Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Almost half way already.

Well isn't 2014 just flying on by. May already and it doesn't look like it's slowing down anytime soon. Uni assignments have been slaved over and sent in with pretty awesome results back so far considering the time it's been since I last wrote a 3000 word essay.

I sent some photos home for the local show and came away with 4 prizes! 2 firsts, 1 second and a highly commended. I was pretty stoked with my efforts.

Easter weekend we all piled in the truck and utes and headed out to Boulia for the Campdraft/Rodeo/Races weekend. Was an excellent weekend with fun had by all. Was nice to have a mixture and it enabled us all to get a bit dressed up!

School is full steam ahead with training started for athletics already and mini schools coming up (3 in 4 weeks).

The air is cooling off, and the light is fading earlier in the evening and rising later in the morning.

Station life just keeps rolling along. There is always something to be done.

We're all very keen for Birdsville Campdraft/Rodeo/Bronco Branding this weekend and then Longreach Show the next!

Until next time, have fun :)

On the road to Boulia

Out in the paddock

Posing with the filly

Representing the school at the Anzac March

Boulia Races

Boulia Races

Boulia Race Track
Practicing in the arena

Monday, 10 March 2014

We've started school for 2014 and it's rained

Clouds rolling in (Kate McDonald)
It’s been a busy few weeks here! March already!

Had grand plans for a ‘1st week back at school blog’ and a ‘look it rained’ blog but it seems time has got away from me and I am combining everything into one!
Sunrise on the water (Kate McDonald)

The 2014 school year has started off quite smoothly. So far we’ve had Meet & Greet and the swimming carnival. We also went to town the Central West Swimming Trials and then last week we spent 4 days in town as part on the annual Home Tutor Workshop.
Longreach pool (Kate McDonald)

Whilst we’ve been pottering about the rain came to find us. 4 days straight it was grey and wet. It’s so nice to see some green again. The dams are full, there’s a nice lot of green pick about. The channels have water in them and there are some new calves in the paddocks. Hopefully this is a good season and we get some follow up rain to compliment what we’ve already received.

Meet and Greet was in early Feb and we went up and had a lovely day meeting who will be our teachers this year. Jack was very upset that our indestructible animal Elly was in fact under the wrong house tree in the school garden but she has since been moved! That afternoon we had the swimming carnival and Boree Box Jellyfish were loud and proud. Boree was also successful in winning the carnival for 2014. We also came home with 1 runner-up age champion and 2 best dressed prizes which was pretty cool. Still on swimming, we returned to Longreach the next week for Liv to compete in the Central West Swimming Trials and she represented her school very well.

In the school room we started the year by decorating our books for the year. We grabbed magazines and adorned our books with our favourite things-horses, motorbikes, boots, hats, pigs, dogs and birds. Have just completed unit 1 and are ready for unit 2. We have learnt about Ancient China, being persuasive in our English writing, fractions, positive and negative numbers, how to tell the time, different separation techniques, Anzacs, Queensland Day, Australia Day, Easter, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year. I wonder what unit 2 will teach us?!

The rain brought puddles, mud, but most importantly green grass! Creeks are flowing, bridges went under and amongst all this we were getting ready to town for the annual Home Tutor Workshop. For a couple of weeks before we had been making hat racks, earrings, hair clips and soft toys to sell at the school markets. Nothing was going to stop us from getting to town! Then we found the water. We had to wait for a fair while for it to drop but it was worth the wait and we got there in the end.

Had to wait for the water to drop (Kate McDonald)
Water everywhere (Kate McDonald)
The road to town (Kate McDonald)
Pigs! (Kate McDonald)

The kids spent 3 days with their teachers and I listened to some pretty inspiring professional development about teaching reading and writing. Magic 100 Words is a program I’ve brought back to the school room. Bright colours, words, cards, games all aimed at improving reading. Worth a shot I reckon. The markets were a success, we got to do some retail therapy and eat out (frozen cokes and Chinese food was pretty popular) and we all got to spend some time with our friends and just chat.
Even made it into the local news....Check out the link
Markets (Kristy Sparrow)
Longreach (Kate McDonald)

So far we’ve had 2 birthdays at the station. Very exciting and some awesome cakes produced as a result!

I have started my uni work. Cropping in South-East Asia is my first assignment. So far have spent 2 days reading and researching and have started getting ideas down onto paper. Hopefully it all comes together alright.

