The diary of two travelers working in an outback roadhouse
What happens when two city kids, border-hipsters at that, head into regional Queensland, 200kms from civilisation for 8 weeks of flipping burgers for truckies and no internet connection? This is what…. Below is our diary of events, our reflections and musings for those interested (it’s a little long so our mum’s maybe the only people to read the whole thing – Hi Yvonne and Dora! – just toggle to the next page at the bottom to keep reading).
For those who just want the overview, we have made a simple little video that will only take a few minutes out of your life. Sadly our video editing skills are only mildly better than our cattle mustering skills, so please forgive the video quality. We sure had fun making it and think it reflects the great time that we had at Belyando Crossing. We hope that it also reflects our gratitude to the people of Belyando Crossing and everyone who made our stay such a memorable experience.
Day 8 at Belyando Crossing
20 November 2015
It feels impossible that today is day 8 here at Belyando Crossing. On the one hand it feels like we have been here for months and known the crew and regular customers for years, however on the other hand it feels like we just arrived yesterday and have not yet adjusted to the slow life here, the heat and the dryness of the land.
Rolling up on our first day at Belyando Crossing was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences we have had in a long time. We were more nervous getting out of the car here than I was getting in it when we first left Melbourne. We drove just over an hour from Townsville to Charters Towers and saw nothing but road-kill and the odd road train, and the view on the 200km drive from Charters Towers from Belyando Crossing was even sparser. Two hours of nothingness. There was a lot of road-kill and a few of the cars who had hit them left dumped on the side of the road, now looted by locals and burned out. The land out here is flat, long and dry. We saw dried creek beds all the way from Charters Towers to Belyando Crossing and thin cattle searching, without luck, for grass to graze on.
We watched Belyando Crossing appear on the horizon and held our breath. This place was going to be home for the next couple of months, at least… lets hope we like it! As far as Roadhouses go, Belyando is more welcoming and clean than you could ever dream. It’s not at all the boys club that we feared it might be. From the moment you step out of your car you’re greeted by friendly staff and locals and are made to feel at ease. This is good old fashioned country hospitality at its finest; a little rough around the edges, but you wouldn’t have it any other way.
We were introduced around, given the grand tour and shown where our room is. It all felt like a bit of a whirl-wind and after we unpacked the car we stood looking at each other. ‘What d’ya think?’. We both hoped that each other was as impressed as the other. ‘I think we can survive three months here’. And it was settled. We were staying.
Day 17 at Belyando Crossing
29 November 2015
It’s a balmy Sunday afternoon here at Belyando Crossing. The mercury hit 47 degrees four days this week and I think today is pretty close to reaching that again. Every day has been over 40. Last night we finished work at 9pm and it was still 35 degrees. It’s is HOT out here.
Having worked this morning we are both relaxing with an afternoon off. Relaxation at Belyando means that you’re either drinking in the bar and playing pool, reclining in your room under the air conditioner with a book or movie or icing yourself in the staff-pool, with a few drinks of course to aid in relaxation. It is far too hot to do anything else.
The work here is really quite enjoyable. Morning shifts start at 6am and see you cooking up giant breakfasts for the truckies, getting out the leaf blower to pretty up the place, cleaning the caravan park and public restrooms as well as flipping and cleaning any motel rooms that were occupied the night before. There are no real rush hours out here like you get in town. We are the only shop between Claremont and Charters Towers, two towns that are 380kms apart. So whenever people happen to pass by is when they have breakfast, lunch or dinner regardless of the time. During the day we flip a lot of burgers (which deserve a special shout out, they are some damn good burgers out here), cook a lot of chips, chicko rolls, meat pies and toasted sandwiches. We work the service station and book guests into the motel and caravan park. This is an all rounder job, which suits us just fine. As night falls you start to see some big dinner orders from both locals and truckies who are pulling in for the night. The bar opens up and gets going. Again, the bar is hit or miss as to whether you will be busy or not, there seems to be no rhyme or reason out here as to when and why you will have a busy day. It either happens or it doesn’t.
