Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Far and away

Story and photos Ron and Viv Moon

Image"Look at those bulls," remarks Ian Smith, as he approaches a windmill where there's a mob of cattle at the water trough. "No wonder the young mickies get to the females before the herd bulls!"

The big bulls - four Brahmans that were among 105 head Ian brought in from Queensland 18 months ago - are lounging around under the shade of the sparse scrub, chewing their cud and taking no notice of the females around them. Out here, herd management is difficult at the best of times. Paddocks, if they exist, are vast.

One of the holding paddocks has 32km of fence line around it. And the bulls - the prize herd animals, along with young, stroppy 'mickies' that have missed the annual muster - run with the females and young and yearling cattle all year round.

"It makes it difficult," Ian admits "The Brahmans haven't been as successful as we wanted, but they do better than the Shorthorns that have historically been run on such places. They walk further and browse as well as graze. Mind you, I think we've lost a few to poisoning - there's more poison bush through this country than anyone has ever realised. I just wish they were a little keener in chasing the females - can bulls be gay?"

Situated at the western end of the Gunbarrel Highway in Western Australia, some 2000 travellers a year pass through Carnegie, the property 'furthest out' in this part of the west. Ian reckons his eastern-most paddock, that runs into the spinifex-covered dunes of the Gibson Desert, is the biggest in Australia.

With no boundary fence, it stretches north towards Halls Creek and east towards Ayers Rock! Story end

Full story: Issue 21, February / March 2002

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