The water diviner

Host: Anthony Lagoon Station
Written by Georgia Clark – AACo Graduate Program 2016.

I was lucky enough to accompany our Bore Runner – Parrot – on his “southern run”. What a terrific way to see and learn so much about the property!

The Bore Runner always knows what’s happening around the grounds, how his bores are running and how many cattle are watering off each point. There is so much involved with keeping water up to our stock – a bore runner’s job never stops!

4.1 copyA Bore Runners day starts early, before light breaks for dawn. The vehicle must be checked, diesel and oils for the bore motors must be topped up and any other maintenance equipment should be double checked for the days run.

4.2 copyAs the property is so large the bore runs are broken into a Northern, Central and Southern run, over three days, to ensure that all bores, motors, and troughs can receive appropriate maintenance. This Turkey’s Nest – a man-made dam that sits above ground level for gravity fed water into stock troughs – is near capacity, a positive sight for Parrot!

4.3 copyTanks are also used on the property as an alternative to dams and turkeys nests.

4.4 copyThe first step at each bore is to check the water level of the dams, turkeys nests, or tanks. This is vital to ensuring the bore and motor is running correctly, nothing that could contaminate the water, such as dead animals, and to assess the structural soundness, dam walls and pipelines into and overflowing from the water.

4.5 copyBore Motors must be checked for fuel and oil at each stop.

4.6 copyThe dams and turkey’s nest’s on Anthony’s vary depending on where they are and the soil type in the area. This will also dictate the plant species and wildlife that surround the water point.

4.7 copyNatural Dams are also on the list of stop offs for bore runners. This dam will only fill during the wet season and will dry up over the winter months – known as the dry season.

4.8 copyWe have a number of bore motors that are managed by a computerised system. These turn the motor on and off and can be set to run between certain hours during the day. 

4.9 copyA crystal clear turkey’s nest that looks almost too inviting for swimming!

4.10 copyEach bore motor is slightly unique and at a different stage of its running life. Bore motors are serviced after 100 hours of use and Parrot keeps records of each one, including any notes or issues the motor is having. Servicing involves an oil change and filter clean along with an assessment of operating parts to make sure they are in top working condition.

4.11 copyCleaning troughs is one of the most important yet underrated tasks of a bore runner. Without fresh clean water, cattle are at a much higher risk of picking up diseases. I am sure that seeing Parrot day in day out means the cattle have an understanding of “the man in the vehicle at our trough means clean water!” And as you can see by the peanut gallery watching him work – they are fully supportive!

4.12 copySafety is very important for bore runners, stockcamp members, cattle, and wildlife. As bore motors have many moving parts and a diesel tank, bores on Anthony lagoon cannot be accessed except through a gate or fence. This ensures cattle and wildlife cannot injure themselves or damage machinery, and bore runners, mechanics, and any stockmen and women keep a look out and are aware of bore equipment.

4.13 copyA relic of days gone by. Windmills are synonymous with the Australian Outback and paint a nostalgic picture when seen in paddocks across the country. Unfortunately, they are not a safe or efficient means of collecting water anymore so many are replaced by bores. This is one of the last mills still standing on Anthony Lagoon, and although the blades have been removed to keep cattle safe, it is still an impressive sight!

4.14 copyA typical bore motor and mechanism found on Anthony’s and many stations across the NT and Australia.

4.15 copyAustralian wildlife is truly spectacular and one of the best parts of a bore runner’s job is watching it thrive off the stations watering locations. In the lake country on Anthony’s, hundreds of native species make their homes, including the beautiful brolga.

4.16 copyA turkey’s nest is also the perfect place to see the sky meet the famous downs country of the Barkly Tablelands – where the land is so flat you can see for miles and watch the curve of the earth rise in front of you.

4.17 copyOur last stop in a long day of travelling, chatting, trough cleaning, and bore starting was this terrific dam – I think Parrot has found himself a perfect, secret camping spot for his weekends off!

Special thanks to Parrot for having me talk and talk and ask question after question of him all day – over 10 hours driving around a station with a chatty side-kick cannot be an easy task!

Now, I know some of these photos look staged – but I promise they are not! Parrot was sometimes a reluctant muse however when he thought I wasn’t looking he was the perfect model!

– The Rookie Graduate