Despite sweating uncontrollably for at least 14 hours each day, we are enjoying our time out here more that we thought we might. The team who work the roadhouse are an incredible bunch of misfits and just our type of no bullshit hardworking people. We’re having a great time with them and are fitting into the run of the place nicely. We’ve had some time chat to the local station owners and ringers and get to know more about this part of Queensland. They are really struggling up here with the drought currently. However, despite the absolute lack of water, there are very few water restrictions and water-saving programs in place. It maybe the hard-knock culture up here, the ‘she’ll be right mate’-ness of Queensland, but local and State Government do not seem to be concerned enough about the drought to take big steps to remedy it. Everyone is relying on the wet season and the rumour that El Nino is meant to be breaking up early next year. Many of the local farmers, and even Mandy (the owner of Belyando Crossing and our amazing boss) herself will half joke half warn that if the rain does not come this year, then they wont be here next year. The roadhouse relies on only water from the Belyando River and rainwater. All drinking and cooking water is rainwater and all water for toilets, showers and washing is from the river. They tell me that the river has not flowed properly for years, it is currently puddles that the roadhouse pumps out of and filters the dirt from. These puddles used to be a deep enough river where you could swim and not touch the ground. Yesterday, John (our wonderful manger here at Belyando) walked across the whole thing and it only reached his chest. That is our entire water supply.
We’re all praying for rain.
Speaking of the locals, we were lucky enough to be taken out by one of the ringers from neighbouring property Mt Douglas last week. Victorian-born, Queensland-loving Damo works Mt Douglas with the station owner Donald. As of last week, a dozen or so of the cattle on Mt Douglas station are wearing branding that was done by two city kids from Melbourne. Some of them are clearer than others. Yep, we got to brand the cows and watch the guys cut off the calves horns and balls (shout out to all our veg and vegan friends out there – sorry for the imagery guys). We helped load the cows into the cattle trucks for transportation and learned how just how quickly we can run up a fence when an angry adolescent bull looks at you and flares it’s nostrils. We drove around the farm with Damo and released and collected cattle from different yards and generally just pretended to be farm kids for a morning. We even wore Akubras, so we are basically genuine cowgirls now. Isn’t that right Damo? (truth be told I think we were more there for entertainment than for any kind of assistance – if that was the case then we served our purpose well). The property is beautiful and there are pet cows wandering around the very pretty farmhouse and the yards. Donald tells us that it is magical in the wet season when the grass grows an you can sit and see everything come back to life, we’re hoping we get to see that happen soon.
We’re becoming accustomed to seeing road-trains and cattle trucks pull up out the front of the roadhouse. I still get excited at seeing cattle trucks. There is just something really cool about them. It’s best not to think about where the cows are headed off to though. It’s a bit of a mood dampner. A lot of the road trains that come through are hauling construction materials, mining equipment, fruit from the Atheron Tablelands, grain or cattle. Friday night however we had three oversized trucks pull up each carrying an army tank. The tanks were being relocated from Adelaide to Townsville and accompanying each truckie was an army officer who was also a tank driver. As the trucks pulled up we were all eying off the tanks, they are incredibly impressive pieces of machinery. The drivers and army boys settled into the bar for the night and made a good dent in the Belyando bar fridge. They were all nice guys, the army fellas outlasted the truckies and before they turned in for the night they offered us a tour of the tank. We were climbing on the tank as they told us about how they work, what each part does and a lot of info I did not understand about the firepower of the tanks. I did understand that they are accurate to 4kms. These tanks can hit a bouncing soccer ball from 4kms away. Absolutely nuts!
The army boys has told us earlier in the night that they have to sleep on top of the tanks because there is no room to sleep inside. We thought they were exaggerating or pulling our leg, but when we climbed on top, lay out was their swag and their towel drying over the gun. Poor blokes had to sleep on top of the tank during the move also incase anyone tried to get too close during the night. It didn’t seem to bother them, I’m sure they’ve slept in worse.
Day 20 at Belyando Crossing
2 December 2015
After watching a massive storm roll in 200kms south of here a few nights ago we now have dark clouds of our own in the sky. Tuesday night we watched a spectacular lightening show that lit up the sky. It dumped rain at Emerald (about 3 hours south of us), but nothing here. This is not the first time this has happened. Somehow Belyando Crossing is in a black hole for rain. It can rain in the east and west simultaneously, but we manage to not get a drop here. It’s still early days of summer and we have all of December and January to see the rain come, but it is a little scary to see the river getting lower and lower and us not getting any rain at all.
