Time to Meet Josh, Our First ‘Ringer’

Host: Country Downs Station
Written by Nikki Elezovich – Owner and Josh – Station Hand, Country Downs Station.

Already Day Five . . . time just flies when you’re having fun! Yesterday, you got a short and succinct version of events from Kurt. As you can probably guess, we are currently so busy that all of us have written these blogs at the end of a long day, having had dinner, a couple of beers and pretty much ready for bed, so bear with us while we get our thoughts together and try and string a few more than five sentences together!

Today you get to meet a new employee of ours, Josh, who is literally our first station-hand employee. As we were always looking to do some major development on the property this year, we realised that we just couldn’t do all of it on our own. Whilst we were uhhhmming and aahhhhing about how we should go about finding someone and when should we get them etc, we were contacted by a good friend whose nephew was looking for work on a station in the Kimberley and did we know of anyone who might need an employee! It never ceases to amaze me that sometimes things just all fall into place exactly at the time that you need it most.

So after a couple of phone calls, we arrange for Josh to come out and live the life of a ‘ringer’. Technically, we don’t really have ‘ringers’ on our station as we don’t muster, however the term still has a lovely ‘ring’ to it . . . doesn’t it! Josh was supposed to be driving his Nissan Patrol out the station on a Monday morning in May. As things always tend to happen, Kurt had to go into town for something that same day and on the way into town had some problems with the truck and stopped in at the ‘rest-stop’ at the Cape Leveque Rd/Broome Hwy turn-off. Also stopped in the rest stop was a young blond fella, with an Akubra and worn Ariat boots, Wrangler jeans, and an RB Sellars workshirt . . . you know – the standard work uniform of a Kimberley cowboy . . . standing next to a Nissan Patrol decked out with the entire belongings that any young adventurous person would need to have. As you can probably guess by now, Kurt has wandered up the young bloke and said ‘Your name isn’t Josh by any chance?’, and as you would have also guessed, it was! Once again, right place, right time, and Josh’s first day with us was spent driving Kurt around town trying to fix the truck and then back the station that evening.

Since then, I think Josh has had a very steep learning curve. Mainly due to the simple fact that, due to the nature of our operation, he has been exposed to so many different aspects of the business, that in general, the majority of workers for larger enterprises don’t even get to even look at in their first 6 months. Josh has fitted in with us seamlessly, getting along with everyone and is such a great ‘big brother’ to both our young boys. Every day, both William and Rory ask where is Josh and “when will he finish work so that we can go and play with him?” So I introduce to you, Josh, the newest member of our station family!

5.1Will convincing Josh it really is lots of fun playing after a long, hard days work!

Hi, my name is Josh, I’m 18 and I have been at Country Downs Station since mid-May 2014. During my time here, many things have happened including buying cattle, devastating fires, selling stock, and much more.

When I first arrived at Country Downs, I was introduced to Nikki, her and Kurt’s two kids, William and Rory, and the governess, Jenna, who is from Finland. I quickly learned that William and Rory were very sociable lads and though Rory only had a handful of words at that stage, he was still very good at communicating.

As I was fresh from school, I had a lot to learn, and I had to learn it quick. All the usual jobs, such as bore runs, baiting, grading, and servicing gensets were pretty new to me and there was certainly times when I found it hard, but it has been very enjoyable learning new skills.

In July, my family came up from the South-West to visit. It was very handy having the extra pairs of hands around and we built an undercover area for the work utes.

5.2Undercover area built in three days.

On the last few days that they were here, I took some time off to head up the coast with them to see Cygnet Bay, One Arm Point, and all the other tourist destinations on the Dampier Peninsula. As luck would have it, it rained . . . and very hard! One of the communities received 200ml in 24 hrs, but unfortunately the homestead only got 10ml!

5.3Beagle Bay Church with thunderheads behind it.

Just as I was settling into life at Country Downs, we were hit with a giant fire. When it hit the boundary the fire had a 15km front and in just a few hours it was within a few short kilometres away from the homestead. It was then that Kurt and Nikki decided it would be necessary to get the Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) out to assist in protecting the homestead. We battled the blaze, with it coming from all different directions, for three days until the homestead was no longer under threat!

With an estimated 95% of the property burnt, we set out to truck cattle to the improved pasture paddocks and off the property to relieve grazing pressure. Setting up dams and bores and opening up previously un-utilised country to spread stock out is also on the agenda to make finding feed easier.

So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Country Downs Station and have learnt so many handy skills and have gained a fair bit of knowledge that will help me not only now, in my current job, but in many other jobs that I may have in the future. It has also made me realise that I really hope to stay in the agricultural industry.

5.4A typical morning  before starting work.