Just chit chat

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 11:28
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Hi all,
Thanks to all who replied to the last post. Nothing but chit chat this time. Thought I'd start a new one as we have slipped of the first page now. I laughed at your comment Sandy & Steve! Years and year's back when one of the games were on we had another huge wild fire and just stopped it at the airstrip a couple of km from the house. It took out half the North Kimberley BUT very luckily we got some unexpected storms almost right after.
For weeks the fires didn't rate a mention as they had other news. By this time we had some nice green pick returning from the rain and things looked so much better. Suddenly the media needed news and hit on the fires, the phone went from 5 am to 10 pm. They wanted to know if I was looking at black devastation etc. I explained it was long gone & how lucky we had been with rain and how we had stopped it a couple of km away so NO were never in danger and NO it couldn't be seen from the house etc etc. I even said that I hoped they were not going to print any rubbish as I have been caught so many times I am wary of newspaper reporters.
The headline read,
Stricken Pastoralist watches blaze approach.

No joke, it was amazing, like it was happening that very day, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Just because of where we live we have been involved several times with news in some form or another and honestly having known the real story then read the paper and what was in the paper was such a load of garbage that we mostly won't talk to them anymore.
Has made me a tad cynical about most things I read in the news as if it's all as far off base as what we were involved in, then most is a load of rubbish!

Images like they put on the TV last night happen every wet season. Yes Wyndham did cop it heavy this time but I don't think they got as much over the two days as fell on Emma Gorge last year when it got washed down the creek. We have had the Drysdale 3 km wide here and the homestead is 1.6 km from the river and it has come up to the door of the staff quarters which is only 150m behind the homestead. It isn't flat ground either we are up quite a slope so that is huge, this time it fell where people could get footage of it, so much more interesting!
What causes the most damage and makes the largest floods is when it falls real fast like their over 200 mm in one day stuff. We personally have had a good wet out here in the sense that most days it wasn't huge rain so it had time to soak in a bit, not just all run off.
The story goes that when they built this place they arrived with the building materials went down to the nice bank above the river and started to unload the gear, luckily someone looked up and saw a log jammed almost in the top of one of the trees and they decided that right there was perhaps not a good place to build!
This time we haven't had any of those huge in one day falls so even though it is flooded the river isn't as high as we have seen it several other times, so yes thanks we are fine, no problems at all.
Be nice if the mail plane makes it today though, it couldn't make it last Friday and daughter who was on her way home has been stuck in town for a week and also we could do with some fresh foodstuff. Got plenty to eat, just things like a lettuce would be handy.
It has left to do the run this morning but which places it can land at or not will depend upon if we happen to be getting a storm when he gets near us or not. Daughter will not be happy after waiting the week if he gets within 50 km of us and has to pass on to the next place and miss us! She would have to do the whole run all the way round the North Kimberely back to Kununurra and then wait till Friday for the next chance. It is clearer today but we are still getting passing bands of rain.
I am sorry you have had such a nasty one Ruth, we needed this badly after last year as even though we did get rain it wasn't nearly enough as all the plants and underground springs etc are all attuned to & need the large quantity we normally get. If we get 2 or 3 very small wets in a row all the springs etc stop flowing and the good long wet will help recovery after the fires as well. I feel for you as it is quite heartbreaking when you lose trees as they take so long to replace! We have a good bore now but in the early days we only pumped from the river and on a dry year we'd be left with a 15 km long bed of just sand all near the homestead. John would dig a hole in the sand and we'd get seepage into the hole, then have to pump the little we could get and filter the dirty sludge so we could drink it. Was terrible and on those years I'd lose almost all my garden as there wasn't enough water for us, never mind the garden.
We have so much now compared to 20 years back, better power, better water,. A phone and pop on the net and talk to people in an instant. When we came here there were no phones RFDS radio only and you were limited to 3 min calls and anyone with a radio from almost Hedland into the NT could here every word said. Due to the huge number of people waiting to make calls they gave one warning your 3 mins was almost up then if you didn't sign off they simply flicked the switch and just cut your call off !
I am glad I experienced it though, it was the end of an era when the local radio base closed. Even though you may have never met some other people in the area you still ' knew ' of them and who they were because of the radio.
The School of the Air kids news used to be a classic, out of the mouths of babes, used to happen all the time. I remember one little boy gave a detailed description of how he went with Dad to get a killer (a beast for station meat). They went down this track, over a hill, through a hole in a fence, down a valley by a creek etc etc. Only problem was the young man just gave a detailed account heard by all and sundry of how Dad snuck in and pinched the animal from the next door station !