Day 30 at Belyando Crossing
12 December 2015
We had the adventure of a lifetime this week. We were invited to a muster with Donald and Damo at Mt Douglas station and get to not only ‘help’ the muster on the ground on a quad bike, but also fly in the muster helicopter and look for cows from the sky! We were up in the helicopter from 6am until about 8am and saw the sun getting stronger and higher over the paddocks. The muster helicopter was small, a 2 seater with no doors. The pilots can throw these small choppers around easily and get into the tree line if needed. It was incredible! The view was only surpassed by the feeling of being so free in the air. Having no doors on the helicopter meant that you felt the air passing through the cabin, the 360 views were astounding and the fact that the pilot sat with a rifle between our legs made the experience a lot more real that anything you could ever pay for. Side note – when Monique asked why we’re carrying the rifle, the pilot just said ‘just incase’. Incase of what?! We’re in the air! We found out son enough when Chili spotted a dingo from the chopper and the pilot asked her to shoot it. She looked at him as if he had two heads. She has never shot a gun and didn’t want the first time to be from a moving helicopter, aiming at an indigenous dog. You sure as hell do not get these opportunities if you stay on the tourist trail on the coast.
After the muster we watched as the guys draughted the cows. We had no idea what that meant, but soon learned that it involved sorting the cows into different paddocks. One for cows to sell, one for cows to keep, one for wet cows and their babies, one for bulls and any neighbouring property cows that have snuck into your paddocks and got mixed up in the muster. To do this, the cattle are corralled into a small fenced area of the yard, about 15 cows at a time. The property owner then released them one by one through a gate into a ringed areas where two ringers managed two gates each. As the property owner would release the cow, he would yell out which paddock it was going to and the ringers would open that specific gate. It took only about half an hour to get through what looked to be about 300 head of cattle, sorting them one by one. It was very fast and extremely impressive. There is no way that I would be putting myself in there with that many cows. Not a hope in hell mate.
All the action was over by 9am and we head back to Belyando Crossing to pack out bags for an overnight stay in Charters Towers – aka Town. We made the 200km drive to Charters Towers, walked a lap of the main street and grabbed a couple of bags of fresh fruit and veg (much missed at the roadhouse) and headed to the bosses house. Mandy, the owner of Belyando Crossing (aka world’s best boss) was kind enough to offer us her place to crash at in Charters Towers so that we did not have to drive up and back in the one day. Very kind – thank you Mandy! After getting up at 4.30am and the excitement of the muster that morning, we made ourselves a fruit and veg platter for dinner, ate it then passed out. We easily slept for over 10 hours that night.
Speaking of catching a few zzz’s… neither of us has ever slept as much as we do at Belyando Crossing. The combination of days consistently over 40 degrees and living the majority of our days under air conditioning have made us two sleepy little campers. We both have good days and sleepy days, the sleepy days are very slow and very, very sleepy. We can easily take afternoon naps then sleep for 8-10 hours at night. When the choices for away-from-work activities are reading a book in the air conditioned room and reading it in the sun that makes your sun sizzle and bake within 5 minutes, we will choose the air conditioning every time. Being Melbourne and Santiago kids, we’re not used to air conditioning and how it affects you and dries you out. We’re downing at least 3-5 liters of water a day and sleeping like we’re being kept away from a natural hibernation. It’s nuts!
I digress though, the muster and trip to Charters Towers were the best days off we have had here so far. The generosity of the people out here is overwhelming and it makes you realize how small your world can easily become in the city. We don’t tend to interact with others too much and you certainly don’t do these kinds of kind deeds for relative strangers. There are certainly things that these regional townships could learn from city slickers too, however the humanity of the bush, that good old country hospitality is something that us city kids will take away with us and implement into our everyday lives; be that in the city or outback Australia.
