September, 30 2012
Port Hedland
Ketaki Sheth
Photography

Narelle

 

I like being isolated and I love the wide open spaces, I love the richness of the environment, the colours, and the country feel and people in town, the friendships I’ve made. This is a real place of opportunities if there’s something you are interested in, you can go out and create it, there is always support for your idea, people to support you, there is a good sense of community. Hopefully I will be here for the rest of my life and hopefully one of my kids will take over running the station.

I was born in Subiaco, in Western Australia. I grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, at the time it was semi-rural. I’d always been a pretty adventurous girl, and spent most of my youth in the bush around home.

I met my husband, Mark, through a friend at Pannawonica Rodeo. We were introduced; we talked on the phone and eventually, about three months later he asked me to come up on the station. I loved it instantly; it felt like home. That was in 2005.

De Grey Station is a cattle station; we breed Brahmin cattle and sell to the live export market and to local markets. We have just under a million acres. Our neighbouring station is Pardoo. We are 80 kilometres away from Hedland. We’re lucky: at the last station I worked on, Mount Elizabeth, we were eight hours from Derby so we had to get all of our food delivered by truck or mail plane.

Living on stations has taught me to live in the moment; each day is a different challenge, a different reward. I’m actively involved in helping run the family business, we have approximately 15 people who work for us in the mustering season. We have station hands who help with the mustering side of things, we use horses and motorbikes for mustering the cattle in, and my husband flies a helicopter. We have a cook who makes food for all the station staff, we generally have a mechanic and/or a boiler-maker, building yards, building gates, fixing things. It’s seasonal work, and generally goes from March until October every year, the rest of the time is too hot, or too wet. We work the cattle in the cooler months; it’s much nicer on the cattle as well.

I have three children, Luke is five, Grace is three, and Clare is one. Luke is enrolled in Port Hedland School of the Air that includes online lessons plus home tutoring, I do this, but I also have a Governess, a home help tutor. My Mum and Dad come up for three months of the year. I love horses, I’ve always worked with horses, I like the training and that side of it, we also breed Australian stock horses, they are what we use, they work cattle; they are very athletic.

In my spare time I paint and hold art camps here on the station once a year, I have a Diploma of Counselling incorporating Art Therapy. I completed 12 months of art lessons with local artist David Hooper and attend any workshops I can run by the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery. Art and riding horses is something that fulfils and rewards me which is important for busy mums. I love my life out here and sharing it with amazing people we meet along the way. This place is filled with opportunities if you are open to creating them.

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