jumbuck news - Jumbuck Pastoral
Volume 14, Issue 2
Mustering crews in the north have been toiling
hard over the last three months to see the first
round of breeders processed and get sale stock
away. Likewise southern crews have been
toiling, most recently with lamb marking
underway with mixed results according to and
attributed to the variation that we are seeing
across varied seasonal conditions.
H.G. MacLachlan & Billy Forrester on Killarney
If Greece has been the buzzword of the
last couple of months, then beef has surely not
been far behind it. And not to be left out, wool
has certainly been making headlines as well.
We have seen the wool market rise very
quickly, reaching 1499 cents for 21 micron and
as quickly as it climbed it seems to be declining
on the other side.
Your Directors lament the fact that
rationale for both the upswing and
downswings in the wool market appear
inexplicable even to those who are trading
Some personnel changes are afoot at head
office with Melissa Farbus leaving us after an
all-too-brief but successful stint in the key role
of Recruitment Administrator, we wish her well
with the arrival of her first child in early
September and our doors will always be open
to her. We have also lost Andrew McGee, data
entry, who is pursuing a career in the IT
sector. We thank you both for your efforts.
We took the opportunity at the end of April to
show our parents around the new block –
Killarney - which met with resounding thumbs
up despite some warning from the company
patriarch pertaining to the expanse of lawn and
sprawling homestead and horse complex which
will need maintaining! We feel confident
however that the new addition to the stable is
more thoroughbred than mountain pony!
Callum and Jock
Optimism across the red meat sector has not
seen such highs in our time with simple
demand and supply metrics indicating good
things for these markets. Fingers crossed that
politics does not get in the way of trade,
especially where the live export beef trade is
concerned into Indonesia. Vietnam now a
serious player in this space too.
Jamie & Gemma Laurisson & Callum, Fiona,
H.G. & Jock MacLachlan at Killarney
Jumbuck News Page 1
We completed the first round of
mustering at Blina by about 22nd of June, with
all breeders mustered and processed, calves
branded back onto mum and weaners removed
and processed. Numbers not sensational,
however a large percentage of heavily pregnant
cows will have us branding in the mid 70%
area again I feel.
We have also turned off some 2500 head with
another 3000 head due to leave this month.
Our focus now moves to delivering sale cattle,
and sorting dry stock into different classes.
Also we will be awaiting the results of our new
controlled joining program on our maiden
heifers which will be preg tested next week.
Management eagerly awaits the results of this
The Blina stock camp have spent about a week
over at Kimberley Downs assisting the Meda
crew with completing their first round muster.
This included a full force assault of the Lennard
River paddock, which in addition to the 1200
breeding cows and progeny also provides
refuge for a number of renegade old bullocks.
We managed to yard 65 of these old pikers,
with a combination of some hard riding, first
class flying from the boys from Pearl Coast
Helicopters and some good teamwork from
both crews. A handy financial bonus and good
fun for all involved.
Everyone is busy, with mustering, cartage and
helicopter contractors flat out, and flowing onto
the yard, tank, fencing and earthmoving
contractors who are now enjoying some
prosperity after several tough years.
The country is drying out quickly, due to the
wet ending early, however cattle are looking
well at this stage. We unloaded a road train of
urea dry season lick today, which will be
quickly put to use around the drier areas of the
Boreman Jason Deacon, and Ellendale
Overseer Andy Hallen have been full tilt
keeping water up, with cattle coming back onto
water in numbers as early as April due to a
shorter wet season. They have also completed
numerous improvements which will make life
easier moving forward. They have also
managed to keep the plant and machinery in
full operation despite the best efforts of the
stock camp. Good job.
Recently completed safety fence around mill base
and pump jack at Calwynyardah Bore
Relaxed weaners in the Blina homestead yards
Cattle markets remain exceptional, and this is
across all classes of cattle, and the community
as a result is alive with renewed energy.
Earthmoving division consisting of Stuey
Jones on the grader and Luke McNamara on
the 938G loader have been extremely busy.
Stuey has got around most of the run already,
and done significant earthworks to major haul
roads with some 12km being realigned,
dragged up etc. with woa-boys and drains
everywhere. Hopefully this big effort will reduce
our road maintenance budget moving forward
and combat erosion issues.
Jumbuck News Page 2
Luke McNamara has been with us ten weeks
and has just finished up, having built some 40
odd massive woa-boys, repaired dam wing
banks, cleared fence lines and buried
considerable rubbish such as old tanks, yards,
troughs etc. Well done to these two.
Louis Van Zyl has stepped up to the plate in
his first season as Head stockman, managing
a demanding program and a difficult boss with
poise. Well done, and the future looks bright
for you Louis. We welcome to the stock camp
mid-year new recruits such as Roger Ferris,
Jacob Headon-Doidge and Isla Bell who
are all fitting in well and becoming key
members of the team. Former Meda staffer
Meg Ross has also joined us for uni holidays.
We recently had some well-earned time off for
the Fitzroy Rodeo, which was not actually all
that much time off for anyone, as the crew
were all helping Connie and I along with the
rest of the committee to run the event!
However we did get a chance to let our hair
down for a big weekend and the stock camp did
their bit to support the bar. We also had our
man Kit Lelievre take out the Open Bareback
Bronc Ride, place fourth in the Saddle Bronc
Ride and do a bit of clowning on the side. Well
done mate. Sarah Taylor, Connie Wood,
Louis Van Zyl and Kit also competed in the
Staff that have been with us since April; Kit
Lelievre, Greg Lennox, Sarah Taylor and
Connie Wood have put in a huge effort,
especially when we were short staffed. It is
great to have reliable and loyal people around
you. Thank you.
I would also like to thank the Ellendale Govie,
Annie Rogers, who has spent all but one
weekend in the stock camp, helping out. She
too has become a key member of the team,
and Louis and myself love seeing her drive in
on Friday night, ready for work. Thanks Annie.
