The last month and a half or so of my stay on Boongoondoo Station were spent doing the Mustering. What an exciting time it was. Out on the horses everyday, rounding up the cows with the helicopter, eating picnic lunches out in the paddock, coming back to the cattle yards to work on the mob. Long, long days (six am to half six at night sometimes!) but the most fun a person like me can have. There’s nothing better than the satisfaction of sore legs and arms and a nice early night (eight pm most nights!), knowing you’ve worked hard to get them! The horse-riding is pretty indescribable in itself; crashing through the scrub after bolting cattle, dodging low branches and clearing fallen logs in stomach-swooping leaps. We emerged from the trees more than once with bleeding lips and twigs through our hair and clothes! Then the yards, you wouldn’t believe the noise! A huge rabble of mooing and bellowing, working as fast as possible to get through all the calves that needed branding and all the adult cows needing injections. Just getting through the day with everyone injury free was a bonus – cows kick hard, and the yards can be a pretty rough place to work, between dodging angry bulls and trying not to get stuck by the injection guns, to mad calves knocking the branding furnace over and setting the place alight… it’s very exciting to say the least.
And all too soon, it was time to get my bag packed again. Time to take down my photos and letters from the walls of my lovely little room and say my (very teary) goodbyes to the place and people I’d come to love so much. Not before my Mum and Dad arrived of course. Milynda, Clancie and I drove the three hours to Longreach ‘airport’ to pick them up on the Sunday the 4th of April (Easter Sunday). It was ridiculously exciting to see them both. We had a very cheesy airport reunion then drove home to the station and I introduced them to my Aussie world, (what a world it is!). They loved Nicholas, my calf, of course. They couldn’t get over our relationship, how he would stand at the gate MOOOOOing for me, how he’d follow me around and give me cuddles. I’m missing him rather a lot, but Milynda’s taking good care for me, so I don’t feel quite so bad. Mum and Dad had a ball; we took them to see the Aboriginal Paintings next door, introduced them to the local ‘friendly’ wildlife, had a camp-fire dinner, I drove them around in the ute and we sat out under the (millions of) stars. It was wonderful to let them see the place I’d been calling home and to let them get a taste of what life is like out there. It was great too for them to meet the people who’d taken such good care of me. We all had a good laugh, as is usual, both at home and at Boongoondoo. Then we had to go. I cried, a lot! Leaving Nick, who had been such a great wee companion and who had really become my ‘baby’ was awful and leaving the friends I’d found in the Rogers and everyone else was so hard. The air-hostess on the return flight back to Brisbane was doing her safety demonstration, came up the aisle with a pile of hankies, put them in my lap and continued with the demonstration! Really nice of her, a little embarrassing but not to worry!
It just shows what a good time I had in the Outback. Unforgettable!
Great story, thank you Megan!