Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


21st century pioneers

Story and photos John Denman

Image Another long day is almost over on Kendall River Station. The last of the late afternoon sun is fading through the dust from the yards and there's a fire in the "donkey" for showers.

One by one everybody - from the contract musterers blokes to the boss - gets a shower, some clean gear and a cold stubby. They sit back in the chairs around the table in the kitchen and the talk turns to the events of the day. Owner, John Bock, takes a good swig from his stubby and turns to one of the contractors.

"What'd y'get today Alan?" The bloke tells him and Bocky grunts. "Not bad." Later in the evening Bob Argent gets out his clarinet, and Stranger on the Shore provides an unlikely diversion on a warm dry season evening.

At 1200 square miles, or 888,000 acres (nobody talks about hectares there), Kendall River Station, half way up the western aside of Cape York Peninsula, may not be the area's biggest, but it's big enough for this country with an almost unlimited water supply and no lack of feed. The main problem is mustering.

ImageOne of the very things that makes Kendall River attractive is also one of the things that can hamper mustering: the cattle can take their pick of any amount of watering points and it takes every ounce of skill available to pull decent figures from each muster.
The Bocks have owned Kendall River since 1986.

Between the early 1980s and late 1990s it was de-stocked in the course of the northern tuberculosis and brucellosis eradication campaign. John Bock took over a property that had virtually nothing in the way of improvements - no roads, yards or buildings.

As a start he shot all the rough feral cattle he encountered, sold any half-decent Peninsular Reds he found and bought in some good quality Brahman breeders. Story end

Full story: Issue 20, December 01 / January 02

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