Enough gossip, must work, cheers, Anne

Drysdale River Station

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Reply By: maroni - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 12:37

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 12:37
hi there anne, so nice to read your story, ilive on a farm in the great southern and though we are both live on the land sometimes things are so different and yet i can relate to a lot of things that happen in the north, we i first got married and moved from perth to the farm, there was a drought on here so no flushing the toilet unless it was a fax!!slao no garden as my husband was too busy carting water for the stock, the garden just had too look after itself and just enough for the house, one bath , me first then the dirty husband in next. i wondered what had happened to me and what was i doing out here with no water and ofcourse no power, could only turn the generator on at night as you didn't like to use too deisel in those days ah the list goes on...but i was still only 30 kms from town and only 3 hours from perth, so not as so bad off..how things have changed.
the thing is today the young guys of today are having trouble finding girls want to live out in the sticks so to speak..we had the pleasure of staying at your station the year before last and i remember your phone in the fridge...and your lovley daughter telling us all about your station over a nice cold beer.
cheers for now
helen maroni
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Follow Up By: Anne from Drysdale River Station - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 19:15

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 19:15
Hi Helen,
Many years ago our water pump died and it took 10 days to get another. You have no concept of how much water a household uses (a toilet uses a heap) or how often you turn on a tap till you have no running water !
We used to go down the river and bucket by bucket into a funnel fill a 44 for general water plus 2 X 20 ltrs drinking containers, woe betide the person who wasn't careful with it.
Now we carry a spare bore pump but couldn't afford to do so back then and anyway it was a huge lister down at the river in those days that could pump it the 1.6 km.
A few years back the bore pump was on but no water going in the tank, we only realised when the tank went dry. It was right around 5.30 ( peak shower time) right in the busy season. John was not here, the mechanic was up the road at a breakdown so we have 2 women who wouldn't know one end of a pump from the other running around trying to find the problem. It seemed to be running but we sure as hell wern't getting any water. I even had a German gentleman wander over in his towel from the shower asking when it would be fixed as he was under the shower when it ran out !. I was in panic mode as we are chocker full of people and they all want a shower. One lady gave me a real serve about how it just wasn't good enough etc, she was not happy.
I finally managed to get John on a friends sat phone, explained all it was and wasn't doing. John put his finger on the problem and the mechanic arrived back from up the road so they talked and half an hour later he got it to go again. I was pretty relieved about that.
Your letter made me smile because I also remember how I felt about the lack of everything the first year here, now 20 years later I feel there is no lack of anything.
cheers, Anne
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Reply By: greydemon - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 12:51

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 12:51
Thanks for this Anne, stuck in an office in the city I like to jump into the forum while having a coffee break so that I can escape to the bush for a few minutes. Your post has taken me right back to your beergarden which I visited a couple of years ago, several days after running out of beer. Also on that trip, on the way back from Mitchell Falls I passed a smallish bushfire which had brought a tree down across the road. I was able to drive around it but about 5 kms down the track I decided that I shouldn't leave it there as it was near a bend and would be dangerous after dark so I went back and pulled it off the road. As a reward for my labours I ran out of fuel 50 metres up your driveway! My jerries were empty but I had a 10 litre emergency can right at the back of the camper trailer - easy to reach once I had unpacked absoloootly everything! A second visit to the beer garden made things better.

Camping at King Edward River my wife calmly pointed out to me that I was sharing my swimming hole with two large brown snakes. After becoming the second man to walk on water we watched them emerge from the other side and enjoy a frantic ten minutes mating (the snakes, not us). I couldn't see if they had a cigarette afterwards.

Also at around this time I was forced to improve my camp oven cooking skills for two days when we ran out of gas. A roast with all the trimmings and a sponge pudding were produced to great aclaim. Later I found that I need to learn the difference between running put of gas and a simple blocked jet.

One day we will get back there - one Powerball .....

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Follow Up By: Anne from Drysdale River Station - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 19:30

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 19:30
That is funny, well written! The boys out muster camp would like you if you can produce that over a camp fire.
The powerball sounds good, John reckons he'd buy a decent boat and go live on it full time. As I love boats and fishing and much to my disgust also get seasick ( constantly ) I am not so sure about that plan.
One night out muster camp a 6 ft King brown wandered right through the center of the camp, a lot of blokes who were sitting around the fire moved in a lot of different directions pretty quickly.
cheers, Anne
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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 12:56

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 12:56
Hi Anne,

Great news on the rain and I’m sure it was needed. That fire that swept through the Mitchell area last year will all seem like a memory with so much rain and greenery to replace the charcoal black landscape. I know you have said that it is so much easier now then back then and in a lot of respects that is certainly the case but mother nature can certainly make you feel isolated I’m sure. A lack of rain last year seemed to make life tough and a lot of rain this year just serves to remind us how isolated you really are. And whilst we in the cities might want to complain about some crappy service we get here and there we can buy a lettuce whenever we want. Your story really helps to put the situation into perspective and thanks for sharing. BTW that little kid in the story wasn’t a neighbour of yours by any chance? Hope you have a great season and maybe catch up again in a few years.

