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“What was it like working for Kidman? I’ve heard their staff turnover and retention rates are pretty bad,” asked Oscar Pooley, who says he works in agribusiness.

“It wasn’t that bad. The Channel Country stations had that problem because they’re so isolated from everywhere. You’d go mad working down in the channels out past Thargo, you would,” replied Miles Winslow, who also claims to work in agribusiness.

The pair, who turned their back on the desert way of life some time ago, have found themselves in the more cosmopolitan South-East in recent times – but they both agree it was a necessary evil.

As the divide between regional and urban Australia grows wider, they both realised that their dreams of making it big in this world couldn’t come true on a Western Queensland verandah; they had to push their boats out of the safe harbour of Betoota Heights and brave the sea of life – all the way down to Brisbane.

Before last night, they didn’t know each other – but they had mutual friends they knew from their time up north.

So they bonded over the only thing they could.

“We ran an absolute fuck this one day on the Cooper,” said Miles.

“Cattle going everywhere. Choppers clipping the top of gidgee trees. Blokes yelling into the radio every ten minutes for help.”

Oscar laughed knowingly and took a sip.

“All we had to do was push the bastards into a corner and get them going down the lane back to the yards. We tried putting a block on them but you would’ve needed a bloody light horse cavalry charge to put a bend in those bastards that day,” said Miles.

“We had the manager in the Cessna basically backfiring the 172 ontop them and nothing. One chopper pilot put a few rubbers into this ‘uge mickey bull on the lead and that only made things worse,”

“We got them in the end but fuck me roan, it was an absolute fuck, mate. You’d seldom see a bigger circus.”

Not wanting to ‘one-up’ the yarn but simply compliment it, Oscar took another sip before launching into a yarn from the Kimberly, where was for two seasons as a young man.

He thought long and carefully about which one he was going to tell before settling on an old favourite.

“So there was this one time out the back of the Ord near where the salt flats start,” said Oscar.

Despite not knowing where that was, Miles nodded and smiled as if to say ‘go on, what we are doing is great fun.’

“This big old bull, he had a 08 brand on him. A veritable pensioner, you’d say. Anyway, boorie, he kept leading the mob back into the push and wouldn’t take a bend. A real heady prick he was. So I’ve hooned up beside him on the XR650 and basically tried to put a bend in him with my size 11 Baxter and the bike itself. Long story short, mate, he’s not taken too kindly to me putting the boot into his right ear,”

Miles started peeling the label off his beer bottle in nervous excitement.

“So he’s come at me and thrown me off the bike and off into this big tree. So I’m picking myself up and the bull just comes at me, forces me up into this tree. I’m up in this Emu Apple tree watching this bull stomp on my bike and basically break the thing. I’ve called for a chopper to come help me out and he’s come over from the main mob and basically laughed at me,”

“It was a long day but we got them in the end, mate. It was a bit of a fuck, but yeah. Good times. Wish I could go back.”

The pair then paused to reflect for a moment before Oscar asked Miles if he wanted another beer.

More to come.


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