Till next time, have fun J

Black tiger (Kate McDonald) 
Goanna sunning itself near the school room (Kate McDonald)
Patiently waiting at the shoeing school (Kate McDonald)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Outback Women Profile featuring Dean

Durrie Station is located 100km east of Birdsville. Nadine (Dean) Lorenz lives there with her husband Darren and their three children, Matthew (13), Eboni (9) and Jesse (8). Matthew is currently away at boarding school in Warwick. Eboni and Jesse complete their schooling at Durrie through Mt Isa School of Distance Education.
Deon's Lookout, Betoota (Kate McDonald)

Dean loves being a mother and a wife for her family. However, living on a station requires Dean to undertake many other roles as well. She is a cook, a counsellor, a nurse a cleaner a bookkeeper and an active member of her community. Dean is a passionate member of the local rodeo club and the social club. Last year Dean under took a massive fundraising effort and took part in Shave for a Cure raising much needed funds for Leukemia Research.
Dean and Darren's Wedding (Outback Pics Longreach)

Dean has lived in the Channel Country since 1998. Her first impression upon arriving was “why would anyone live out here?”

Despite her hesitant first impression, Dean has grown to completely love the area, can answer her own question and completely understands why people fall in love with living in the outback and never want to leave! Dean’s thinks that the people in the outback are just wonderful and so supportive and make living there worthwhile. She feels it is a great place to raise you kids and living remotely you really learn how strong you are as a person. Not everyone likes the lifestyle, but everyone should come at least once and check it out.

Dean has many favourite memories of living in the outback but the most special was when she got married to her husband Darren on the 19th of May 2012 in Birdsville. Not only was it a special event for Dean and Darren but a community event! All of their family travelled out to Birdsville to share their special day with them, and from the photos the whole town and surrounding areas of Birdsville was there too! It was even featured in the OUTBACK magazine.
Road to Birdsville (Kate McDonald)
Family is a big part of Dean’s life and has shaped who she is today. Her role models are her mother and father and she would be lost without them as well as her brothers and her sister.

Dean wishes that her Poppy was alive so her could come out and experience what life is like at Durrie. Although he passed away when Dean was young, he is a very special man in her life. Dean would love to have him sit at the dinner table so she could share with him what she’s done in her life, the good and the bad, and show him what she’s achieved so far. She would love him to be able to meet his 3 great-grandchildren as well. Dean thinks this would be the best dinner that she could ever and would ever want.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Outback Women Profile featuring Emily

Emily McCullagh decided to take a gap year and go and work in the outback. One year has turned into two years and Emily hasn’t looked back.
Mt Leonard Station (Emily McCullagh)
Emily lives and works on Mt Leonard Station, a cattle station 170km east of Birdsville. She is the governess on the station which means she is in the schoolroom from Monday to Friday. This year Emily only has one child in the schoolroom – Jacob who is in grade 4. Last year she had two children, Jacob who was in grade 3 and Leah who was in grade 7. This year Leah moved to boarding school and the schoolroom has certainly changed with only the one child now. As the governess Emily’s main job is to teach the kids through Mt Isa School of the Air. They often try to finish our work early so they are able to go fishing, play sport or do art. However, their favourite thing to do is get outside and help the men with cattle work. As if this doesn’t keep Emily busy enough, she has recently joined the Channel Country Ladies Day Committee.

Cattle work (Emily McCullagh)

Leah, Emily and Jacob (Lorraine Kath)
This is Emily’s second year living in the outback. She graduated from high school in 2012 and moved out at the start of 2013 for a gap year. Emily has returned to continue her adventure. She couldn’t stand leaving this part of the world and the lifestyle just yet!
View from Mt Leonard Hill (Lorraine Kath)

Emily loves living in the outback because of all the things you can do and see out here that you don’t get the chance to in the city. The amazing landscapes and big skies are indescribable. She had grown up in the city and the country’s laid back lifestyle is something that really stands out along with the huge open spaces. There are so many people out here and one of Emily’s favourite things to do is just sit and have a yarn with someone and hear their story. By taking the time to listen to people you learn so much and everywhere you go there is someone else’s story to be heard. Since moving out here Emily has learnt to ride horses, motorbikes, help with cattle work, and so much more – all which she absolutely loves. She loves the small community feel where everyone knows everyone (mind you sometimes this isn’t always good! It’s amazing how fast the bush telegraph works!) and how they all come together when there is an event. It is amazing how much station kids know and how much you learn from them. Emily has have often thought that she would have loved to grow up on a station – She am so glad she am experiencing it now though!   
Learning a new skill (Emily McCullagh)

Betoota Gymkhana was Emily’s first outback event and it was ‘their’ event because it is in Mt Leonard’s “backyard”. This is one of her favourite memories because it was the first time she saw the community come together and enjoy a weekend of fun which was amazing and she loved being a part of that. She had such a good time and it made her fall in love with all the events out here – now Emily hates missing out on them when they are on! Emily loves attending the different events (especially rodeos!) out here when there’s music and everyone is having a night at the bar at the event grounds. Ladies Day last year was amazing also! It was great to see all the women of the country come together for a weekend of fun. Learning to ride a horse was also awesome. There are just too many favourite memories!

