Changes Part 3

January 9, 2009

The Meat House at Kilcowera Station shearers quarters Outback Queensland
The Meat House at Kilcowera Station shearers quarters Outback Queensland

There is a cute little building at the quarters – it’s the meat house, one third of the walls are made of fly wire and it has a high sloping roof to help with air circulation.  It had a bench inside, a chopping block, a long bar going from one side to the other where the meat was hung and a kerosene fridge. We lived mainly on sheep back then as the only refrigeration we had was the kero fridge, one smallish gas fridge and a gas freezer.  The sheep would be shorn, usually by Greg, he would then take it to the killing block, cut its throat, hang it up and butcher it.  The sheep would then be hung in the meat house overnight to “set”.  Right at the beginning we didn’t have a bandsaw so he would cut the whole thing up with a meat hatchet and knife which was pretty ordinary as you got bone splinters all through the meat.  We also used an old hand mincer attached to a table.  After a couple of years we purchased a bandsaw that made the job a whole lot easier.


Once, maybe twice a year, we would kill a medium size beast – always in winter as we did not have enough freezer space to store it and we’d share it with his Mum and Dad.  Some of the meat was salted and wrapped up in hessian bags and hung in the meat house for a month or so until we had enough room in the freezer for it.

Brunonia Australis - Cornflower - Kilcowera Station -Outback Australia


We always had to vigilant about keeping dust and fluff away from the naked flames of the fridges and freezer so they wouldn’t set fire to the place and also had to check constantly that the little flames had not blown out.  And heaven forbid don’t run out of gas or kero! Our roads were pretty ordinary back then so we always had extras in case we got rained in.


It took a long time for the multi cultural experience in the food department to make its presence felt out here.  Capsicums, avocados and zucchinis were pretty much unheard of and treated with great suspicion if found.  One was extremely lucky if one could get cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce at the local shop as they did not stock many cause most people ate a hot meal 3 times a day.  And don’t dare give a bloke a salad at night time.  You would be accused of dishing up rabbit food and shirking your duties.  A quote often heard when dishing up a musterers’ meal “No veg mate”.


Major Mitchell's Cockatoo - a common bird on Kilcowera Station, Outback Queensland


This beautiful Major Mitchell Cockatoo was photographed by Peter Strutt at Kilcowera’s, Cardenyabba Lagoon. 

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