New Years Day

December 31, 2008


Cattle at the 7 mile - Outback Australia - Cattle Station - Kilcowera Station
Cattle at the 7 mile – Outback Australia – Cattle Station – Kilcowera Station


Greg spent yesterday cleaning troughs on Zenonie, our other block which is adjacent to Kilcowera. Z has 7 windmills on it, pumping water from either wells or sub artesian bores.  Some of the well water is yucky and the cattle won’t drink it if the trough gets a bit dirty and they do with the cattle slobbering in them, dropping bones and dirt in, roos and pigs jumping in and things dying in them.  The next image is looking down a recently refurbished well on Zenonie.


                                  Looking down a well on Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.




We have to be careful not too waste too much water during cleaning, if there is not much wind the cattle and roos can drink the tank dry and then we have to move them to another facility or put a pump jack on instead of the windmill.  A pump jack is a diesel engine which makes the rods go up and down pumping the water up into the tank.  The PJ is time consuming to set up and needs constant monitoring.  Water problems always happen in summer usually when the temperature is over 40. It’s a bugger of a job moving a mob of unhappy cattle on a bike in the middle of the day.


Later this morning we are going out to move a mob who are hanging on a drying up waterhole on our boundary.  We’ll take them back to the trough where they have been drinking for the last 8 months.  Cattle can be very contrary and we know all the spots where it is likely they will hang out and perish.  They sort of get used to having the odd little waterhole for drinking and forget about the man made watering points when there has been a bit of rain.


Cattle from one of our neighbours have also gotten themselves onto the bottom end of Zenonie, and are hanging on another drying up waterhole.  If they are not moved they will die as they don’t know where the troughs are. So we made sure he knows and he will be out moving cattle too on New Years day. He,he,he!


The rest of the day will be put in painting doors and architraves at our Shearers quarters and moving sprinklers. So a happy New Year to all and may it be a wet one!!


       Moving cattle on Kilcowera Station, Outback Queensland


This shot shows us moving some last summer.  Oh well enough, gotta go do some work.  Cheers.



Old Crown stove - Kilcowera Station - Outback Queensland - Station Stay - Farm Stay
Old Crown stove – Kilcowera Station – Outback Queensland – Station Stay – Farm Stay

Changes through the years.  Part 1


I was poking around the shearers quarters yard this morning, moving sprinklers and spreading the poddies manure about on the lawn (they move in over summer to keep the grass down) and thinking of some of the things that have changed over the years.


I suppose the biggest in your face change is the shearers quarters itself.  When we first married and moved to Kilcowera, Greg and I, closely followed by 2 daughters, lived in the quarters.  But not the nice building there today.  Oh no, the one we lived in was drafty, freezing cold, or super hot and was a major conduit for the inflow of dust. 


We had 32 volt power supplied by a big old diesel Lister engine and a bank of second hand Telecom batteries for lighting at night after the engine was turned off.  The lights were pretty dim too.  In winter the diesel would freeze in the fuel tank overnight and the engine could not be started till about 10 am.  This old engine below is similar to the one we hadin our engine room.  That old engine room has been scrubbed up and made into an extra bathroom now.




                                                  Southern Cross Stationary Diesel Motor - Kilcowera Station    


 I was extremely lucky in so much as I had a 32 volt vacuum cleaner to suck up the dust, a 32 v mix master, 3 evaporative coolers that worked some of the time and best of all a 32 volt Simpson agitator washing machine complete with a wringer!  Honestly they were fantastic old machines, simple to use and to fix.  Every time one washing machine would die Greg seemed to have another one nearby to cannibalize for parts and bingo! I’d have a washing machine again.  The old machines are still lined up at the old dump near the quarters.  And we also have a new line up now of dead automatic  machines that only seem to last about 2 years.  They’re in the hanger.  I don’t know why.  Spare parts?


The kitchen was interesting. We had an old Crown wood stove which had a state of the art hot water system attached to it.  I had a lot to learn in the cooking department on this wood burning beast!  Now actually I wasn’t a bad cook except for one whole class of food….. no make that two.  Cakes and biscuits and deserts were my problem.  The savoury stuff was all go – even though I did blanch a bit at tongues, hearts, livers, sweet breads and brains!  I had been a city girl – my Mum had made me eat tripe when I was a kid but after I threw up she gave up on trying to improve my palate and I never developed a taste for offal.  But people in the bush love it. All those aforementioned things are a treat and certainly not to be wasted.  Not much is wasted in the bush.  Anyway being the young bride and eager to please, I learned how to cook the offally bits.


