Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


High, wide and handsome

Story Margrit Beemster
Photos Michael Griffin

ImageThe sun has yet to break the day, but already Cobungra Station's stockmen are in the saddle. Rising and falling in the distance are the sounds of cows calling to their calves, cracking stockwhips and voices urging the stock along.

An early morning mist that persists for most of the morning, muffles the sounds.

We are at the entrance to Sharpes, a holding paddock where the last of Cobungra's cattle to be moved to higher leasehold country for the summer have spent the night. In the low country the temperatures have been in the high 30s with unusual, energy-sapping humidity.

But here in the High Plains, at the home of Victoria's largest and highest cattle station, the morning air is cool, hinting at the occasional shower that later will wet the stockmen's backs as they move the cattle to Dinner Plain.

ImageThe trek is easy, only 20km or so - a gradual climb and the cattle hardly seem fussed by the riders and their dogs driving them along the great Alpine Way.

The stockmen's main concern is the increased number of cars and trucks travelling the road since it was sealed in 1998. "Some people don't understand how to drive through cattle," says Derek Faithfull, 23, who, with brother Tim, 24, and Terry Watt, work full-time for Cobungra Station that extends from near Omeo for 25km up to Dinner Plain.

"They stop and start tooting their horns. Or they get out and take pictures. The mob then splits and goes this way and that!" Story end

Full story: Issue 18, August/ September 2001

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