The very long and treacherous Jerry Jerroo crossing.  There were some deep holes in there!

This year is speeding by so fast I can’t believe it.  So much has been happening around our area, I’ll start with our road, The Dowling Track.  The Bulloo Shire received lots of government money to fix flood damaged roads and ours was one of them.  Contractors have been working on it for about 9 months now.  The bit we were all busting to see fixed was the Jerry Jerroo creek crossing.  Well fair dinkum those blokes would get just so much done on the job and then go off for two weeks break. They would park all their machinery up on the side of the road for two weeks and one time I made a big sign and stuck it to the front of one of the graders, it said “ For Sale!!”  It would rain again and fill the road and crossing up with water, mud and silt once more so they couldn’t work on it.

Stock trucks, council vehicles, tourists and locals were ploughing their way through it making the holes deeper and deeper. The contractors bogged graders, front end loaders, excavators and their own trucks trying to get the water off the road.  The council would close the road but that makes no difference really, cause they don’t tell us, they just trot out and put a sign up near town saying road closed.  All it does is stop tourists and gives the mail person the perfect excuse not to deliver our mail.  They had the road ready 3 times to lay the bitumen, but they went away for their break instead of doing the job and it rained and stuffed the job up again.  BUT third time lucky – the crossing is at last finished – beautiful bitumen laid right across the 2 channels of the creek!  Hope it doesn’t wash away next time the creek runs!


The newly completed crossing.  It was a difficult job right to the end as the truck delivering the screenings broke down and it was also found that even though the prepared road surface looked fine there was still one very wet patch fair in the middle of the road..

Camping at Kilcowera Station, Outback Queensland. Camping at Kilcowera Station, Outback Queensland. 

Hungerford Field Day is on every second year in the tiny little town of Hungerford on the NSW, QLD border.  The permanent population fluctuates between about 5 and 7, however every second year the metropolis comes alive in June with visitors from all over the country showing off their wares to an appreciative local crowd.

This year there was Jane the chook lady from Cheepie, bulls from somewhere way down south, rams from somewhere else, kelpies from Cooma along with displays from National Parks and Rural Fire Services.  The NP people had live snakes, bilbies and lizards.  Our youngest daughter was there with the South West Natural Resource Management team showing off their state of the art fishing boat and also various weeds that we all have to be on the alert for. They also had their Sun Oven going, providing smoko for visitors to their display, then they put some chicken pieces in for their lunch.  All very handy considering the caterers for the event were flat out for most of the day.  The chook took ages to cook and they were all starving by the time it was done, the four of them looked like a pack of little cannibals tearing into their chicken pieces with their hands.  No bread, no salad, no serviettes.  Bless their little cotton socks!

There was a display selling all things electrical for the home and office and UHF radios, another with plants, there were work clothes, leather goods, cosmetics, a hairdresser, a business selling steel,  another with tools and gardening implements,  2 wheel motor bikes and quads, locally made jewellery, an opal display,  water pumps and generators, a craft display and haberdashery.  The stock and station agents were there as well trying to drum up a bit of business .

This year I was in the market for a new motor bike unbeknownst to the MOTH, after all my one and only bike in 30 years of wedded bliss and love of the land had turned up its toes two years ago.  So I found a pretty red Honda and bought it.  Just as well I had insisted we go down in the ute, wasn’t it?  He, he,he.   And it was the only thing I bought all day apart from a feed and a beer.

Toni's pretty new motorbike.

Most people drive to the field day but some choose to fly in and there were about eight planes lined up on Hungerford’s beautiful bitumen airstrip. 

 The local publicans, Moc and Sherree provide the all important liquid refreshment during the day.  Thank God for light beer because the incumbent coppers get the breathalyser out and do just about everyone leaving the grounds.  There’s a booze bus for those who have had a few too many but lots of people camp at the grounds for the night and so, have no worries about getting picked up. 

Early in the evening there is the big auction for the RFDS – all the exhibitors donate something to be auctioned off with all the proceeds going to keep the Doctor flying.  It raises a lot of money too, as everyone is pretty happy by the start of the auction and ready to bid.  Then the band kicks in, playing on the stage which is the trailer of a truck.

And so the night goes on with some kicking their heels up in the dust, others valiantly drinking on in the freezing night air while standing around the firedrums, arguments, tall stories, plenty of yarns, some trying to sleep  and lots of sore heads guaranteed in the morning.  Nothing that a good big greasy breakfast won’t fix.  But hell, that sunlight is bright first thing in the morning when you stick your head out of the swag!

 Years ago we won a fruit tray at the field day and carefully put it near our swags which were also carefully put inside a post and rail yard originally intended for horses.  We put all the rails up, so no horses could get in and just knew we would be safe that night, tucked up in our swags after the auction and the nights socializing.  No cars would run over us, no horses could stand on us, we would be safe, even if a little inebriated!  You have to plan ahead with this sort of thing! 

 Morning comes around and we can hear munch, munch, snort, munch but don’t really want to put our heads out in the freezing cold to see what’s making all that noise.  We eventually discover it is the local town pony helping himself to the fruit tray and  it’s nearly all gone.   Rules don’t apply to pets such as him – under the fence, stepping delicately around the comatose beings in the swag and into the apples, mangos and pears thank you very much!

Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.

Foxtrot Delta Papa on the Thargomindah Airstrip
Foxtrot Delta Papa on the Thargomindah Airstrip

The Royal Flying Doctor does a weekly visit to Thargomindah to provide medical care for the 300 or so locals and also the station people.  Our Doctor comes from the Charleville base, these days it’s a lady doctor one week and a bloke the next week.

 I think we are very fortunate to have the RFDS as our medical service as,  even on the stations, a doctor is only ever 2 or 3 hours away since we all have airstrips. We also have a large medical chest supplied by the RFDS to administer first aid from while waiting for the doctor to fly in.

So off to town yesterday for Greg to see the Doc ( he prefers the lady one), I went in for the ride and to take my library books back.  Had to also get diesel, about 600 litres at 149.9 cents a litre!  Petrol might have come back in the cities but it’s still pretty dear out here!  We also booked one of our cars in for a service with the Toyota dealer. The shop had reasonably fresh fruit and veg in so I bought some and a funny little ice block that had come all the way from Poland!  Unreal. 

Had a hamburger with an organic beef patty on it for lunch at the roadhouse.  OBE beef was formed by a group of graziers in Thargomindah 15 or so years ago and is still going strong, supplying organic beef to Japan and America and some in Australia too. We were a part of this for the first 10 years but had to relinquish our organic status in order to supplement our cattle during the drought to keep them alive.



Hereford bulls, Kilcowera Station, Outback Queensland.


On our way home we did a water run on our other place, Zenonie.  Old eagle eyes (himself) spotted a Hereford head under a tree, off the side of the road on our northern neighbour’s place, so off we go to investigate.  Sure enough it’s 2 new bulls who have taken themselves off for what they thought were, greener pastures.  Well they aren’t doing our cows any good there, so we got them moving ever so reluctantly and put them through a nearby gate back onto Zenonie.

Then we travelled the length of Z doing a water run, no great dramas today – one dead roo to be pulled out of a tank, lick blocks to be put out for the cattle, lots of gates to open and we found some of the southern neighbors’ cattle in our Bottom paddock.  They have to stay there until we muster and then we’ll try once more to get them out, but they are very wild animals and a bit hard to keep up with.

We left home at 7.30 and got back at 3, travelling about 300 kms for the day. 


Hereford cow having smoko, Kilcowera Station, outback Australia.