We are very much on a working holiday and are earning the money to keep travelling as we go. This means that we did not start with a lot of money and you don’t have to either. Want to know how we’re affording this lifestyle and how long we can keep it going for? Sign up to our mailing list for monthly updates, job opportunities that we see our personal income and expense reports
Day 34 at Belyando Crossing
16 December 2015
Its crazy how many customers have asked Monique where her accent is from, or assumed she is from England. She is born and bred Aussie, hailing from Melbourne – it’s just that we pronounce all the letters in all the words there.
Day 41 at Belyando Crossing
23 December 2015
All we want for Christmas is a cyclone.
Or at least the rain that comes along with the cyclone. All eyes at Belyando and surrounding regions are glued to the radar watching how the current low-pressure system will move through Far North Queensland and how far south the rain will fall. Current forecasts show that we should start to get the rain off the edge of this pressure system on Christmas eve, however the original forecast showed the cyclone exiting to the sea anywhere between Cairns and Mackay, this has been changed to between Cairns and Townsville now so we will not get the amount of rain first predicted. Every drop helps out here at the moment though.
The team at Belyando Crossing have had to close down the motel and caravan park for the meantime as we only have enough water to run the shop alone for another week, at a push. The water reserve in the river has completely dried up and water is on rations. Neighbouring properties have started to buy in water to fill up their person house tanks, and are bulk buying feed for their cattle over the Christmas & New Year period when a lot of trucks cannot fill short orders. They’re not predicting that the lands will green up for their cattle to graze on before 2016.
The situation out here is bad. One local property owner made the comment the other day that if it does not rain in the next 10 months there will be no cattle stations left out here. Serious stuff. There still does not seem to be all that many water saving measures being taken overall by the region however. We read in the paper the other week that 80% of Queensland is not drought declared. Queensland needs to start taking this seriously and implementing some serious water saving measures.
A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our loved ones back home. We managed to get out a few text messages from the truck pads up the road, however a phone call to Monique’s mum and dad proved just how bad the phone reception was. Sorry mum and dad – wish we could have chatted more at Christmas, lets just store up all the conversation for when we get back to civilisation next. So please forgive us if we did not manage to contact you for Christmas, we were thinking of you, it’s just that we’re very much out of phone reception.
In the 5 minutes that Monique was pacing the truck pad trying to get enough reception to call mum and dad for Christmas, she managed to get sunburnt. The sun out here is fierce! Five minutes is enough to make you feel woozy and your skin crispy like a rotisserie chicken. Most days over the last couple of weeks have averaged in the low 40’s to mid 40’s in the afternoon. The mornings are cooler, at about 30 degrees and it’s pleasant in the morning to drink your coffee outside and watch the kangaroos grazing on the green grass near the shop (this very much loved and pampered grass is the only spot of green within 100kms and the kangaroos have discovered it now and have to be shoo-ed off every morning so they don’t eat it bare). By 10am the sun has really warmed up and you want to be inside with your air-conditioning going for the rest of the day until the sun sets. The hottest part of the day is about 3-4pm, however after 6pm when the sun has gone, the temperate us very pleasant and you can be comfortable outside in shorts and a singlet. It’s only at this evening time every day that you can take a walk, eat a meal or do anything outside without breaking a sweat. Mind you this is also when the roos and emus come out, so walks are very short and not our of eye-shot of the roadhouse!
This sadly and ironically means that we are a lot less tanned and toned than we have been since we first started our Aussie road trip. We spend most of our time inside, which is new for us after living outdoors since July, and we are a lot more sedentary than we have been over the past 6 months. It’s simply too hot to go for a walk, certainly to go for a run, to work out or even think about working out. Working at the roadhouse also means that we don’t have the access that we did to fresh fruit and veg, but we are eating a lot more hamburgers, meat pies, eggs and bacon than…. well…. than I ever have to be honest. It’s just a side-effect of the heat and the location, and while I know that once we’re out of here, I will need to start running again to work it all off, I am enjoying the gluttony while it lasts.
Day 46 at Belyando Crossing
28 December 2015
RAIN!!!! We have rain!
Day 51 at Belyando Crossing
2 January 2016
The Belyando River is officially flowing!