In particular I would like to recognise the
efforts of Sarah Taylor, our mad Kiwi who
gives 110% all day every day. Sarah never
takes a backward step, and puts her shoulder
to the wheel with a smile day in day out. She
is a great role model for the rest of the stock
Connie Wood, Blina and Lizzy Bradley, Meda
practice camp drafting
Louis & Meg at the Fitzroy Crossing
Campdraft & Rodeo
Blina crew 2015
Jumbuck News Page 3
Don Don the Duck in the Helicopter
We now have the Halls Creek, Derby and
Broome events ahead of us in the social
calendar and hopefully can snare a few
weekends off in July/August. Here is for
I’ll finish with an amusing story to share…A
certain Kiwi Girl at Blina has a somewhat
strange obsession with a plastic decoy duck,
named Don, who has been photographed in
some extremely strange places around the
run. They might forget the branding furnace,
or the drench, but never do they forget the
damn duck. Bloody Kiwis…..
Sarah & Don Don
Isla & Kit shoeing at Herberts – this is Blina
efficiency to a T!
Don Don the Duck in the Helicopter
Greg, Sarah, Louis & Kit at
Castrating weaners – Greg & Roger on the
head, Louis cutting and Jacob on the back leg
Jumbuck News Page 4
Sunset at Herberts Yards
Getting a drink
Matt & Connie
Wo o d
Jumbuck News Page 5
Summer has gone and winter is
definitely upon us in the North West. It has
been a strange period weather wise, as we
have endured weeks, if not months of little or
no wind, which put enormous pressure on all
waters at the end of summer and well into
The western half has been slower to respond
but is coming along, and the stock will be
grateful I am sure. The eastern side which
received 39mm in January looks a picture and
some more rain during winter and spring
should set us up for another good end to the
Thankfully in May the heavens opened and
Bulgunnia received a good soaking rain which
covered the entire property. The western end
was in desperate need as it missed out on the
rains in January.
Western end before the rain
After the rain
Much needed rain around Bulgunnia!
May recorded 32mm which was then followed
up with another 12.6mm in June which has
resulted in some very green paddocks covered
in bindii, cannonball and geranium.
Maintenance and fencing have been on the go
and we have started replacing a 6km section of
fence between Lena and Bulgunnia paddocks.
Once again this is being done with station staff
them to gain
experience in this type of work.
We have also been refurbishing old yards with
Sextabyng and Pegler yards receiving a
makeover. A lot of these old mulga post yards
were built to last but mostly they lacked a belly
rail, which caused the old cyclone to fail. So
with some steel pipe inserted and new cyclone,
they will be good for years to come.
Jumbuck News Page 6
At the request of Callum we have started to
install small roo gates in the corners of these
yards to stop the roos smashing into the
cyclone when trying to escape. Time will tell if
this will be effective.
We are currently in the process of rebuilding
our generator shed as the old one was a bit
dated and cramped for room. It also is
positioned only 20 meters from the homestead
front door and is very noisy!
The new shed will be of besser brick
construction with large sliding access doors for
generator removal if needed. It will be fully
insulated and ventilated and will make BBQ
dinners on the front veranda a little bit more
The only ones complaining are the station
hands as they reliably inform me that they use
the rowdy generator as their alarm clock and
with it now to be placed in a soundproof shed,
they may need waking up some mornings.
New fence line between Lena and
A chore that I will only be too happy to help
them with - a bucket of cold water should fix
any future problems they may have!
Vehicle maintenance is always on-going and
this also gives valuable experience to staff.
Stacey Stamatis had never done a rear diff
replacement until now.
Foundations for new generator shed
Should that wheel be on that angle?
A little bit of bush mechanics
with a makeshift hoist
Jumbuck News Page 7
Grace windmill lowered to ground ready
to be repaired
New cement floor poured
Windmill repairs and maintenance have also
been undertaken in the past couple of months.
We are still replacing the old worn out and
dangerous wooden platforms on the mills, and
we are replacing them with station made
platforms using expanded mesh and angle iron.
These have proven to be very effective with
The new bore at Ooraminna has now been
equipped and tested, with pleasing results. To
equip this bore with no windmill or tripod over
it, we used a portable gin pole made from an
old aluminium Telstra phone tower from down
at the dump, very light and durable, put up in
The windmill from the old bore will now be
moved and set up over the new bore. This
paddock should then be quite useful again,
especially for mobbing up at shearing time.
Fabricating new steel platforms for
Portable gin pole at Ooraminna boresalvaged from old Telstra phone tower
Jumbuck News Page 8
During the month of May, Bulgunnia hosted the
Mulgathing crew and together we attended a
two day first aid course. The course was very
informative and everybody had some input and
learnt new skills.
We had a chance to have hands on experience
in everything from CPR, including defibrillation
use, bandaging wounds etc. and even a run
down on removing motorbike helmets from a
patient after an accident.
The first night we all enjoyed a BBQ at the
homestead and I take this opportunity to thank
Irene Marshall and her helpers for all the
especially the hot lunch on day two.
Loading patient onto portable stretcher
Checking for danger after accident
Removing patients helmet supporting the neck
Removing patients helmet supporting the neck
Lamb marking has begun on Bulgunnia and
after 4 weeks down and only 2 weeks
remaining, the crew are looking forward to a
Considering the season and the lack of rain
earlier this year, the stock are holding up well.
To date the 2010 orange tags are the stand
out with 106% overall with a top of 113%
from Grace Paddock.
The 2011 drop green tags have done it tough
being placed out in the western half, but they
have still returned a credible 80% whilst the
2012 drop purple tags averaged 85%. With
the maidens and a few more orange tag
paddocks still to do, we are on the home
Full credit to all my crew for your efforts thus
far, Greg Blick our pilot has done an
exceptional job of flying with good numbers
turning up and only the odd long tail sighted
in paddocks already completed.
Jumbuck News Page 9
Our ground crew, which consists of all females
and is led by Stacey (Stakka) Stamatis,
have been having a standout muster.
Eliza Duroux, Aleisha Mills, Kerry Fullwood
(can’t keep her away) and Stakka have been
working well together, and their ability to yard
the stock quietly and with minimal fuss is a
credit to them. Well done team.
