When opportunity knocks

Host: Yougawalla Pastoral Co.
Written by Madeline Morrissey ­– Governess, Yougawalla Pastoral Co.

Upon completing my Bachelor’s degree in Media and Communications I began to stress about job prospects. As time progressed I was still without a job even after tirelessly looking for months. A very close friend suggested looking into being a Governess (home tutor) and gave me some information. So, I began applying for various jobs. I had been offered two jobs prior to getting into contact with Dugald from Bush Recruitment. Dugald filled me in on how he had the perfect job for me but there was one catch, it was in Western Australia. I had only ever considered being located in the east nevertheless I looked into the information Dugald provided me with and agreed to a phone interview with Jane. I can honestly say it was her kindness and warmth that made me accept the job.

That all happened back in January 2016. I am now entering my second year as the Home Tutor at Yougawalla Pastoral Company – a job that definitely has its challenges and hardship but has been so amazing and life changing.

Welcome to Yougawalla Madeline.

Prior to beginning my job at Yougawalla I had visited a few friends’ farms and had experienced a brief introduction to life on a property but by no means to the large scale of Yougawalla. It amazes me every day the skill and effort that goes into the logistics of running a station this large. We are so isolated and that can be the biggest challenge, making sure we have enough food, the thought of getting someone to town if needed and Internet problems that affect the running of the business and my job in the classroom nevertheless you have to make it work with what limited internet access we have at times. Making it work is definitely one of my mottos now.

In the School of the Air classroom.

I have become a much more patient person. I’m not saying I wasn’t kind or patient before but I have developed a new kind of patience and kindness. If you work with children you will know they take a lot of patience and have their added challenges. Being a home tutor you need to respect that fine line between you and the children especially in terms of discipline. It is tricky you are not their parent but you are more than a friend or sister to them – you are both combined as well as being their teacher. I truly care for Tilly and Gus, and I worry about them; have they had enough food?; am I being a good teacher?; am I being fun?; I hope I’m not too much of a nag (which I probably am 99.9% of the time). These notions run through my mind each day as well as hoping I am helping Jane and Haydn as much as I can, how can I make their lives a little bit easier is the question I ask myself everyday even if that means cleaning up after all the various animals and helping out in the yards even though in that department I feel completely useless but again you have to make it work.

With Tilly getting involved in the station work.

I think you develop a type of resilience and strength when you move so far away from civilisation, although I am nearly 25 I have learnt to be much stronger and more independent. I have more of a drive to be able to do tasks on my own, not always having to ask someone for assistance in tasks in my everyday life. I want to be able do whatever I set my mind too. I think that has definitely come from the influence of Jane. She is someone who I admire greatly her accomplishments are outstanding I admire her for her work ethic, patience, kindness, openness, courage and fun-loving personality, as well as her level-headiness and life knowledge; added to all these amazing qualities is her warmth that makes you feel immediately comfortable and relaxed in her presence.

With Jane at the Broome Cup.

The fear of missing out has passed; I used to dread the updates from birthday parties, events, and gatherings of both friends and family. However towards the end of last year I began to realise it wasn’t the end of the world I wasn’t missing out. I would be seeing them in a few months’ time. I can count twice when I was home sick and I believe that to be pretty good. You are constantly surrounded by people, it is actually nice to have that quiet time to yourself but late last year following an unfortunate event that unfolded I began to realise you need someone to vent to. When you live on an isolated station communicating with one individual or a group of people you trust is key to getting through those hard days. It may be about feeling overwhelmed or work being a bit stressful that is where you need that someone to just let it all out.

With the kids at Broome school camp.

In my time being a home tutor here I have decided to add studying to my already very full on life but with the help and support of Haydn and Jane so far the transition into working full time as well as studying has definitely been smoother than I could have had imagined. I am very lucky to be able to study and work at Yougawalla an opportunity that maybe if I was in another working environment it would not be possible. In the short time of studying (I only began in February) I am learning so many new methods and techniques to teach Gus and Tilly to help strengthen their learning.

Riding with Tilly.

My life here is so incredibly different to my life back in NSW. Going home over the wet it can take some time to readjust but it enables you to relax and recuperate for the year ahead. I genuinely love the life I have created at Yougawalla – I am lucky that I have been able to be given such an unforgettable experience.