Day 53 at Belyando Crossing
4 January 2016
After a very Belyando Christmas and New Year, we are starting off 2016 with an itch to get traveling again. We’re not sure that we can make it the whole 3 months in one place. We have learned that maybe 6 weeks is the max amount of time that we can last in one location, before we get the itch to be on the road again. We learned a similar thing on our first housesit, which was for 4 weeks. We do not want to take another housesit for that amount of time, 2 weeks is sufficient for us. Not we understand a little bit more about our working ways and ourselves and will not take another job for 3 months. It’s just too long for us to sit still for. It seems a good time for us to part ways with Belyando Crossing. It is has started to rain – hallelujah! (watch the video for the full effect) – and the tourist season is well and truly over. The roadhouse is very quiet, the caravan park is closed and the motel has very few guests.
We have had such a great time here and it is because we have learned so much about ourselves over the past 12 months that we can separate out our unhappiness is staying still and know that it is not unhappiness with our job. I don’t think that either one of us could have done that 12 months ago.
Yesterday I picked up the CAMPS 8 book (aka the bible) and started to flick through it and got excited at all the prospects.
It’s time for us to hit the road again.
Day 56 at Belyando Crossing
7 January 2016
The date is set for us to depart Belyando Crossing and today on our day off we made the big trip to Charters Towers to stock up on supplies for the next 10 days at Belyando. We had run out of chocolate and coconut milk so the trip was deemed a necessity. We spent the day lounging in the lovely grass (a novelty for us now) of the Centenary Gardens at Charters Towers and made the trip up the Charters Towers Hill for a panoramic of the town. Charters Towers is much, much smaller than we thought it was. We knew it was small but assumed that the housing around it would sprawl out for a while and into smaller suburbs. It does not.
It was nice to connect with the outside world again today, use our phones and the internet. However surprisingly for me anyway, has been that I have not missed these things too much at Belyando. What I have missed is reliable daily news broadcasts or newspapers. But I have not missed my phone or the internet too much. I know that Chili has struggled a little bit without her phone as she speaks to het family back home quite often, however she has thrown herself into the Game of Thrones books that have proved an amazing distraction. We’re looking forward to some light travelers conversation too.
We will miss however, the fact that on any given afternoon the boss and staff are always up for a game of pool and a drink. Last night was a prime example. We went down to the roadhouse on our afternoon off to have a chat with whoever was there (about the weather and the good old days) and wound up with a cider in hand, pool tournament underway and signing along country tunes of yesteryear. At about 10pm we grabbed our dinner to go and watched Mad Max in bed before falling asleep to the blissful noise and feel of the air conditioner. Most nights are like this at Belyando Crossing. There is such a nice family vibe to the place that it’s difficult to not get wrapped up in it. Mandy and John, the owner and manager respectively, have opened up their hearts and homes to us and included these two city kids with weird haircuts as part of the Belyando family for the last 56 days. It has been great and we will miss every single person here.
Speaking of the Belyando team, I’m going to tell you a little bit about them all. This being a sharing space where we tell stories, I think it is important that the ‘who and how’ of the Belyando crew are known outside of staff circles. A handful of travellers visiting the roadhouse each day will ask me where we live and how many people work out here. They are always shocked when I saw 8. I guess it must be surprising to turn up to a roadhouse 200kms from civilization and see so many people working there, and even more surprising that there are more women than men out here (a fact that we love). So may we present to you the Belyando Crossing crew, in all their glory and wisdom!
