servicing generators to keep the electricity running and the such! Not having much experience in agriculture (I was an office manager back in England), I have done a lot of learning on the job, actually I have learnt EVERYTHING on the job, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I love that my life now is in every way different from my life back in England, in fact I love it so much that my one year working holiday has turned into an indefinite stay . . . Or as long as Mick and Sal will keep me around.

2.3 copyGetting ready to walk cattle out the yards.

Tahlia Moore

Hi, my name is Tahlia, and I’ve been working on the stock camp at Nerrima since March this year. I grew up on the central coast, just north of Sydney in NSW, which is probably about as far from the outback as you can get. Despite this, I’ve had a passion for horses and the ‘country life’ for as long as I can remember. After finishing school in 2010, I took some time to travel overseas before returning and moving to a small country town in Wagga Wagga. In 2011 I was able to put some of my equine interest to use, as I acquired a job at a stable working with race horses, where I worked for the following two and a half years.

Late last year I took several months off work, and moved to Far North Queensland where I found a job on a cattle station. While I was only there for a short time, it gave me the courage to take the plunge and look for full time employment on a cattle station. When I was offered a job in the Kimberly, I immediately said yes, the further away the better! So, here I am eight months down the track, learning new things every day and loving the adventure! I’ve learned countless new skills and every day is different to the last. Apart from the horse riding and mustering mobs of cattle, we do everything from welding, to building yards and stables, to fixing busted pipes and driving machinery. The days are long and hot, and quite often challenging, but working on a cattle station isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

2.4 copyAlways a good time for a selfie.

Jacob Dunn

My name is Jacob Dunn, I started working at Nerrima in May this year. I was born in Darwin and spent the early part of my life around Katherine and Kununurra. Growing up on stations was a great childhood but once I hit high school I moved to Perth with my family. I attended Guildford Grammar School and graduated in 2012. After leaving school I worked at a couple of cattle feedlots around Perth before working for Breakaway Stud riding breakers.

I really enjoy working horses and cattle, it has been a really good experience working for Mick Courtney and I have learnt a lot. I have met a lot of good people in the Kimberley this year. The rodeos and camp drafts were a lot of fun this year mixing with other ringers around the place.

Nerrima has been a good place to work this year, the Stockcamp have been a really fun-loving, hard working group. We have had a pretty smooth year so far and I am really looking forward to getting into this second round.

2.5 copyJake showing off his feminine style at work.

Callum Moore

I come from New England, NSW, and grew up on cattle places all my life, in fact I have never lived in town. I always expected to work on stations and a love of horses and camp drafting has meant that I really enjoy the coach mustering and horse-work that happens at Nerrima. I started at Nerrima in August, so far I have helped build the stables and prepare for second round, which I look forward to immensely. I have really loved the change of scenery and seeing a different part of Australia, the Kimberley is unlike anywhere I’ve worked before. Although I am the newest member of the stockcamp the team here have been really easy to get to know and work with. Watching Mick and Dave work cattle is unlike any techniques I’ve seen before, it has been a really good learning experience. I can’t wait for second round to start, and for the fun to really begin.

2.6 copyCallum – in greener pastures than Nerrima!

David Milton

Hello again, you might remember me from last year’s Central Station entry working for Liveringa station, well a few things have changed in the last year, now I’m working for Nerrima station.

I’ve enjoyed my four years at Liveringa but I felt like a change and a new challenge so I took on the role of running the camp for Michael Courtney at Nerrima whom I had worked for previously when he was the overseer at Liveringa and have had a great experience with more responsibilities and a different environment.

Being in a higher role now has given me a chance to train staff and pass on my experience over the last few years to get the job done efficiently and as safe as possible, our ringers here have learnt a lot in the last seven to eight months and have begun to work great with each other in a comfortable way that has gotten them all to get along so well after coming from all across the country from different lifestyles.

At Nerrima we muster cattle based on a style known as Coach Mustering. I’ve found this way that as much as it can be a long, hot day, results from the cattle pay off as they end up quieter, well-mannered and taught to work off pressure from us and our horses which I believe keeps calves mothered up, makes them a lot better to handle in yards, loading on trucks and walking back to their paddocks, and low stress stock handling is high on our agenda.

While here in between jobs and over the wet season a few of us have managed to design and fabricate a new set of cattle yards and a new horse yard, levelling the old ones and starting from scratch and they’ve turned out better than expected, especially the cattle yards which have made drafting and processing cattle so much easier and less stressful.

To be honest throughout this year I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with the stress of the new job and responsibilities but at the end of the day it’s made me a better stockman and overall it’s been a great experience and has only been getting better.

Well there’s my last 12 months summed up in 400 words, hope it wasn’t too painful but once again thanks for reading!

2.7 copyAnother day in the yards!

Sophie and Sebastien

Sophie and Sebastien are our latest recruits and have come all the way from France!!  A word from our Frenchies!

Sophie and Sebastien, both 29 years old are originally from Brittany, until moving to the sunny South West of France. We decided to come to Australia for a year on a Working Holiday Visa. We discovered your beautiful country from January with our great camper van which is fully equipped. After a long trip in the South from Sydney, we decided in early August to explore the north of Western Australia. We wanted to share the life of Australians in the outback. After a week in Broome, the opportunity to work and live in a cattle station was offered to us. The journey was long to NERRIMA Station and the road was not appropriate for our camper van but it was rather adventurous! We finally arrived at the station on Sunday, 7 September. Sophie is the station cook and Sebastien is primarily involved the maintenance of the lawns among other miscellaneous jobs. Living and working in the bush is very different from what we did in France, being in the fresh air has changed our spirits and mind-set.

We were very well received by the team in which there is a great atmosphere!

Our first surprise was the vast territory and all the important elements on the station that are required to do the job, the utes, helicopters, motorbikes, generators etc. Sebastien was also pleased to be able to go on a helicopter ride. Each day is full of surprises. One of them was when Mick asked us to bring sandwiches to the entire team at McLarty’s Paddock where they were mustering. It seemed too easy, we would be gone an hour!  In the end we spent the whole day out there following the cattle in the ute and carried two stubborn calves in the tray of the vehicle. During the day we also managed to see for the first time a huge lizard, a goanna. We will always remember our unique experiences at Nerrima Station.

2.8 copySophie and Sebastien in the ute!

Rob Turner

My name is Rob Turner I am from Tassie. I have worked in most of our states doing various jobs, linesman with a power company, machine operator, truck driver, worked on mine sites, I have had a couple of businesses as well. So I thought that one thing that I would like to do while I am still fit and wanting to work is try my luck on a station for a while.

I made the decision to have a try at station life after working as a driller in the Pilbara and Kimberley, and I thought that I would pick a place in the north somewhere so made a phone call, got a number, rang and spoke to Mick, and he said early March is that ok? So about 7000km’s later ended up at Nerrima’s front gate.

I am the boreman, grader driver, operator, and part time truck driver.

Most people would look at where the station is and say that it is on the middle of nowhere, I suppose that is right, when it takes two hours to go to the shop but up here that is just down the road and to explain exactly where the station is, I just say you have a triangle and ex marks the spot.

2.9 copyRob on the job!