Monday, May 16, 2011

Unexpected Treasure

As we are travelling, we constantly look forward to the next place we are headed. Sometimes an unexpected turn can change things around, lead us into unexpected places and unite us with people we may never have met.

In September 2010 we met , unexpectedly, the Sullivan family from Cave Creek, a cattle station near Mataranka, NT. During discussions with Sally Sullivan, we introduced the idea of returning this year (2011). Sally told us to let her know an approximate time for our imminent return, and she would “Try to line up some work for you.” When we rang Cave Creek at the end of May, Sally sent an email to some of her friends, and lined up two additional cattle stations that require electrical work, as well as her own jobs.

We felt welcome from the moment we arrived, with Mum and Dad in tow. The kids made themselves at home immediately, and we met some new members of the Sullivan family. The patriarch of the family is Jim Sullivan. His brother Don, and daughter Rosemary were staying at the property during our visit. It was also great to meet Jims’ wife, Barb, who was away during our first visit. The Waterhouse River runs through Cave Creek, but is still in flood after a record wet season, so we only managed a little fishing. P5166301

After the electrical job was completed, we moved everyone to Vermelha Station (near Larrimah) for another two days of electrical work. Veronica and Lindsay Elliot manage the property for the owners, and also extended typical country hospitality towards all of us. It was a pleasure to help people who truly appreciate your efforts, and remote properties find it very difficult to get tradesmen in to assist them.

As pleasant as it was to spend the last two weeks travelling from Mildura with Mum and Dad (another unexpected blessing), it was time to say goodbye as they headed for Townsville and we head for Hidden Valley, another cattle station. After 58km of dirt road down the Buchanan Highway, the 16km dirt driveway begins. The station is 40km long and 70km wide, and is home to the James family. David and Jenny are fantastic people, who did everything they could to make our stay pleasant. From a fantastic camping spot, to nightly BBQ’s and a lunch feast the day we left, nothing was too much trouble.

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We put a couple of yabbie pots in the dam and caught about a dozen redclaw, which we kept alive in a bucket until dinner on the last night. Leisl and Rosa followed Jenny everywhere, as she went mustering the cattle with her 13 dogs. Connor played with grandson James and would happily disappear from dawn until dusk, if allowed.  Josie was quite happy to settle into some schoolwork, but the other three found it very distracting to complete their work. In all, we spent a week at the station and loved every minute of it. The James family have begun planning jobs for next years visit…….

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I think if I could design the perfect trip, we might move from cattle station to cattle station all over the country. It is an ideal environment for raising children, relaxing, working hard, and enjoying a simplified life.

Love it!

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