Mandy owns the roadhouse and has raised her two daughters between here and Charters Towers. Mandy and her then partner purchased the roadhouse together about 8 years ago, he managed it alone for a while and after he became ill and passed away she took over all the operations and has transformed it entirely. We have heard stories from travellers and truckies who passed through the roadhouse 5 or 10 years ago and cannot believe that it is the same place. Mandy has cleaned up the place, added a very nice bar, hired a great team of staff and renovated the reputation and clientele of the roadhouse in the past 5 years. She has done an amazing job, especially considering that so much has to be done in-house. Most tradies have a minimum call out fee of $500 to Belyando Crossing, just to quote on a job. So Mandy and her team have dug trenches, laid pipes, built additions to the property and transformed the place basically with their own hands. Such is Belyando that many of the locals have helped out from time to time. It is a credit to Mandy also that these people will take the time to work for free to assist her in her renovations. Her biggest helper of all though, has to be John. John (aka Johnnie) is Mandy’s right hand man and also her manager. Before landing himself this gig Johnnie worked at a local bar in Charters Towers. Word has it that when he first started at Belyando Johnnie could not tell you which was a Phillips head screwdriver and was fearful that his gentle nature would not go down well with the truckie clientele. Now the man is welding steel verandah posts, digging holes and fixing burst water pipes, pumping and flocking water for use by the roadhouse and motel, waging a constant war against the rat kangaroos and birds who feast out of the dump trailer and above all, has earned the respect of every truckie and local that visits Belyando Crossing. I had one local tell me that he thinks that Jonny is the most genuinely nice person he has ever met. We all feel the same way. In his Christmas speech to Mandy, Johnnie said words to the affect of ‘someone once told me never to go the extra mile to help out a boss, because they will never go the extra mile for you; but that’s not true with Mandy. She will and does do the extra mile for her staff, everyday.’ That fairly succinctly shows the relationship between Mandy and John.
If we’re working chronologically here, Nicky (aka Dipsy or Dips) would ne next. Dips has been at Belyando Crossing for about 5 years and worked both with Hog, Mandy’s late ex-partner and Mandy as owners. She has been at the roadhouse longer than Johnnie and will testify as to the great changes that have occurred under Johnnie and Mandy’s reign. Dips has well and truly earned the nickname Dipsy over the years and every local and truckie has a Dipsy story that they will happily share with you. To us however, Dips is a hard worker who treats the roadhouse as if it were her own. You have never seen someone care this much about their place of employment, or their employer. Dips would walk over hot coals if it would better this place. Actually, Dips would probably walk over hot coals just for the fun of it, or if you gave her a second glass of wine. In a place where vodka, rum and beer are drunk more than water, Dips stand out as having a very low tolerance to alcohol. She is an absolute sweetheart, who should probably not be allowed to drink or be allowed to hold an air rifle – she should certainly not be allowed to do these things together – and can cook up a mean T-Bone or corned beef.
Next in order would be Mel, who has been at Belyando for about 3 years. Mel ended up at Belyando Crossing after her and best friend Jade set off from their home in Bordertown, South Australia, in their camper van named Trevor for their Great Australian Roadtrip. Unfortunately Mel and Jade spent a little longer in Bordertown saying goodbye to friends and family than they had intended and all those nights took a tool on their travel budget (it happens to the best of us). However Mel and Jade’s travel budget had taken such a beating that by the time the arrived in Melbourne, via the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, they were broke. They searched online for jobs, found that Belyando was hiring, called Mandy and told her that they would be there soon to start work. The girls drove from Melbourne to Belyando… and that was 3 years ago. Both girls stayed here for sometime, then they shot off for a holiday and returned again to cash up, this pattern has repeated for Mel over the past few years. Jade has since taken work elsewhere in her profession as a nurse, however is still in contact with the Belyando crew. I should note here that Mel will be leaving Belyando mid this year to travel to the UK for up to a year – however we all know where she will be when she returns to Australia.
Having just celebrated 2 years at Belyando is the other male of the roadhouse, Terrence (aka T-Dawg). A local Charter Towers kid, Terrence is a young go-getter and equally as nice of a person a Johnnie is. At only 19 years old he is a quick as a whip, a smart ass, a hard-worker, a ladies man, a wise guy, a family man, a long-term boyfriend (sorry ladies) and the deputy manager for when Johnnie and Mandy are both not around. If Jonny’s Christmas speech was moving, Terrences was something else entirely. We will try to source the video of his speech from a local who filmed it because it was too good not to share and sums the kid up well. A big heart, a loud mouth and an attentive worker.
The newest member of the Belyando staff team is the probably the only person who has spent as much time here as Mandy; her daughter Mel (aka Bub). Bub is 18 and has been working at Belyando Crossing for one year now. As the bosses daughter, and someone who grew up at the roadhouse she knows the place inside and out and can be relied up for any bazaar historical info that travelers ask or the name of any truckie that walks in the door. Bub follows in the footsteps of her big sister Cassie who worked at the roadhouse briefly after high school before moving towards the bright lights of Townsville. Bub also has plans of breaking free from Belyando and is saving up her pennies to go out on her own. Bub has the most infectious smile and laugh and is very mature for her age. She went to boarding school in Charters Towers so has a great group of friends and contacts in town as well as out here in the sticks. Bub has a sweet tooth to rival my own and a presence that just calls you when she is in the room. Certainly a character, Bubs is set for great things.