But I also had to tackle the sweet things cause the blokes out here sneer at Arnotts biscuits! Suffice to say I did learn and developed a bit of a sweet tooth too.  This is the kitchen in the new shearers quarters.



                                       Kitchen at Kilcowera Station - Station Stay - Farm Stay - Outback Australia







Saturday morning at Kilcowera

December 23, 2008

Brown snake - Kilcowera Station - Outback Australia

Brown snake - Kilcowera Station - Outback Australia


I have ridden my motor bike back from the hanger and put it in the shed, halfway between the house and the chookyard which is about 100 metres from the house.  I decide to feed the chooks.  Get to the chookhouse and am peering in the dim interior checking for snakes before I go in.  And there is one in there.  Snakes like chook houses, they’re musty, have grain in them and mice, so I am always careful before entering.  I watched this snake for a little while, he was just cruising about quietly; I don’t think it even knew I was there, before deciding to run back to the  house to grab my snake gun. 


I get back with the gun only to see the four foot long brown snake sliding under the 44 gallon drum that holds the chook food.  Hhhmmmm…… watched for about 5 minutes to see if it was going to come back out.  No.  There would be mouse holes under the drum and it looks like snakey has gone down one.  The water to the chook yard comes via black poly pipe which is on top of the ground, so it can be quite hot in the middle of the day.  I get the hose and am  sneaking in to the chook house just going past the nesting boxes when out of the corner of my eye I see a fast movement on my right and something has bitten me on the elbow.  Well I jump backwards still clutching the hose and gun while a very agitated chook is squarking and carrying on cause I had disturbed her on the nest.  I tell you my heart just about jumped out of my throat.  When I had regained my composure I carried on with the hose trick but it seemed the water was not hot and the snake did not bolt out from under the drum.  He is still there somewhere.


Snakes are a constant worry to us and we spend a lot of the time looking at the ground as we walk around.  Day and night.  It is quite a novelty to go somewhere where you don’t have to keep such a surveillance up. Our house is also at ground level so we are very fussy about keeping doors shut.  If the birds start up a commotion out in my garden it’s a sure sign that there is either a snake, lizard or a raptor about.  Last spring there was a big kerfuffle in the garden by the resident birds as a Channel Billed cuckoo had arrived. He was way out of his normal range and definitely not welcomed by the locals.


Two years ago we saw a fairly big brown snake climb the outside brick wall of our house and disappear into a little hole in between the bricks where the grouting had fallen out.  This created a fair amount of alarm; I mean here is this snake in between the bricks and the inside gyprock of our internal walls!  There were a few obvious places where the snake could make it into our house so we taped any little holes up, gave it a few days and plugged up the hole where it went in hoping that snakey had departed.  But I know that there is a snake somewhere in the ceiling, sometimes, I can here happenings up there when it is chasing mice around. I just hope that the bloody thing doesn’t fall down through the air conditioning ducting one day!









 I always take myself for a little fly on my birthday so as that’s tomorrow I thought today was close enough.  I had fuelled the plane up yesterday, checked the oil, coolant and tyres. Dawn saw me doing the daily inspection all over and around the plane, every things OK, so I start her up. 


As soon as I moved off and used a little brake I felt something was wrong.  I attempted to run the engine to 3800 rpm to check the CDI’s while keeping the plane stationary with the brakes, but the brakes wouldn’t hold.  The left hand brake line has a crack in it and is letting the brake fluid out.


Now the thought did cross my mind that the wind was straight down the longest airstrip and I really could get away with no brakes if I really needed to go for a fly.  But it’s an unnecessary risk seeing as I don’t really have to go.  So put the plane back in the hanger.  Our maintenance man flies out from Gympie to do any work that needs to be done on my little bus, so when he’ll be able to fit in a trip out here to fix it is in the lap of the gods, especially at this time of the year.


Me fueling up my Skyfox

Me fueling up my Skyfox