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Not Your Average Suburban Block

Page 2

Adrian Cloonan

Drought had badly affected the Robinson River Plains property – all the stock had been sold and the family was relocating for 2 years to the southern Tanami Desert, to lease land with plenty of feed for raising cattle.  So off we went in our trusty 4WD. After all, what’s another 1000 kms on top of the 4000 already driven from Melbourne to Geraldton?

As we turned off the main road into the gravel drive, our first impressions were of red rocks, red sand and swaying spinifex, contrasting with a brilliant blue sky.  In the distance was a low-set building, the homestead.  Next to come into view was a swimming pool – and then the building made from shipping containers!    

The owner’s parents had come out of retirement south of Perth to induct us for our task.   Over the next few days the property was explored, and we studied the station manual. This detailed boundaries, location of bores and gates, and listed which people were allowed onto what parts of the property. For example, you had to ensure kangaroo shooters were not in the same area as mining exploration crews, or hobby metal detectorists.

A week later, we were handed the keys and left on our own. The station owners had left 5 horses to be fed and watered. Feeding was done using the farm ute, which had a lifting crane to raise hay bales to the tray – we came to loathe this vehicle! We were advised to keep a watching brief on fences, in case scrub cattle broke through if they smelled water.  No cattle, but wild dogs were in the vicinity…


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