So that is the team, add in the dog, Stanley (slowest, dopiest and most lovable dog in the world, after Senor Olaf, off course) and the cat, Bumpa (gummy fella who likes to sit at our doorstep) and you have the whole rag-tag bunch.
It has not been the great sunsets or the landscape that have made Belyando such a memorable experience for us, it has been the six people (and two animals) above. We cannot thank them enough for their kindness to us and we hope that now that you know a little more about each of these people, that you will treat them with the respect that they each deserve, you will understand that they all travel a long way each week to serve you in the middle of nowhere and know that they are a family who would do anything to help each other out. How many people can honestly say that about their workplace?
Day 58 at Belyando Crossing
09 January 2016
We have had some very slow days at Belyando Crossing over the past few weeks, and today was one of them. It was also the day that the positions we are vacating at Belyando Crossing were advertised online and it is odd to think that we’re really leaving Belyando in 7 days time. There have been a few great applicants for the position so we feel better in knowing that the guys will have no trouble filling the position and we are not inconveniencing the team too much be leaving early.
It has gotten mighty hot here again, after those few rainy days the temperature was a bit more reasonable however we are back to mid-40 degree days. The difference now is that there is a touch of humidity in the air instead of it being just dry and still. It is the sort of heat that makes you lethargic and very, very, very sweaty.
We’re expecting a few more quiet days this week until Saturday night when Belyando Crossing will host their annual Ringers and Govies Meet and Greet night. This is the biggest night of the year for Belyando and is a chance for all the new and existing ringers and governesses from the surrounding properties to come together, meet each other, let their hair down and just generally get off the cattle stations for the night. We’re told to expect about 100 or more people and everyone will be working that night. With any luck our replacements will also be here by Saturday so they can see Belyando in full bloom. We will be leaving the day after the Ringers and Govies Meet and Greet so this will also be a great way for us to say goodbye to Belyando.
Day 66 at Belyando Crossing – departure day
17 January 2016
What a send off we have had from Belyando. Last night was the ringers and govies meet and greet event. The Belyando Crossing bar was full of local cowboys, cowgirls, governesses and station owners. The party kicked off at about 7pm with the band playing all your favourites and the BBQ keeping everyone well fed. We closed up the bar just shy of 3am. It was a big night. I would hate to think about how many bottles of rum and vodka we went through. We woke up on Sunday feeling adequately seedy, Chilli may have overdone it a little at the party and was feeling uncharacteristically worse for wear. We packed up, cleaned our room and said our goodbyes. It as a bitter sweet morning. We were pumped to hit the road again but sad to be leaving our new friends.
The two hours to Claremont passed fairly quickly however the stretch between Claremont and Nebo was a sad 200kms of mining sites and townships. the biggest town we passed, Moranbah, even has More than just a mining town as their town slogan. We did not see anything to indicate that is anything more than a mining town. The busiest place in town was the airport for FIFO workers and all the billboards on the way in and out of town were for mining labour recruiters. They may need to rethink that slogan. Lets just be honest. No-one is looking to move to Moranbbah unless they are working on thee mines. Driving away from the mining area and towards the rainforest we passed a bar that boasted topless waitressing on Tuesdays and rooms for hire out the back. We sped up.
Pulling into the green lungs of Finch Hatton Gorge was like reconnecting with an old friend. We had hit heavy rain coming out of Nebo and all the way into Marian. It was very welcome rain after the dryness of Belyando. Let’s just say that the rain made our entry into Finch Hatton Gorge it even more magical. We are certainly now a world away from Belyando Crossing, but we have made some incredible memories that will last us a lifetime. If every job we work at is half as generous to us, as the team at Belyando (particularly Mandy) was we will be the luckiest travellers in the world!
Thanks for having us Mandy, Johhnnie, Nicky, Mel, Terrence and Mel (bub).