Team hard at work
Kerry Fullwood back for lamb marking
Bringing the mob into the yards
Aleisha Mills and Eliza Duroux
Boss man takes a turn at picking up
Greg Blick – about to get busy
Jumbuck News Page 10
Drafting off the lambs at Anzac yards
Eliza Duroux, Kerry Fullwood, Greg Blick, Stacey Stamatis and
Commonwealth Hill has finally been the
recipient of some useful rainfall. By no means
has the 53 millimetres that has fallen in the
last five weeks turned the tide completely, but
it is a start and it has certainly been good for
stock and staff alike!
We have seen a good response, particularly in
the last two weeks since follow up rain from an
initial 35 millimetres recorded at the end of
May. The country has taken off and we can
only hope that it will continue on doing so, to
ensure we have a strong spring.
Lamb Marking is in full swing here, currently
being a little over half way. I have the crew
split in two team, with half mustering
continuously throughout the day, while the
other half mark lambs. This is working very
well and we can comfortably process 700-800
ewes and mark their lambs easily in a day,
ensuring they are all mothered up before the
sun has set.
Clayton Burey mothering up at Problem Tank
To date we have mustered 7,227 ewes and
marked 5,716 lambs, giving us 79.1% overall.
I have been a little disappointed with some of
our paddocks, but given the condition of some
of the country prior to the rain I may be being
Our best results have been in our black tag
ewes which came so close, with 99.7% overall.
The best paddocks in these ewes did 111.6%
I must stress the area these
sheep came out of was lucky to receive earlier
rains in the year which has helped them
Jumbuck News Page 11
Thankfully the rain has fallen just in the nick of
time for these lambs which were starting to feel
the pinch when we began marking them three
weeks ago. As a consequence we are giving a
B-12 shot to all lambs in the hope it may hold
them over to a point where the feed can
become useful for them and they begin to look
after themselves. We are hoping that by the
end of tailing we will find ourselves with 10,000
lambs marked, which will be a big help to the
Our eastern neighbours, who were routinely
seeing and destroying large numbers last year
are now seeing far fewer than they did.
Most of our 'quieter' time on the lead up to
tailing this year has been spent on windmill
repair. The old 14' Comet at Garford came
down voluntarily over shearing, cutting the job
in half and saving us all the time of removing
it! It was replaced with a Southern Cross IZE.
The Yellowtail at Angas Tank has been replaced
with a second hand Southern Cross IZE which
David Hamann brought down to us from
Blina. Parts for the Yellowtails are becoming a
little difficult to get hold of, so thankfully the
couple of IZs from Blina will definitely be put to
The replacement of the wheel arms on the 24'
Aurora Syphon mill has been completed after
being at a standstill over shearing. It is so
good knowing one does not have to drive up to
Aurora every day to start a diesel mono!
Mustering Rockhole Paddock. What an Office!
We didn't get much time between the
completion of sheep placements and tailing this
year, so any respite from stock work has still
been quite hectic. We completed a straggler
shearing at the end of April, shearing nearly
750 more sheep and adding 23 bales to our
clip. We were even fortunate enough to sell
these few bales at the height of the market!
A 1080 dog baiting has been carried out right
around the Dog Fence as a buffer along the
fence as well as inside where there is any
problem areas. Thankfully at Commonwealth
Hill we have not had any indication of Wild Dog
activity for close to a year now.
George Smith with Dechlan O'Neill,
Jumbuck News Page 12
The wheels have also been removed from
Freshwater, Byron and Wildingi. All these mills
will be getting major overhauls done when time
Dechlan O'Neill and capable offsiders are
credited with the majority of this windmill work
which we had to get done in a short space of
time. No mean feat!
In a first for Commonwealth Hill, we have
installed our first electric submersible. This
was installed under the 18' Comet at Old
Homestead Bore. The submersible is screwed
on under the windmill pump, with a valve fitted
between the two enabling the windmill to
continue pumping when the submersible is not
in use. This has made a massive difference to
our pumping ability during a wind drought with
it producing 530 gph consistently.
On the staff front we have a few new faces
joining us over the tailing period.
Gorman who worked with me at Mulgathing
has joined us to help out over tailing. It is
good to have Jack here at Commonwealth Hill,
even if only for a short time. He certainly
makes me tired just watching him as he runs,
and he runs everywhere!
Clayton Burey and Simon Bitsch
Cody Innes has joined the crew here in the
last month also. She is lucky to be a 'local,'
coming from Roxby Downs, but has also had
the added bonus of doing Work Experience
here at Commonwealth Hill a few years ago.
Thankfully, from that experience she knows
which turn-off to take in from the Highway.
Isn't that right Codes?
Happy Birthday Jack!!
Simon 'woolly rider' Bitsch has joined us
from Denmark on his way around Australia and
will continue on his way taking in everything
our country has to offer once we are finished
tailing in a few weeks.
Ashley Cooper and his family have taken a
new direction in life, departing Commonwealth
Hill early June and heading to the 'greener'
pastures of Dunkeld, Victoria for life on a Prime
Lamb property. We wish them all the best in
the new adventure!
Jumbuck News Page 13
Rob Taylor has been as busy as ever on the
Dog Fence, as the camel activity tends to
increase around this time of the year. As if this
isn't keeping him busy enough, when he is not
out on the Dog Fence he finds himself repairing
our internal ones! I've been trying to put a
figure on exactly how much internal work he
has done over the last 10 months and I can
only estimate it at about 1,000 pickets, but it is
more than likely more. That is a lot of fence
Lamb Marking Crew 2015: A special thanks to
this lot, they make the whole tailing caper look
From left to right; Ryan Deacon, Clayton Burey, Melissa Hamilton, Jack Gorman,
George Smith, Cody Innes, Dechlan O'Neill, Hannah Botta and Simon Bitsch
Lamb marking time is upon us again, with a
broad range of percentages from a low of 78%
in the maidens to 109% in a mob of three year
The lambs are of a good and heavy size, with
only a small amount of early weaned lambs.
With the helpful hands of Libby Langley and
Travis Leray, the final result was 3339 ewes
with 3172 lambs coming out to a 94.9 %. A fair
result from a lower than average rainfall year
and hand feeding that starting in late January.
The Olive grove has been harvested with 206
tons of fruit picked. This year the grove has
produced its largest producing 31,000 Litres of
Alison Finch the olive grove overseer has
decided to hand up her hat after 12 years of
service. Leaving for a long and well deserved
break to start her semi-retirement. She has
certainly left her mark at Glen Devon and has
left some large shoes to fill. So from everyone
here we wish her all the best and a bright
Jumbuck News Page 14
The season continued to get drier with
the country bared right off with no grass and
only sticks where the bush should have been.
We have been feeding sheep twice a week both
at Gunbar and Tiarra with the two together this
is a four day job using 46 tons of Oats per
week just to try and keep them alive which we
have done to most of the sheep.
Justin Lee & Dominic Jennings at Hope Tank, Tiarra
Gunbar has purchased a new Hino truck which
is going well and has been used a lot while
We have received 50mm of rain on the 9th
June and another 12mm a week later and it’s
still raining, with the country already
responding the ewes and lambs will be getting
onto the green now. This will mean we can get
in and mark the lambs which we have not done
as yet due to the dry time.
The rain has also run some good dam water
which will be great when the sheep get back
Along with feeding sheep, Stuart and Justin
Lee, Dylan Martin and Tom Cotter have
erected eight kilometres of new fence at Tiarra
replacing the division fence between Trida and
Emu Clump, and also around 3kms of southern
boundary along the railway line in Stoney and
Long-time employee Gerry Fitzpatrick has left
Gunbar to move into the old people’s home in
Hillston. Gerry was first employed at Gunbar in
1982 as a handy man where he did many jobs
from painting to repairs around the Homestead
buildings, both here and at Tiarra.
He had a hand in building the cottage which is
now used as quarters. Gerry spent many a day
crawling under the woolshed replacing Ash
bearers that where eaten out by white ants and
replacing them with 5x3 Cyprus bearers, along
with jacking and replacing stumps under the
woolshed and Jackaroo’s quarters.
These were jobs that Gerry did from 1982 right
up until departing Gunbar this year at the ripe
old age of 89 years! For the past fifteen or so
years Gerry looked after the chooks and was
lighting the boiler for the homestead every day.
We thank Gerry for his long and loyal service.
The classing of the remaining 2014 drop ewes
and the 2014 drop rams is underway with the
sheep looking like they have some wool on
them but feeling as though they will be very
light in condition. They should start to pick up
slowly now with the rain we have had as long
as we do not get too many frosts. The station
rams will be ready to go later in the year and
should fill out nicely over the next few months.
Jumbuck News Page 15
The 2015 mustering season began in early
April. First round of mustering has produced
plenty of weaners and calves. Sale cattle have
weighed a lot heavier than they look; this
together with a very strong market has
amounted to very healthy sale results.
New front grid
Fat cows in homestead yard ready to truck to
Midfield Meats in Warnambool, Victoria
Gunbar manager Dominic Jennings in the
The 2014/1015 wet came to an end a lot
earlier than we would have liked, with only
105.6mls recorded in February and 32.6 in
March. We did end up with an average wet
season amounting to 695.9mls: 28 inches.
However with February and March rainfall being
well below average we, as was the case last
year, are in for a long dry season.
There have certainly been some very
challenging and long days associated with
mustering a place for the first time. With the
support of Michael Stanley and Dan
McCready, who have put in the hard yards and
just keep at it, we have put through a lot of
cattle in a short period of time and will have
first round of mustering complete by mid-July.
Michael and Dan have been well backed up by
the stock camp crew including Alex Laurisson,
Bill Heath, Tim Kilgour, Laura Moore, John
Alexandra and Will Laurisson. All have
worked hard and done their best. Well done
and thank you.
Kimberley heifers blocked up on Birrimba Plain
After a long dry season in 2014, livestock took
some time to recover. Heavy rainfall in
December/January left stock on very wet
ground and not doing well. However as things
dried out in February and March, stock
steamed ahead and then by the end of March
were in very good condition.
Jumbuck News Page 16
Billy Forrester has kept the 12G grader busy,
with his knowledge, understanding and passion
for the bush. He has done a great job grading
roads with plenty of effort and thought to
reduce the risk of erosion.
Thanks also to Angus [Plonk] Laurisson who
is out of the school room like a rat up a drain
pipe and on his horse to help whenever
possible. Thanks to Jules Laurisson for her
efforts teaching Angus and helping out when
Yarding up homestead yard
The stock camp crew have been well supported
by Logan Thomson, who has been kept busy
repairing and manufacturing various items
crucial to keeping the stock camp moving.
Having the ability to see what needs to be done
and then repair it or build it in good time and to
a high standard, is a great strength thanks
With Killarney shaping up to once again be a
very productive property, and cattle markets
stronger than we would ever have anticipated,
things are looking positive for beef producers.
We look forward to the challenges and
Michael Stanley, when not organising stock
and station crew, mustering, processing
weaners or carting cattle, has found the time to
repair vehicles, at times taking on some big
tasks well into the night to keep the show
rolling. Henvill Barroz has been kept busy
running waters, starting pumps, pulling bores,
repairing pipe lines and, when needed, on a
horse to help out with stock work. Dan
McCready, when not busy with stock work,
has put a lot of effort into repairing fences.
On the domestic front, Janet Dunn has
continued to keep everyone well fed, in
between times repairing clothes for the crew
and cutting hair. She has also done well
cooking out in the stock camp which is a first
for her. Crissy Barroz has worked hard to
keep gardens and the homestead complex
immaculate. Gemma Laurisson keeps the
station crew fed, ensures the stores are
ordered and assists with stock work, and has
supported me well with the challenges Killarney
Jumbuck News Page 17
Branding calves - Birrimba Yard
We concluded crutching with 26,000
sheep crutched and just over 1,500 long tails
marked during the duration of crutching.
Between the end of crutching and the start of
2015 shearing we have been able to move
ahead with some much need improvements.
We were able to erect a new 15 foot IZ
southern cross at Wombie tank, install a new
trough at Narilya bore sighting, rebuild Kiewa
yards and install new box section and hang
As I write we are currently in our fourth week
of shearing. The cuts are average on the grown
sheep but some areas are up and the majority
of the weaners are cutting well. We have at the
end of the third week just over 20,000 out with
just over 400 bales. The sheep are coming out
of the wool in fit order and are marching their
way back home.
This year we have a sale programme consisting
of just over 9,000 sheep. The sale prices have
been really great and the sheep have been
shorn well which make presenting easy. A big
chunk of our sale sheep have been young
weaners. We have been selling straight off the
board so we have been locking them in and
bring them back up with hay. This has proven
to be really successful for the long distance the
sheep have to travel.
The 2014/2015 wet seasons finished
early meaning country and feed has dried up
quick. A few small-scattered storms fell in May
and we are hoping for some mid-year rain to
help carry feed on for the remainder of the
year. Even with feed drying out earlier than
normal cattle are still in extremely good
condition and with lick supplement on its way
cattle should stay well conditioned.
With the wet season ending early it allowed us
to start our first round muster in mid-April and
for the first time complete the round before
July. This was also made possible by a top
team effort from all staff at Meda to stick to
Weaners Steers blocked up on a billabong
Prior to shearing we have had new staff arrive.
I would like to welcome our new permanents
Phillip Josling (our Pilot) Lilli Wigg and
Debra Dell (Cook) and our three backpackers;
Vincent Baldwin, Robin Howie and David
Meda and Blina Horsemanship School at Blina
Jumbuck News Page 18
Jo Zanker has done a good job in her first
year as Head stockwoman.
Daniel Groundwater, Chris Bowler and
Ashlee ‘Sugar Pig’ Morrow have been a big
assistance in being able to get as much as we
have done. Also well supported by the new
crew members Jasmine Lewis, Kirra Harvey
and Lizzy Bradley. The stock camp has been
getting well fed from our new Italian cook
Carlotta Caola. The rodeo and camp draft run
is almost here which will give the crew a welldeserved couple of weekends to have a good
break and a bit of fun.
Charlie and Billy Dean have also been a great
help with processing weaners. Billy’s poddy
riding career starts up at Fitzroy. Good Luck!
All in all the year has been a good one and
looks to stay the same for the year. Sale cattle
have been getting away at record prices with
more due to go this month with prices still
Ash riding ‘Bandicoot’
Since March we have most gratefully
received that extra rainfall we were starting to
look for and most dams are full. April saw good
falls totalling 90mm for the month, a further
15mm in May and more recently, 51mm last
week. Our current rainfall, six months into the
year, stands at 242.8mm.
The only downside to all of this is that our
driveway has been under water now for 10
weeks, and our fuel supplies are starting to get
low. As it is more than likely that our driveway
will not appear again until late August, a fuel
delivery is going to be the next hurdle we will
have to find a way around.
The trucking of both wool & sale sheep post
shearing may be another issue if the weather
doesn’t warm up and soak this water at least
off of the driveway.
Loading Weaners at Macaulay’s
Don Harris has been working hard keeping on
top of all things mechanical and few jobs on the
run. He has also been our fill in Mack driver to
finish off carting first round weaners both at
Meda and Blina.
As usual Kev Dean has been getting a lot of
jobs done around the run at Kimberley Downs.
Mel Armstrong has the homestead yard
looking immaculate and works hard to feed the
crew while weaners are on.
There’s a driveway under there somewhere
Jumbuck News Page 19
We commenced lamb tailing on May 25th, and
if not for the 51mm received last week which
grounded everyone for 3 days, we would be
finished. As I write, we only have two paddocks
left to complete. Emma Howie took leave
from her current job to come back and help us
with the tailing, but has now departed.
Percentages so far have been really good
amongst all breeding ewe ages, while the
maidens have been doing a little above 50%
this year. We expect the overall percentage to
be around 82%.
A pair of Black Swans has taken up residence in
our Lagoon since April, and last week we
watched them begin to build a nest. In the last
few days eggs have obviously been laid as one
has commenced sitting.
At the end of April & early May we took delivery
of ewe hoggets from Mulgathing and wether
hoggets from Commonwealth Hill & Rawlinna.
These were unloaded at Meadow Downs and
have been living the good life over there since.
Early this month, after some strong winds, we
had part of a tree fall on the power line near
the Meadow Downs house which disconnected
the power. SA Power networks happened to
have a work crew in Orroroo on the day that
we reported the problem, so the service was
able to be quickly reconnected. The wood has
come in handy for our fireplaces.
Black swans and ducks on McCoys Lagoon
Lagoon around the dam, taken from Woolly
Life is looking decidedly greener here at
Mobella and I am very happy to say we have
reached double figures on our rainfall tally for
the year which is 48mm. In May we just
sneaked up with 9mls on the 29th and received
another 20mls the following day which has
made life a bit easier.
Drizzling over McCoys Lagoon in April
Jumbuck News Page 20
The stock are finally off the waters at long last
which has enabled us to prepare for Lamb
marking. We have had a few more low
recordings however I am still hoping for a wet
July to keep the feed growing.
On the staff front we bid Finn McCauleyWassell a sad farewell as he has gone on to
travel the world before returning to go to
university, we wish him well on his endeavours.
Mobella crew on Finn’s last day…Jacinda, Tasha,
Naoki, Lachie, Mick, Kim, Finn, Joseph L & Joe R
Main road between the mine
and Jumbuck woolshed
I would like to welcome Joseph Laakmann
who has joined us from Adelaide in beautiful
SA. As a fellow South Aussie I can say we are
slowly taking over the world one station at a
time. At 17 and 6foot 3inches Joe is now chief
at getting things from high places for the
shorter people at Mobella (namely myself).
Next we have Jacinda Holman from Echunga,
also SA, who has come to learn the ropes and
so far she loves the life style but perhaps not
the cold mornings out on the bikes.
Our last newbie is Lachlan Dunn, also from
Adelaide, who had a look at Meda station on a
family holiday and thought he would give it a
go; luckily he came to the South Aussie capital
We are also very lucky to have Kim
Heinemann cooking for us. Kim joined Mobella
a few months back when partner Michael
Goldsworthy took over as Overseer and has
been keeping us well fed and looked after since
taking over the role of station cook.
For our lamb marking crew we welcome
Joseph Rawsley from England and Naoki
Takami from Japan, who are learning all the
ins and outs of lamb marking and sheep
Jumbuck News Page 21
What the crew lack in experience they certainly
make up for in enthusiasm and effort.
Sam Frisky is at the helm of our hired plane, a
Cessna 172, and in charge of scouring the
country side for our elusive ewes and lambs;
he is flying for Michael Whillas.
First Aid recovery positions
Prior to Lamb marking we have been busy
clearing fence lines in Princess for the fencing
contractor Don Paelchon who is going to
secure us a ram paddock so Commonwealth
Hill doesn’t have to babysit our rams when they
are not working. It will be fantastic to have our
boys safe and secured down at Princess when
they are not out earning their keep.
Lamb marking has started with us kicking off at
Two stone on the 22nd of June as dry as it has
been I am still hoping for a good percentage
overall, with a mustering and a marking team
going at the same time we are hoping to get
Our only social outing was a BBQ at Mulgathing
which was put on by the overseer Danielle
Goodwin to welcome the new managers Ian
and Edwina Matheson. A lovely night and
lots of fun was had by all.
Mobella crew nailing CPR for various sized children
The Mobella crew attended a senior first aid
course with Commonwealth Hill at their
shearer’s quarters where everyone refreshed
their first aid skills. It was spread over two
days and although learning was the main
exercise a lot of fun was had as well. Everyone
now has the peace of mind knowing that their
colleagues have the skills to help them if the
need should ever arise.
Mobella nailing the CPR with children of various
Mick, Joe, Kim, Lachie & George
George & Joe comparing bandages
Jumbuck News Page 22
The bull dust has turned to mud, with
50mm of rain over the last fortnight – this
taking the pressure off the waters. The lack of
wind over the last ten weeks has caused many
headaches – the windmills barely seem to have
turned in all this time. The seven day a week
commitment to the pump-jacks has been a trial
of endurance. We have scored some run-off,
with seven key dams filling, making the postshearing sheep placements somewhat easier –
but alas, the Homestead supply has failed to
catch. The season turning will add condition to
our lambs and sheep off-shears. It is great to
see the place start to lift after such a dry
I could be forgiven for thinking I am running a
train station rather than a sheep station, with
the coming and going of staff. This is in no way
a reflection of my disposition, but having work
experience people and people here for the
experience of outback Australia – Mount Victor
being a very good example of this.
Patrick Mahoney at Plumbago has slipped in
to the Overseers position with no fuss. Sarah
Simmons, who recently notched up two years
at Mount Victor, is showing her usual
dedication to task in her position as Overseer.
The weekly meetings on Tuesday nights are
proving to form a strong management team. I
wish to thank them both for their commitment
– it is a pleasure to work with them.
Sarah shearing a sheep
Josh Mahoney has left after six months to
return to school. It won’t be as much fun as
Mount Victor and doesn’t pay as well, Josh!
Nikita Whalley is showing good stock skills
and a great application to her work in the six
months she has been with us.
Will Leeder, Sarah & Nikita in the cattle yards
At the moment we are deep into lamb marking,
having finished at Mount Victor and moved to
Plumbago. The Mount Victor percentages have
been all over the place, with up to 107%, but
averaging out to 88% in the mature ewes, and
70% in the maidens. The majority of the lambs
are in a stronger than expected condition.
Jumbuck News Page 23
Kitty Stacpoole, from England, was with us
for eight weeks. She really stepped out of her
comfort zone, taking on whatever was placed
before her. I hope you take home a love of the
Last of all, Will Robinson is with us for just
this week for a crash experience before
heading back to England. Just as well, we’ve
got enough Will’s as it is!
With the abundance of backpackers, it’s try and
spot the Aussie at Mount Victor at the moment.
I wish to thank my team for their hard work,
and for those who have just started, I hope you
enjoy the experience.
Sarah & Nikita in the sheep yards
Liverpool, has signed on as cook and will go on
through shearing. He has a great upbeat
personality and is enjoying getting away from
the stove when he can and helping out on the
lamb marking cradle. He seems to be enjoying
every minute, in and out of the kitchen.
Kitty and friends
Will Stanistreet ‘the cook’ cuddling lambs
William Leeder joined us for ten weeks work
experience from Longerenong College, Victoria.
Talk about slave labour, we did relent and put
him on the books when we started lamb
marking. I hope you have enjoyed the
Kyle Fischer, a Canadian, who has just started
this week – talk about being thrown in the deep
end – will be going through shearing with us.
Jumbuck News Page 24
We shot a wild dog recently when it made the
mistake of walking past the yards where the
team were lamb marking, and proceeded to
chase a mob of weaners in the adjacent
paddock. It was great team effort to trail the
dog, without spooking it, with the bike while
the call went back to the Homestead for the ute
and rifle – this culminating in a successful shot,
causing much excitement for all involved
(including the neighbours listening over the
Harry Palmer has spent a bit of time at Mount
Victor lately, working on the grader that has
had a litany of problems over the last eight
The joke over the last few months, on me, is
that the Arkaroola pump jack, with its many
bouts of bad behaviour, has had more attention
than my wife (my wife not being amused by
Hello all, we are the Mathesons and we
are new to Mulgathing but not to Jumbuck. We
are very happy to be working again with the
company after a 9-year gap. We’ve been busy
plumbing, managing Sturtvale and raising 3
kids during our absence. We arrived in April to
a warm welcome from Danielle and the
Mulgathing crew. What an awesome effort was
made by all to help us unpack.
We could see straight away how dry it has been
here over the last 12 months but are happy to
report that we brought rain with us. Since our
arrival Mulgathing has received 50.6mm, this is
fantastic and we can now see some green feed
appear giving the ewes and their lambs a
Lamb marking is underway. We started on the
older ewes (orange tags) and have reached
expectations of an average of 90%. The ewes
are quite weak given the season they’ve had
but luckily they’ve been keeping their lambs.
Our lamb marking team Kat, Sean, Ben and
Mitch have been hard at it on the ground
mustering with our pilot Jamie, who has picked
up aerial mustering well. Our team leader
The Yunta races again saw a heavy
involvement of the Mount Victor team, Sarah
being Assistant Secretary and the rest of us
filling in spots where needed. Mount Victor had
control of the canteen for a major part of the
day. It was again a great event despite the
windy and wet start. The ANZAC tribute at the
end of the day was one of the most moving
that I have attended.
With lamb marking in its final weeks, with not
much of a break and on to shearing with the
new contractor Garry Wilkins (replacing Snow
Rowe), the immediate future looks busy –
which is a ridiculous thing to say, as on these
places it is always busy.
Danielle has been keeping it together with
regards to the difficult mustering due to the
rain and the weak ewes. Gayle has been
keeping the troops fed and watered well, we all
love Friday burger night. Our dogger Stuart is
hot on the trail of some wild dogs; we are
hoping for successful results soon and with
Stuart’s one of a kind enthusiasm I’m sure it
won’t be long. A massive thanks to all the crew
for all their effort.
We were able to attend a first aid course during
the first week of our arrival. It was most
beneficial to all and tailored really well to our
needs. Thanks to Peter and Irene at
Bulgunnia for hosting the event and your warm
hospitality was most appreciated, especially by
our 3 rug rats with Irene’s endless supply of
Jumbuck News Page 25
Hard at work on the cradle
Danielle’s birthday party the other week was a
great chance to meet the Mobella and
Commonwealth Hill crews. It’s good to be a
part of such a great community.
We hope the lamb marking percentages will
keep up with our expectations and the team’s
high spirits continue.
Mitch our slaughterman with Jamie the pilot
Sean, Mitch, Kat, Max, Ben, Winsome, Danielle, Jamie & Sam
Jumbuck News Page 26
At the time of the last newsletter we
were still shearing so I was unable to give a
final account of ourselves. In the end we
finished shearing on the 25th April with 64,959
sheep shorn and 1,649 bales pressed. After 10
weeks it was good to have shearing behind us.
Lamb marking has just started, and with 46
paddocks of breeding ewes the race is on to
complete this task as quickly as possible. To
date we have marked 3,916 lambs from 4,410
ewes, and while it is only early days, the
expectation is that we should end up with a
good result. This year, with so many breeding
ewes, we are marking with two cradles side by
side. This is something I have not been
associated with since 1988, when Murray
McQuie was managing Rawlinna and I was
firmly planted on a Yamaha AG 175!
Rawlinna’s amazing run of seasons seems to be
coming to an end. For the first time in years I
notice that the ewes are putting everything into
their lambs, and while the lambs look great,
the ewes are looking more like stores than fats.
We still have a great covering of dry feed and
some greenery hidden in it, but nothing like the
previous three years.
Post shearing we waved goodbye to yet
another wave of terrific young back packers
and pilot. In their place, we have a new crop
being trained up in the art of lamb marking and
mustering. The new back packers include
Gidzinski, from the USA, Johnathan Jones is
our new resident Welshman and German
couple, Andre Bernert and Nele Schuck, who
have completed just two weeks at the time of
writing this article.
Droving on Rawlinna
We also have some full timers who have joined
our ranks. They include Courtney Guthrie,
Sarah White, Ben Kuhrt and Jack Burden.
As always, we wish all of these new employees
the very best for their time with Jumbuck.
Jumbuck News Page 27
Josie Lane, Nele Schuck, Courtney Guthrie, John
Jones, Veronika Hartmeier, Andre Bernert, Jack
Burden, Sarah White and Michael Gidzinski
JHM emptying a rain gauge at Nightshade Hut
Overseers Dennis Nash & Mike Hunt
Stock camp & coming in to land
Map showing Jumbuck Pastoral’s stations across Australia
Jumbuck News Page 28
We have already had successful placements through our new staff referral system so thank you
to those spreading the word and please continue to do so if you know someone who may be the
perfect candidate to work on one of Jumbuck’s stations.
Our first staff referral Joe Laakmann has been working as a station hand at Mobella since 27th
March 2015 after he was referred by Jennifer from Jumbuck House.
Below is some excellent feedback from Joe and his manager Tasha about Joe’s experience so
Joe, how are you finding Mobella and station work?
It’s good, I really enjoy the freedom and I am definitely loving the lifestyle. Now I have been
here a couple months I am thinking I will do this work more long term than I originally thought I
would. When I started I was just going to see how it was and if I didn't like it head back to the
What have you learnt so far?
I have learnt heaps of things that I had not done before. I can fix broken pipes by myself now
(PVC and poly), I can drive the station truck a Toyota DA; I have been off-siding pulling bores
and drafting sheep in the yards. I have done a bit of droving sheep and trucking them out to
places, I have also worked with different people so I am learning the job but different ways to do
the same thing, different ways that sometimes are easier for me.
What do you enjoy at Mobella?
I am always doing something different, there are so many different jobs to do, I am now getting
a chance to go out and do things by myself, things that I have learned since I started here. I
have enjoyed learning my way around, there are no street signs at Mobella! If you don't pay
attention you don't know where you are or where you have been.
We have a movie night once a week, where we all go to the manager’s house and watch a
movie; it’s good to all get together when it’s not just for work, to have a laugh.
Tasha, how have you found Joe at Mobella and station work?
Joe is a good lad that has a great attitude on life which carries over to his work. It’s good to
know as a manager that the people coming out have a bit of an idea what it’s all about before
they get here; I think that the referral system is a great idea. Everyone is different but by having
some input and knowledge before arriving on station, especially the younger ones will give the
job a bit more of a go.
One of the great benefits of working with Jumbuck Pastoral is the fantastic training on offer! Not
only do we have opportunities for young people with a background in farming, we also employ
inexperienced ‘city’ kids. If you have the right attitude and aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty
you have the chance to develop skills that are hard to come by in your average job. Our station
managers and overseers do a brilliant job of training new permanent staff members, backpackers
and even work experience students. Training is done by learning on the job and also by
participating in recognised training courses such as the Certificate 3 Agricultural traineeships.
Practical workshop training is held for First Aid, workplace health and safety, low stress stock
handling and horsemanship. Most staff at McCoys Well and Mt Victor have completed chemical
certificate training and first aid within the past few months. Staff from Mobella, Commonwealth
Hill, Bulgunnia and Mulgathing recently attended first aid training and a positive experience was
had by everyone. Being confident to help with First Aid is an essential part of remote work when
medical assistance is not as easily accessible. The Meda, Blina and Killarney crews also
participated in horsemanship training school to begin their season.
Jumbuck News Page 29
A huge Congratulations to Matthew & Melanie Haines on the
birth of their third child…
Their son Blake Wallace Haines was born
Monday 20th July 2015
Mel Armstrong from Kimberley
Downs was the winner of our March
newsletter competition where we
asked for suggestions for things to
add to our Facebook page.
Her winning entry was to share
recipes across stations which is a
fantastic idea – who doesn’t love
The recipe Mel submitted is Icecream Slice; this will go onto our
Facebook page shortly. If anyone
has recipes they would like to share
please do so and we will include
some on the page. The recipe with
the most likes will be included in the
1 packet malt biscuits
600ml thickened cream
1-2 tins condensed milk
Any chocolate you desire (mars bars, cherry ripe,
snickers etc.) chopped into small pieces.
Line a slice tin with baking paper then line with malt
Whip cream then add condensed milk
Mix together well as they will separate if not
Add chopped chocolate of choice and mix in
Pour mixture into slice tin and cover top of mix with
Freeze overnight then eat & enjoy!
Mel enjoying her new Akubra
Jumbuck News Page 30
Kelsey Adams, a student at Urrbrae Agricultural High School contacted us to complete work experience on a
Jumbuck Pastoral station. Richard Williams at Mt Victor happily took her on board in March 2015 and here’s
what she had to say about her experience:
Hi my name is Kelsey Adams and I'm a year 10 student at Urrbrae Agricultural High School. For the past
week I have been at Mt Victor Station near Yunta doing work experience. On arrival we met Richard and
Kerry Williams and their son Jack.
After talking to the Williams family about what was in store I was taken down to the station quarters where I
met Sarah. Sarah is a lovely person that took me under her wing and looked after me for the week. Sarah
was like a mother to me but she was also a best friend making lots of memories and having good times. After
setting up my room my mother left the property and my adventure began. Sarah gave me a tour of the
facilities, she let me settle in and find things. As station hands prepare their own meals on weekends, I went
into the kitchen and met Nikita. Nikita was a great source of information on studies, we also had a good chat
about cattle, as she has worked on cattle stations. After tea I met Sean. Sean was very good at providing
information about the job and about other stations. Sean is the current overseer but is leaving Mount Victor
The next morning I walked to the homestead with Nikita for breakfast, this is where the jobs for the day are
discussed at the table. I've had farming experience but this is the first time I have worked on property to this
scale and with merino sheep. I was worried I would not know what to do but Richard and the staff made me
feel at ease. Richard took me for the first half of Monday morning collecting wool from around the Plumbago
side. After lunch I met Josh. Sarah showed us both how to press and pack the wool that we collected that
morning. It was nice just gathering information from Richard as well as doing the hands on work in the
On Tuesday I went with Sarah to the woolshed where we drafted sheep to be trucked back to their paddocks.
While Nikita trucked some ewes, Sarah and I tidied the wool shed and marked two ewe lambs which was
great. Sarah and I took a truck load of rams to Lily after lunch where we got a flat tyre that we had to change.
Then we got bogged in a sand creek on the way back which was a great learning experience, as I had never
been bogged before in a truck.
On Wednesday we did some odd jobs in the morning; changing tyres and cleaning the truck. Then Sarah and I
took some more rams to Lily, getting bogged in the same creek on the way in and out which was a great
lesson of persistence and patience. We also took ten rams to Rowett's paddock after lunch and fixed the back
door of the woolshed.
Thursday Sean took me out fencing along Morialpa with Josh, following on the ag bike doing the water run and
telling us where the fences needed fixing. The fences we fixed were floodways and general spots that had
been damaged by emus, kangaroos and goats. This was a good day as I learnt lots of different ways to fix
fences with different knots and strains. Cooking up chops and billy tea on a makeshift campfire for lunch was
fun and good to know how to do!
Friday morning Josh and I went out in the cruiser to start fencing when we got a flat tyre. We got all the nuts
off but one without a tyre iron so we had to radio for someone to bring us one, which Sean did. Another
lesson in ensuring you have any tools you may need on board before you leave the homestead. As both Josh
and I needed to leave the station early, we headed back to the homestead and Sarah and I fixed the tyre that
we popped that morning. It was interesting fixing the tyres on the station as they were split rim tyres that I
haven't worked with before. Once packed up we got in the truck to take a load of wool bales into Yunta for
auction. Once the bales were unloaded Sarah and I had lunch and then we met up with my mum for me to
I loved every single minute up on the station and would love to do it again. The people and the environment
up there is so amazing that I really didn't want to leave. The climate, the work and the conditions are hard but
I thoroughly enjoyed it and I get along with the system of the work very easily. I truly thank the Williams
family and the workers for having me up there for the week and teaching me everything.
I also would like to thank Jumbuck Pastoral Company for giving students like me an opportunity to do Work
Experience on their property; it really is an opportunity of a lifetime. I wold also like to thank Melissa Farbus
in Jumbuck Head Office for organising everything for me and keeping me updated with what was going on.
I have always been a beef cattle person but I thought I would give wool sheep a go and I think that was the
best decision I made. I would love to go up there again someday as I truly loved every bit of it.
Thank you, Kelsey Adams.
Jumbuck News Page 31