Emily has never really considered herself to have a role model but if she had to say someone she looks up to it would be her older sister Georgia. Georgia is such an outgoing and strong person. She has never cared what people think of her and has always followed her heart and done her own thing. When Emily was trying to decide if she should take the leap and come out to the outback not knowing anything, with no experience and so young, Georgia was the one who she talked to and she reassured her that it would be a great experience and worth it. She was certainly right! She has always been there to talk things through and if she wasn’t there Emily’s not sure if she would have had the guts to do many of the things I have. Emily is so thankful to have her; she is her rock.    
Emily and Georgia at Jundah jump up (Emily McCullagh)
If given the opportunity to share her outback experience over dinner with anyone, Emily would invite her Ninnie and Pa (her grandparents). Unfortunately Emily has very little memories left of her Ninnie and Pa. Her Pa died when she was 6 and soon after that Ninnie was diagnosed with dementia and since then her condition has deteriorated quite severely. Emily would have so loved to show them where she living and what she is doing and introduce them to this incredible part of the world.
Big sky country (Emily McCullagh)
Old signs (Lorraine Kath)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Outback Women Profiles featuring Kate

So it wouldn't be fair to pick the brains of local outback women about their lives, their hopes and their dreams without having a go at it myself. This is the profile that was published today on the ausagventures blog. A fantastic website to visit

G'day from a Govie-

Enjoy :)

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Outback Women Profiles featuring Danielle and Emma

There seems to be a common theme with these outback, they wouldn't swap their lives for anything in the world. They love the wide open spaces, the people and the relaxed lifestyle that the outback has to offer. Danielle and Emma are the two women featured in this blog. Both have been in the outback for a long time, both are very hard working and both family orientated. Enjoy their stories.

Cooper Creek, Windorah- Kate McDonald

Danielle Weston lives in Windorah with her husband Peter. On the 1st of December 2013 they took over as owner/managers of the Windorah Service Station. Previous to this they had been managers at Tanbar Station for 7 years. Danielle is entering her 20th year of living in the outback and wouldn’t have life any other way. She is a cook, accounts keeper, secretary, shop assistant, parts organiser, a wife, a mother and a doting grandmother to her one year old grandson Kane, who also lives in Windorah.

Windorah Servo- Roxy Richardson
Danielle and Peter provide fuel, food and mechanical services to the many locals and tourists that pass through their servo. After Easter is when it starts to get really busy and this usually goes through until late October. All shapes and sizes of cars, caravans, trailers, trucks and bike pass through the servo in the annual pilgrimage to the outback by the young and old alike. It seems you can get to the outback in any vehicle these days.

Danielle works tirelessly for the Windorah Rodeo club and is in her 7th year of service to this club. The rodeo club hosts a Gymkhana in early July and then a Campdraft and Rodeo in early August. These events are well patronised by locals from near and far and Danielle and the committee do and excellent job in organizing and running these events.

Danelle speaks about her time in the outback in a positive way; 90% of the people are genuine nice people and the lifestyle is pretty amazing.

Her role models in her life are her mother and father. Sadly, he mother has passed away but what she instilled in Danielle from a young age has stayed with Danielle her whole life. Danielle’s other role model, and her reason for moving to the outback, is her husband Peter.
Danielle's husband Pete giving a helping hand- Hannah Buckley
The Windorah Service Station is the last stop for fuel on the way to Birdsville. So if you’ve got a flat tyre or if your car and stomach are running on empty, pop into Windorah Service Station and I’m sure you’ll be ready to continue on your adventure in no time!

The Channel Country from the air- Kate McDonald
Emma Liston lives on Rhondavale, near Charleville. Rhondavale is a 12,000 acre hobby farm which is run by her parents.

Emma works at the In Home Care coordinator for Frontier Services. This means she helps coordinate with the educators and families and travels around Queensland to various towns and properties making sure everyone is working together and harmoniously. Emma has also worked as a governess on a cattle property during 2011-2012.

In her community, Emma belongs to various organisations. She is the secretary and treasurer for the Charleville South West Show Society, chairperson for the Local youth committee of the show, president of the hospital auxiliary club, committee member for the local ambulance and a rural fire brigade member.  And if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, in her ‘spare time’ she is involved ins everyday farm life feeding, weekends lick runs, fencing and all the exciting stuff, watering animals and yard and general house duties. She has also just started studying to fill in her time! One very busy lady!!

Emma has lived in the outback almost all her life, apart from spending 6 months in Brisbane whilst obtaining her child care qualifications.

