You sneaky buggers and funny ha ha’s (part 2)

Host: Noreena Downs Station
Written by: Kate Paull – Owner/Manager, Noreena Downs Station.

A day of yarns again for you’s my dear readers.

Quick white nasty spaceship and yard up dilemma

One day I managed to score an invitation to go mustering with Nathan my then boyfriend and his awesome crew at Roy Hill Station, Roy Hill is our neighbour on the south side.

2.1My 4 wheeler, Kirky’s bike, and two buggies.

2.2Ready to go, Roy hill crew.

Nathan these days is my husband, we met when he managed the earthmoving and station side at Roy Hill Station. The first time I clapped eyes on this mystery man that everyone had met except me was when my brother Joe and I drove down to Roy Hill to show Nathan the Noreena earmark and brands and politely hint we would like our cattle back. After two barbeques, several chats in the yards with him opening up his capstan tin, a truck coming to cart Noreena’s cattle getting bogged between the two stations which resulted in Nathan having to pull it out with a grader as our gear was at camp (how embarrassing), him eyeing me suspiciously when we gave him back five decks of Roy hill cattle with cleanskin bulls and cleanskin cows (they had come onto Noreena and were hanging in one area – you can tell everyone’s cattle apart even if they are the same breed) and him promising me 13 of the most beautiful roses he could in the world (he was drunk) – we finally started off our courtship.

I got to marry him last year walking down the aisle to Slim Dustys ‘Looking Forward, Looking Back’. Nathan now lives at Noreena and has started his own company ‘East Pilbara Earthmoving’ with which I am involved, sorry peoples slight distraction from actual story but somehow had explain Nathan and his doings.

photo by Nicolle Versteeg PhotographyWedding day.

Nathan and his crew were doing the boundary alongside Noreena, we had finished our mustering and we had one station hand left at Noreena – James the Pom, so both we went to help. James was so excited he was nearly frothing at the mouth! We had an absolute ball, the muster went fantastic, the cattle yarded well into the portable yards near Tuccamunna bore where they would spend the night before being worked to Leeuwin Creek bore the following day. That night I got a phone call from my brother Joe – James and I had to return home to take a tank out to Miranda’s bore as the original had split and cattle needed water ASAP!!

I missed out on day two, gutted, and returned the next day to the yards to give a hand to have this story relayed to me.

(Nathan telling story again and Kate typing)

Nathan says “When yarding up at Leeuwin Creek bore into portable yards somewhere everything went awry and 300ish head broke away and after a while we eventually got them in the yard.” There were still 30 or so ratbags (naughty/mischievous cattle) trying to escape. “I had 15 bulls held up by my blokes all over the show, then Boots and I were bringing them in one at a time.” They were in buggies (vehicles decked out for mustering).

A big white Brahman cleanskin (unmarked, full ears, and had never been mustered) bull took 1.5 hrs to get back into the yards, he was a devil and not friendly.

(Kate and Nathan had a deal going, when you mustered the boundary any cleanskins under the age of six go back to who bred them or owner of bloodlines – honesty goes a long way and we were trying to clean up a long left mess, well this big white Brahman bull was Noreena bloodline, so he was coming back to us).

Nathan says “I was chasing the bull, with Boots and I in a buggy each, I went to go in between two trees and noticed that there was about a foot and a half drop off, so I went to tap the brakes to slow down a little bit and it speared me hard right straight into the middle of a big mulga tree (these trees are well known for their hardness and lack of give- I was going pretty quick) and all I could hear was Boots laughing when he went past, I hopped out to see why it happened and noticed the inner axle seal on the front left had let go and leaked oil onto the brakes so only the front right was working”.

Kate getting worried thinks ‘your girlfriend does not want to hear that about your crash practice!’

Nathan continues with a grin “I wasn’t the only one who had bad luck that day cause Michael the German said to me later that day “you reckon that was bad I started the day with a roof rack” so somewhere near Leeuwin Creek Bore there is a roof rack hanging in a tree.”

Anyone who knows Nathan knows of his somewhat interesting driving, the bloke can drive quick and dangerously without many hiccups. My Dad Tex was the same, an art to watch, 4th gear to reverse in a split second being one of his favourites. Oh well the old saying the girls do marry someone like their father is very much true in my case, a lot of similarities between them both.

So anyway we’re happily working away in the cattle yards and we get to the last few cattle, four or five bitchy cows and one unimpressed bull . . . Yes the dirty big strop head of a white Brahman bull that caused chaos for an hour and a half yarding up. By this stage the back yard has been split into two to lessen the chance of them running around, Mr bull cracks the shits when we are moving the cattle up towards the force yards and does a sprint at us. By this stage we were getting wary of him so up the rails we go, he must have thought they don’t want to play with me so he cleared the rails and jumped into the far back pen. Rightio buddy you just wait there for later, by god you’re going to be fun NOT!

So we get to the last two cows which by this stage are being worked by Nathan by a buggy into the force yard, so cows in and gone, I jump in the first back yard to undo the portable panels so Nathan can deal with the bull. I found my spot in the panels where I was going to undo it, checking where bull is, approx. 23 metres away not taking my eyes off him, about to open panels and I turned around for probably 5 seconds to see what Kirky was saying to me, then I heard screams coming from Carly.

Ohh yeah I could feel and hear him right there (inner sense overload) above me, looked up I saw some big hooves in the air above my eyes and I could see a flash of white with a big flabby piece hanging down (his pizzle-manhood) and this white coming down. The dirty white terror he had judged me mighty fine, lined up the panels, cleared them and jumped clean over the top of me, to miss the wrath of his big muscly behind coming down on me, I did a quick duck out the side and out of the yard I went to stay still as a statue somewhere so as not to attract his attention.

Poor Carly – now Carly is a hard core chick, tomboy and tough as, she was bolting across the flat as if he was after her I think she was screaming “run run he will get after us” ? If it wasn’t for Carly’s scream god knows what would of happened.

I swore a few slightly abusive words at the bull like “If you wanted a kiss or cuddle you could of asked nicely – or – that was very silly bully” (whenever something use to bail my Dad or someone else up one of his comments was to say she wants a kiss, habit I have got off him I suppose). I giggled at Carly bolting across the flat (not really funny for her poor sheila, but it was like a cartoon) and then my next thought was “oh I hope Nathan didn’t see that, he might not let me in the yards again” as he is protective.

Nathan dealt with the white fella, getting him into the force, with the bull wanting to catch a ride with him in the buggy.

Once done Nathan asked “Do you still want him?”

Me “No bloody ways, you put him on a truck to have his head chopped off, the next person might not be so bloody lucky”.

I made a huge mistake with that bull letting my guard down a minute inch, I’m still learning and not afraid to admit to it, although as scary as it was I am still mesmerised by the memory of that bull floating over me like a spaceship coming down. I could of reached out with my hand and stroked his belly and maybe punched him in the balls (not really 😉 )


A scrub bull is a cleanskin bull who has most likely never been mustered (some do get away) approximately over the age of 3.5 years (I find it varies as some mature earlier and some later). The bull is starting to get his ego, superiority and cockiness on and starting to get harder in the body.

2.4A young scrubber and a slightly older one on his right.

You may be thinking awesome, how cool would it be to work to work with scrub/cleanskin bulls like this all day? Well this is how I see it from my minimal experience as it were – I prefer to be modest (to be experienced is a lifetime) and as much as it is an adrenalin soaking rush, bulls are fun if they behave. Bigger bulls can be nasty to people which results in severe injuries and they pick on the smaller cattle and other bulls (angry men) sometimes by picking them up by their horns and goring (stabbing/slicing) them open which results in a dead beast. This is why we dehorn bulls and other cattle as they generally have sharp points on the horn tip, they can be time consuming, patience wearing, and very dangerous (as like the white bull a click trigger).

It’s always good to get the scrub bulls out of your herd as they will breed rubbish and they are not so kind to your female cattle when they come on heat, the scrubber chases the hell out of the female trying to have his way with her (raping), pushing her around, fighting the other bulls and Mickey’s (baby bulls) off, after a while it can be too much for her and she will lie down and maybe not get up again. Some bulls you can get out easily with bikes and some you need a buggy, there is more to mustering than interviewing scrubbers all day.

With this said we have had some scrubbers who are quite as dairy cows and don’t even mind being hand fed or hung around three days after entering the yards, they can be like big puppy dogs, which is a treat.

Cyclone Poddy damages the Noreena Downs workshop

So I’m happily in Broome staying at the Pearle resort swimming and having some R and R with Nathan while cyclone Rusty is cruising over ahead, when I get a message from Niffy that goes something like this “Your poddies are rearranging the workshop, they have pulled out all the air filters, oil filters, fuel filters, parts, ripped boxes, left rags everywhere, knocked over the bins and pooed and weed all through the workshop”.

2.5Culprits – photo courtesy of Niffy Paull.

They had gone into the workshop to take shelter and stay dry from the heavy rain and howling wind coming off the cyclone. An update later “I hunted them out and they still come back, they are making a real mess”.

Next update “Boris and Milly are the worst, they are like a cyclone, you take something out of Boris mouth and then he just finds something else to chew on.” Boris does not understand NO.

Poor Niffy, they were being atrociously naughty, she cleaned up a bit of their mess and I finished off the rest when I got home. They had committed carnage in the workshop. Niffy calls this Cyclone Poddy. Poddy calves are very good at getting up to stuff like this and it’s not unusual to hear of.

2.6Poddies trying to get close as possible to Oz Pig (like a pot belly fire) on a rainy night, as you can see they are not scared to invite themselves inside.

Tommorow’s blog – what it is like to be a water maid to cattle?