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Anne from Drysdale River Station - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 18:44

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 18:44
No that one wasn't us but another time Joanna did a good one. She was only about age 5 from memory.
We had been to the station down the road for a meeting, John had to fly to Kununurra the following day and there was plenty spare room on the plane. The neighours sister was due to have a baby in Kununurra and the neighbour wanted to go to town for a few days to visit her but they did not have a spare vehicle for her to drive in. So she got a lift home with us from the meeting, then the next morning the plane arrived and collcted her and my hubby and off they went to town.

Joanna's news was,
Daddy and Mrs XXXX have got on a plane and gone off together, I don't know where they have gone and I don't know when they are coming back.

All depends how you interpret it doesn't it !
It got a good laugh anyway. cheers, Anne
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Reply By: maroni - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 19:34

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 19:34
hi there anne, water pumps why do they break down when you have a house full of people, always happens here as well or the bloody house tank is empty.yeah my kids laugh at us when we try to explain the old lighting plant and kero fridges and gas bottle running out half way thru cooking sunday roast...having to light the wood stove during the middle of summer so that you can have a nice hot shower at night, but the bloody kitchen as hot as hell.what a blessing the old solar hart is.
and thoo think i am only 49, can imagine would our parents had to do!!
well is is so could to chat with you
cheers for now
h
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Reply By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 19:59

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 19:59
Great read Anne. We take so much for granted now - mains power, water, fridges, fresh lettuce (here speaks someone who can't live without fresh beans and shallots and hasn't had either for 6 weeks). Loved the story about the little boy and the School of the Air - doesn't that ring true!
You are probably feeling Cyclone Glenda now also - Flloyd must have disappeared - but I've been busy today and haven't been keeping a check on the weather. Keep mowing and look forward to a good season.
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Reply By: Footloose - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 20:01

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 20:01
Hi Anne and thanks for making the time to make me smile. The killer, the snake, your little girls stories, all made me grin. Good stuff.
The only stations I ever really spent time at (and not a lot of time I hasten to add) were in the era you spoke of, the bush telegraph era. I simply can't imagine life on a modern station, life must be so much better for you. Not easy, just better.
You other halves fantasy about living on a boat. I was the welcoming committee for a round the world sailor (with a female crew :) years ago. I asked him what was the most dangerous part?...."all of it". What was the best part ? "Getting safely back onto dry land !".
I know exactly what you mean about the press, but it sometimes had a funny side. A cop I know loved the press . Why ? When he was just a probationary constable they ran a story that promoted him to Inspector. His superiors weren't impressed but he still smiles at the story.
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Reply By: vivvie - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 20:30

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 20:30
Dear Anne,
In 2001 our vehicle broke down about twenty kms from Drysdale. We were towed there and had to wait two days for the truck to come from Kununurra to take us in for repairs. Our stay with you was made so enjoyable by everyone and instead of it being a sad and worrying part of our trip it became one of our happiest memories. We canoed on the river, ate hamburgers which are the best ever and got to talk to all the travellers passing through.

One group of young blokes were in much the same predicament as us except that their vehicle was not worth repairing. They were pretty sad and sorry. Just before we left we emptied our food boxes and fridge and gave the food to them. I'll never forget the sight of them hoeing into it as we left. The funny ending to this is that we were out that night in Kununurra having a meal when in they walked. Seems they had phoned parents, received funds and caught the plane in!! In fact they probably got there quicker than we did!!

That year we were making our second attempt to get to Mitchell Falls. The first one ended when the friends we were travelling with had car trouble and we decided not to attempt the trip. The second is the story above. So now I'm hoping that this year is third time lucky. We hope to be there in middle to late August and hope that this good wet season means that there will still be lots of water around in the falls etc. We look forward to calling in and seeing you all at Drysdale.

Thanks for all your letters to the forum. They make us all realise how much difference there is in the ways and places people live. We live in the Mallee of Victoria and right now we could really do with some lovely soaking rain.
AnswerID: 163516

Reply By: GQ Greg - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 21:58

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 21:58
G'day Anne,

Just read your last couple of posts, looks like murphy's law at work as usual, whatever can, will go wrong. in your case your daughter and staff cant get in. After recently spending 2 years working on Barrow Island i was usually more concerened that i would be trapped at work until the cyclone had passed and we could get the next shift back in and the power back on! Generally hoped i would finish my shift and get out but i was not generally that lucky.

Well all things being equal my partner Renae & I will be coming to visit you around 28-30th ish of May so i'm hoping the rains & cyclones end soon! Is it just me or is the cyclone season getting later? I'm hoping to be able to top up the petrol Patrol up your way! thirsty beast it is! Well we will have to give you a call in a month or so to see how things are going! We are planning to start our trip on the GRR from the Derby end on the 23rd May so hoping all is well by then. What was that about est laid plans and murphy's law? Just dislocated my shoulder yesterday! ouch! should be right by then! Had better be holidays are booked!!!

Well hope things are going Ok, look forward to meeting you!

Regards,

Greg
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