There is nothing about life in the outback that Emma would change. She loves that just to grab two things from down town might take you an hour because everybody you walk past pulls you up for a yarn. Everybody knows everybody and are there for them if they ever need a hand.  She loves that country people love what they do and are passionate about where they live that they really get behind the community and are always striving to improve the district for the generations to come. Emma believes that the possibilities are endless; you can be as busy or as quiet as you like. People in the outback work hard and party harder. You have plenty of room to move and tons of fun to create entertainment opportunities. There are so many hobbies and opportunities to be involved in so many things. And lastly, Emma loves the amazing photographic opportunities; night skies like you never see in built up areas, colours in the sunset that change each time the sun rises.
Outback Sunset- Emma Liston

There are lots of fantastic memories Emma recalls about living in the outback. One is when they close the street off on a Saturday so all the children in the street can join in a game of cricket. Or when your family travels with other family members, neighbours or just friends around the district with horses and motorbikes to participate in a gymkhanas  and the kicking up dust later on in the night to the local band. Or the simplicity of sitting around during the afternoon with a cold beverage watching the sun go done laughing and chatting about the latest attics that happened that day whilst mustering.

The most influential role model for Emma would be her mother. She is a very passionate about the land, outback living, community and family. She loves everything she does and she gives her whole self in everything she does. She always has time for others and is always helping someone. She believes strongly in values and working hard to achieve whatever your heart desires.

If there was a dinner party at Rhondavale, Emma would invite the following people to share her outback life with and give them an insight into what happens out in the wilds of the west.  Henry Lawson would be invited so Emma could swap stories with him. Ellen DeGeneres would bring the comedienne factor and also because Emma thinks she would understand the way of live. Shemar Moore would provide some eye candy for the evening and also his active fundraising for MS would bring a humanitarian aspect to the evening. Princess Dianna would bring lots of knowledge and Kate McDonald (author of the blog ‘Something New’) would of course be invited to share in the evening’s festivities and fill the 6th place around the dining room table.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Outback Women Profiles featuring Lorraine Kath

The road to Betoota- Kate McDonald
Betoota, population: 0.
Betoota is Lorraine Kath’s closest town. All that remains in Betoota is a boarded up pub and a race track which is still used a couple of times a year.

Lorraine lives at Mt Leonard Station which is located in the Channel Country, 220 kilometres west of Windorah. She lives here with her husband and 3 children. At Mt Leonard Lorraine is the station cook, domestic help, gardener, and of course, wife to Chook and mother to Cassandra, Leah and Jacob. Lorraine has also been the home tutor at Mt Leonard when her children were a bit younger.
Cassandra, Leah and Jacob- Lorraine Kath

Lorraine and Chook- Emily McCullagh

In her community, Lorraine is the secretary of the Betoota Race Club and secretary/treasurer of the Betoota Gymkhana Club. She is also a board member of Vast Arts.

Lorraine has lived in the outback for 19 years and can’t think of a better place to live. She loves the people, the events and the landscapes. She feels that her family live in an amazing part of Australia. Lorraine couldn’t think of a better place to raise a family than in the outback. The wide open spaces and the freedom to roam is a wonderful experience for her children.
The hardest part of living in the outback is sending your children off to boarding school. This year, Lorraine and Chook have sent their 2 daughters to boarding school in Townsville. The opportunities for them at school are endless and they will continue to grow from the experience.  Each time they drop them off, their heart breaks but deep down they know it is the best place for them.
Cassandra, Leah and Jacob- Lorraine Kath

Lorraine is a keen photographer and has published books and calendars with her works. She is a regular at all rodeos, campdrafts and gymkhanas capturing all the action and the thrills and spills. Her landscape photography is impressive as well. Lorraine loves photographing the country she lives in. The changing scenery and colours never cease to amaze her.
Lake Nappanerica- Lorraine Kath

Lorraine’s role model is her grandmother Nellie. From a young age Lorraine spent a lot of time with Nanna; she lived in her back pocket. She loved spending time with her grandmother on weekends or helping her cook Lorraine’s favourite dessert. Whether it was holiday visits to Yeppoon or fortnightly grocery trips to the Sunshine Coast, Lorraine was with her grandparents. Nanna is loving person who always has a smile on her face! If Lorraine can live a wonderful life and still be happy at 91 like my grandmother then she knows she will be content.

If Lorraine has the chance to invite a special guest to dinner at Mt Leonard it would be her grandmother Nellie and her grandfather Bill. Unfortunately, Bill passed away when Lorraine was a child and her grandmother, due to her age, is unable to visit. However she desperately wishes she could make the trip. Lorraine would love to share with her grandparents the outback, the place she calls home and where she is raising her 3 children.


To view Lorraine’s work got to: