Initially he got a job on a property in remote Queensland. Later he went to work at Jubilee Downs Cattle Station in the Kimberley’s. He enjoyed the lifestyle so much that when he returned home his goal was to buy a property.
He wasn’t interested in 300 or 400 acres. What he wanted was at least a couple of thousand acres. Eventually he heard of a 2000 plus acre property for sale in the Inverell region of NSW. Having inspected it he decided ‘It would do’.
He worked out a business plan, went to the bank and applied for a loan which was approved.
He was then the proud owner of over 2000 acres of land with no machinery or stock. He needed to keep working in the city to accumulate some money before he could move onto his property.
In the meantime he asked his retired parents to move onto the property to do some renovations to the homestead, which they did.
A Landmark agent noticed that there was no stock on the property and called to see if the owner was interested in agisting the land, which Stephen wasn’t inclined to do. After talking to the Agent, Stephen’s parents decided to buy 500 merino ewes and 5 merino rams.
Stephen considered himself a cattleman so he wasn’t very impressed with sheep, but there wasn’t anything he could say to his parents especially when they were doing him a favour by updating the house.
In due course it was shearing time. This was a steep learning curve. Shearers had to be sourced. A wool press and wool bags had to be purchased. Luckily one of the neighbours was a wool classer and he volunteered to help. The sheep had to be rounded up and brought in. Finding 505 sheep on 2000 acres is not an easy task.
Meals were to be provided by the owners and the big surpise was they had to be provided exactly on time. There are very strict rules when shearing. No one can commence to shear a sheep if it cannot be finished before the rigidly set meal time. They all take their tallies very seriously.
When the shearing had finished there was a great feeling of camaraderie. Despite the stress organising the shearing, the equipment and a truck to take the bales of wool in the wool sales it was a wonderful experience and even better when the cheque for the wool arrived. Stephen decided it was advantageous to keep sheep.
The oldies weren’t so silly after all.
March 27 2017