• 2022.05.10
  • Aussie Cattle Stations: an interview
In Australia, ‘ranches’ are called cattle stations and they are mainly used to raise cattle and sheep.
Although people normally associate the United States with the ranches, here in Australia there is the world's biggest cattle ranch, Anna Creek Station, located in South Australia, which is apparently as big as Belgium and it seems they need an airplane to go from one side to the other of the property.

Many Europeans, when they first come to Australia, choose to spend a few months working in a farm because it allows them to extend their visa to stay here (or so it was pre-pandemic). Many would like to spend time at a cattle station but finding a job at an Australian ranch is more complicated than fruit picking: you have to do a little more research, be highly motivated and have more experience.
Many positions require cooks, gardeners and babysitters, who are very important figures to ensure the perfect functioning of the station which employs many workers.
A friend of mine worked at a ranch for a few months and he mentioned to me that working at livestock stations is varied and could include gathering animals on horseback or by motorcycle, branding, vaccinating, milking, building and repairing fences, maintaining structures, cutting down trees and cleaning after the animals.
He was also in charge of taking care of the three Australian shepherd dogs on the property. They are beautiful animals and they are great with the herds.

There are many things to do around the house too: cooking, doing laundry, taking care of the vegetable garden and look after the children.
You have to be flexible and you must have a spirit of adaptation.
Getting along with everyone is probably the most important thing, because you work side by side and in teams where everyone has to rely on the other.
Accommodation and meals are provided but they are very simple: mainly meat of course, and lots of beans, while fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as water (!), could be rationed.
My friend, whose name is Alberto like myself, told me that sometimes you will find yourself camping for several days, sleeping in your sleeping bag by the bonfire out in the fields and you will work many hours from sunrise to sunset, often seven days a week in difficult weather conditions.
Cattle station work is officially the most dangerous job in Australia, with the highest rate of accidents and even deaths. That is because cattle stations are very isolated and accidents may happen.
One must consider also that Australia is full of poisonous spiders and snakes which could potentially bite you and here you’ll be kilometres away from the nearest hospital.
The cattle stations have first aid kits and anti-venom serum but it’s often important to seek medical help because different animals have different venoms and therefore their bites may require a particular serum.
Alberto recalls that evenings on the ranch were always a special time.
Many workers dine early because cowboys go to bed early to wake up at dawn and so the porch was a place to gather and watch sunset before or after dinner.
He recalls swinging on the rocking chairs and drinking cold beers, while planning the activities for the next day.
He concluded by saying: “Living at a cattle station was one of my biggest dreams and, while I was there, I felt like I was living in a dream. The happiness you feel when you achieve something you have dreamed about for a lifetime is unmatched.”


REPOTER

  • Alberto Ferrando
  • AgeHorse (UMA)
  • GenderMale
  • Jobcivil engineer

Hello everyone! I’m originally from Italy and I moved to Sydney, Australia, in 2012 after getting a job as a civil engineer. I love walking my dog along the beach, surfing and taking photos. I used to have a travel blog because I’m passionate about traveling and I love writing about it too. Sydney is my home base now and I wish to share how amazing it is to live here. I love to spend time outdoors and I’m always well informed about local events because my girlfriend works in event management.

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