Written by – Kylie Savidge, Owner, Southampton Station.
To further explain our lives I will just elaborate a little about our background . . .
My husband and I lived and worked about four hours away from Southampton until the end of 2004, coming home to do all the cattle work when required. In December 2004 we moved back to Southampton for a few weeks before purchasing a house in St George, which is our closest base, for education purposes. Our eldest son Jack started pre-school at St Patrick’s Catholic School in St George in 2005.
This decision was made relatively easily as I was not willing to take on the Distance Ed role and the closest bus stop was about 65km away. Moving to town was a bit of a culture shock for me in that first few months but I soon discovered that it wasn’t so bad as long as I could be out bush on weekends. In August 2005 our daughter Meghan was born via emergency c-section at St Vincent’s hospital in Toowoomba at 32 weeks.
Our routine now is school Mon – Fri, packing up every Friday to head bush and coming home every Sunday afternoon or early on Mondays so we are in time for school. Packing up includes hooking up our trailer and taking the working dogs we have in town out bush with us. These generally number between three and seven depending. I have a working dog kennel license to allow them to be in town with us.
Every school holidays is spent out bush and the kids thrive on being out there and so do I. We spend about three hours travelling time on the weekends and do 220 kilometres in a round trip.
Brian is home every second week and spends Wednesday night in town then heads bush on Thursday morning early to get started with whatever jobs need doing when he gets there.
We spend Tuesday morning together before he heads back up the road to work. This is OUR time and I guard it jealously as it gives us a chance to catch up and reconnect a little. Sometimes we spend it on the Balonne River doing a little yellow belly and cod fishing. Most times we do alright fish wise and always have a feed of fish to bring home. Brian originated in Bundaberg and has salt water in his veins I am sure. It’s nice to have that time together doing something he enjoys. I have red mulga dust in my veins I think. He taught me to fish and I love it!
When you are working in different directions on the weekends and you don’t spend much time together other than in work situations, this time is really important.
Jack is now away at boarding school in Toowoomba and has had a fantastic year at school. He has been able to play all the sports he has wanted too and not been able to due to my work commitments at Southampton during primary school years. He enjoys rugby, touch, cricket, and swimming plus all the social side that boarding school allows.
As a Mum you worry about how they will cope being away from home. Jack has taken to being away like a duck to water so to speak. We all miss him dreadfully and are very glad to see him on the holidays. Sadly this year has not allowed many trips to visit him in Toowoomba with the season turning from bad to worse and finances tightening up as we try to keep our stock alive. Luckily for us as well as Jack he has made some good friends and gets to visit them on weekends.
As I am my Dad’s right hand man so is Jack ours. He is a very capable kid and can do everything we do. He is also growing in to a very compassionate young man and it makes us glad to see this. Life on the land is tough and at times very cruel and confronting.
Ben and Meghan also do their share. Meg is turning into a great little horse woman and Ben is a good all-rounder, very good when he is mustering but needs direction elsewhere. He would much prefer to be outside than at school which is a running battle at times!
When asked what she was doing Meghan told me that Wilbur was tired so they were having a rest!