Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Alexandria Station

Princess of the Barkly

Story and photos: Fiona Lake

Alexandria StationPitch dark, but suddenly wide awake. The generator has shattered the silence of the Barkly Tableland night.

Cook, Corina Mitrovic has been poking around quietly with a torch for 30 minutes, but now the fluorescent lights in the cook's wagon flicker on, lighting up fragments of the surrounding country.

The morning star glitters brightly in the still-dark eastern sky, hanging above the spot where the sun will rise an hour or more from now.

The bitter "Barkly Breeze" continues to gust fitfully, as it has all night, periodically rattling a loose sheet of iron, rustling the Mitchell grass and blowing up dust.

Muffled grunts of complaint come from the occupants of the swags scattered outside the shed. But in only moments every ringer is up and dressed, on their way to the usual 5 am breakfast.

Alexandria StationNeither words nor time are wasted as pannikins of tea are drunk and braised steak is eaten.

At 5.15 am head stockman Dave Hamilton lifts the heavy tuckerbox packed by the cook into the Toyota.

He calls out to the horse truck driver Allan Teagle "right to go?" and the vehicles head off towards the yards to load the day's horses.

Before sunrise everyone is 35 minutes drive away. Horses and motorbikes are unloaded and all is ready for another day's typical mustering on Alexandria. Story end

Full story Issue 9, February/March 2000

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