A year of discovery

Claire Sherry, “Wahroonga” Marlborough, graduated from RGS in 2019 and was weighing up whether to pursue university studies or have a gap year. Claire opted for the latter which reaffirmed her passion for the cattle industry. Below is Claire’s recollection of her 2020 gap year.

Every young ringer heading up north to work on a larger station has different expectations and feelings. For me, I learnt about learning about everything.”Claire Sherry, RGS 2019

“2020 was a massive full year of changes and challenges for everyone and it was certainly no different for me. In the middle of February, I packed up my bags and headed out west to start work as a station hand on Kynuna Station. Located 2 hours north of Winton, 180km south of Cloncurry and 120 km south west of Julia Creek; Kynuna Station is a 350,000-acre backgrounding property owned by The North Australian Pastoral Company (NAPCO) with the predominant role of fattening trade heifers before consignment to the company feedlot. 

Every young ringer heading up north to work on a larger station has different expectations and feelings. For me, I learnt about learning about everything. 

Having only 3 ringers in the stock camp and working alongside our manager I got to have a real go at everything. All our mustering was done on two wheelers due to the nature of the place so coming from a cattle property where we work on horses; its rest assured everyone got a good laugh out of working with me during the first few months of cattle work. We also did some tailing and walking away done on horses. 

One of my most memorable experiences from working at Kynuna was the capability of a small group of people who have their mind really set on a job. With just four of us we were able to handle mobs of up to a thousand or 1500 capably. Although, working on a cattle station is so much more than just the mustering, I learnt from my manager that the best ringers know how to do everything. Coming from a place where we have a lot of natural water sources such as dams and creeks, I got to learn about turkeys’ nests as a provider for water, how to improve outlets in the nests so the drinking quality of the water will be better for the cattle and the maintenance of bores. We butchered beasts for killers and 1080 baiting, sprayed for prickly acacia, fenced, pulled bores, welded rails and cut steel for projects around the station, processed and tailed thousands of weaners, completed a horse shoeing school and I even obtained a Certificate 3 in Agriculture and a Medium Rigid (MR) truck license throughout the year. 

For myself, I see my future in the cattle industry as this is my passion.

Currently I am home working with my family and it’s great to be back in Central Queensland and working with our cattle. For 2021, I have had my sights set on breaking in and preparing our bulls for Beef Week and would love to work with a few different cattle studs as well. I would love to head back up and work for NAPCO again as I enjoyed the difference in country and learning how to work with larger mobs of cattle and meeting so many new people. 

I would encourage anyone passionate about cattle and the agricultural industry to give it a go and head up north and experience a larger station, different country and ways of working and to challenge themselves"