Life on a cattle station : Western Australia

Cattle station australia
The great Australian outback

Life on a cattle station is different to say the least. Despite living in a city my entire life, I’ve always loved the great outdoors so a job in the hottest town on earth (according to average temperatures) seemed perfect.

Cattle station
The great Australian Outback

In order to extend my Working Holiday Visa for another year, I have to embark on the notorious “farm work” every backpacker seems to dreads. 88 days in rural Australia doesn’t sound too bad to me but I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories. Despite my new job being recommended by friend and fellow blogger Mel from Ifyouwanagojustgo, I spent the 19 hour bus journey from Darwin preparing myself for three months of intense slave labour.

Life on a cattle station
Fitzroy Crossing’s shopping precinct

The bus dropped me off at Fitzroy Crossing in the inner north of Western Australia, six hours to Broome, the nearest supply of booze, so I’m told. Fitzroy is exactly what I imagined a small outback town to look like. A couple of stores, a bar and a restaurant. The majority of residents live in aboriginal communities or on nearby stations like mine which is located 20km out of town.

Life on a cattle station
Condom trees, no lie!

There are even condom trees. Yes, you heard right, condom trees! To reduce the number of STI’s and unplanned pregnancies, buckets of condoms have been hung in trees around town. You have to see it to believe it.

Cattle station
Working hours are determined by daylight

This really is outback Australia and I certainly had my work cut out. The past few weeks have been a series of extreme highs and lows, just like when I’m travelling. My day starts at 4:30am and I often work right through until 8:30pm but this isn’t unusual out here, the sun determines everything.

Life on a cattle station
Mustering in the UTE

Despite the long hours and lack of sleep, every day holds a new adventure and this is what I love the most. Life ought to be one big adventure and I couldn’t think of anything worse than returning to my old 9-5 office job in London (sorry Mum!).

Life on a cattle station
Kitchen day – where do I start?!

My time on the station is split between working outdoors with the boys and cooking and cleaning at the homestead. Those of you that know me may be surprised that I have actually returned to the world of work, let alone it involving cooking and cleaning. Pha. Cook! I hear you snigger. Yes, despite being possibly the only food blogger who never cooks, I’ve rather enjoyed this new challenge. And cleaning? Well, not so much, I take after my mother after all.

Life on a cattle station
Having my own room after sleeping in hostels for the majority of 2014 makes me so happy!

I’ve been here nearly a month now and have finally adjusted to life on a cattle station. Although I instantly felt at home, I have to admit I struggled with many aspects of the job, just like any city girl would, right?

Life on a cattle station
Motor-cross – love it!

I had never cooked beef before, drove an off-road UTE, stood face-to-face with a mob of cattle, used a fencing plier or mowed the lawn using a John Deere Tractor. There’s been some horror stories alright, like the time I forgot to notice the blockage in the lawnmower which resulted in a lawn covered with soggy cut grass. Not only that, I mistakenly mowed the section of grass littered with prickly weeds, spreading them throughout the rest of the property. Let’s just say it wasn’t my finest day.

Life on a cattle station
Me and my girls, Sally and Lilly

However, I think I’m beginning to ‘get it’ and what’s more, rather enjoy it. The best thing about life on a cattle station? I learn something new everyday, and not just about cattle. I’ve learnt how to fix a flood fence, passed my motor-cross bike test, taught a newborn calve to bottle-feed, mastered the art of baking pastry and I can escape from a raging bull ten times quicker than my first attempt.

Life on a cattle station

I have so many crazy stories to share with you I just don’t know where to begin! Over the next few months I’m going to be giving you an insight into what it’s like to work on a cattle station, what it’s like to live in the Australian Outback and share with you my favourite recipes from my new found love of cooking.

Living life, loving life on a cattle station,

H x







19 Comment

  1. […] ← Life on a cattle station : Western Australia […]

  2. Wesley says: Reply

    Love it Helen. So proud of you.

    1. Thanks Wes, glad to see you are reading my blog 🙂

  3. […] was left at the homestead on my second day at the cattle station where I am working in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia. As I waved goodbye to my colleagues, […]

  4. Mel says: Reply

    Love this! cant wait to hear more… and then at some point I’ll start writing my adventures too… like you i just didnt know where to start becuase the experience was so amazing! xx

    1. I couldn’t agree more! It’s certainly an experience!

  5. […] cattle station, Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia this week. Find out what life’s like on one and also take a look at our Instagram page where there are some fantastic pictures of […]

  6. […] middle of almost nowhere in the outback of Western Australia. She’s enjoying herself on the cattle station even though it’s darned hard work, up at 4.30am, bed at around 8pm. Can’t be all bad as […]

  7. […] part in some bull catching. As you may have gathered, I’m still working as a Jillaroo on a cattle station in The Kimberley, Western […]

  8. […] favourites! Clockwise from L-R: 1. What a bloody mess in the kitchen!! Helen’s back on the cattle station after the rodeo last weekend and back to making smoko’s again. Savoury muffins and tasty […]

  9. […] Helen’s leaving the cattle station in Western Australia today after several months of very hard work. She’s off to Broome for […]

  10. […] new found love for cooking started three months ago when I took a job on a cattle station close to Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. I’ve continued to […]

  11. […] spending nearly five months on a cattle station close to Fitzroy Crossing I was excited to return to civilization and indulge in some decent […]

  12. […] Springvale Station is one of a handful of cattle stations owned by Yeeda Pastoral and is located some 60km North East of Halls Creek which is approximately 300km from where I was last based in Fitzroy Crossing. […]

  13. I’m loving reading your posts about life in the Australian outback! I am sure it’s an amazing experience, despite the hard work and daily struggles! Well done you! x

  14. […] was left at the homestead on my second day at the cattle station where I am working in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia. As I waved goodbye to my colleagues, […]

  15. […] given me this recipe for some amazing banana bread which she makes on the cattle station, it looks divine so I’m going to try making it this […]

  16. […] bits of chicken. A good hearty meal like this is the perfect way to end a hard days work on the station. Everyones plates are cleared in mintues each time we go so I’m gathering all meals are […]

  17. […] another bake of Helen’s which is a Victoria sponge birthday cake for her boss on the cattle station, a recipe which I gave her and have been using for donkeys years for birthday cakes. 3. I recently […]

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