Myella - Farm Stay Ranch

Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
Trip End Aug 14, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, May 16, 2009

16th May - Myella Farm Stay Ranch

To get an even better look at the real Australia, we spent a couple of days on a genuine cattle ranch. The ranch, Myella, is 1 hours drive west of Rockhampton & has been run as a "Farm Stay" ranch since 1993 by Peter & Olive Eather, a couple of old generation Australians whose ancestors were on nodding terms with Captain Cook.
I think Farm Stay is a crafty way of supplementing income from a farm -you get people to come to work on your ranch & then charge them for the privilege. They did, however, provide several amenities for our amusement which included horse riding, motorbike riding, cows to milk, kangaroos to watch & lots of red dust to choke on. They also provide shirts, jeans, boots & cowboy hats to save our own clothes - most useful.

There was a good mixture of guests, a few Brits, three young Dutch girls, a young Germans couple & a French family. There were also some other guests on the ranch, a sorry pair of parrots - one called Harry who had no feathers due to a disease, the other one, a pink parrot called Floyd (what else?) who couldn't fly. Floyd could say a few words in Australian - I couldn't understand any of them. They were of course, spoilt rotten by all the guests.

We arrived the day after the cattle auction where Peter had bought 100 Brahman-cross cattle; these now had to be branded. The process is fairly barbaric, each animal is funnelled into a narrow stall where its head is clamped. The cowhand (or in this case, a guest) then branded the hide with an iron, hot from a gas burner, while others inoculated & tagged the beast. We were told that this process was stressful for the animals as they have had little previous contact with humans (not as stressful as being branded with a red hot iron, I bet).
They buy 2 year old cattle for AU$250, fatten them up for a year then sell them for AU$500, not bad eh ?

After the branding, the guests were invited to saddle up & help herd the cattle to the far side of the ranch. One group led the cattle whilst my group rode behind to discourage them from turning back. We delivered them expertly - actually, it was because both cows & horses are herd animals & like to keep in groups, so it was easy to keep them together.

In the afternoon some of the others rode motorbikes, but they didn't have any left-handed bikes so Barbara & I bounced around in the back of a 4WD truck touring the ranch to feed the horses that were currently "on holiday". We were shown the nest of a Red Back spider - they are so small, their body is about the size of a match head - they are deadly, but only if they bite you!
We were taken to see "Shrek", their Brahman bull, in his compound with his harem. We also saw the cow graveyard where they dispatch the old cattle that are past their sell-by date.

When we returned there were various activities to pursue. Barbara had a go at milking a cow. I tried my hand at cracking a leather whip, I ended up black & blue from whipping myself & I never did manage a decent "crack". Others tried lassoing, which seemed difficult with two hands - impossible with one.
They also had several Didgeridoos to try - none of them worked !
Did you know that the Aboriginals don't hollow out Didgeridoos as they don't have the proper tools - they just select tree branches that have been hollowed out by termites - cunning eh.

The evenings at Myella were a bit quiet - after dinner, most guests chatted for a little while, but went to bed at about 8:30 as they had to be up early to get their own breakfast by 7:15.
The next day those guests without sore bums, went riding again right around the ranch - it took over 3 hours. My horse (speckles) fancied one of the mares & would just follow her about, no matter what I did. The only way I could get any control was to set off ahead of the mare.
The group leader set us a little competition, she timed us riding our horses around a triangular course of oil drums. I managed to get my horse round the first drum, then he saw his mare & trotted straight back to the group. So I cheated, I waited until the girl on the mare set off, then got my horse to follow & we trotted round after her - sorted !

On our ride through the bush we saw lots of groups of kangaroos, they were not frightened & seemed more curious about us than we were about them.
All in all, we had a thoroughly good time.
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holly08121 on

P Smith
You are becoming very good cowboy! Sounds like lots of fun.

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