Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Welcome to my first post for the Cowboy Kisses Blog and thank you Ginger for the invite.
As I’m Australian (although I write American based Westerns) I thought I would start with the Aussie outback.

In Australia a stockman (plural stockmen) is a person who looks after the livestock on a large property known as a station.
Stockmen who work with cattle in the Northern Territory are known as ringers and are often only employed for the dry season which lasts from April to October. A station hand is an employee, who is involved in routine duties on a rural property or station and this may also involve caring for livestock. Young women from the cities are becoming a common sight on outback stations, often attracted by the chance to work with horses. Some stations are now making changes for the employment of women by building female living quarters and installing hydraulic cattle crushes. A station trainee is known as a jackaroo (male) or jillaroo (female), and does much the same work as a stockman while under supervision.

Cattle Station in NT

A drover in Australia is a person, typically an experienced stockman, who moves livestock, usually cattle or sheep, "on the hoof" over long distances. Reasons for droving are usually delivering animals to a new owner's property, taking animals to market, or moving animals during a drought in search of better feed and/or water. Moving a small mob of quiet cattle is relatively easy, but moving several hundred head of wild station cattle over long distances is a completely different matter.


A muster (roundup in the US) is the process of gathering livestock. Musters usually involve cattle, sheep or horses, but may also include other animals. Mustering may be conducted for a variety of reasons including routine livestock health checks and treatments, branding, shearing, lamb marking, sale, feeding and transport or droving to another location. Mustering is a long, difficult and sometimes dangerous job, especially on the vast Australian cattle stations of the Northern Territory and 'The Falls' (gorge) country of the Great Dividing Range. The group of animals gathered in a muster is referred to as a "mob" in Australia.
Mustering can be carried out on horseback, with utes, quad bikes or helicopters. It usually depends on the terrain and the type of animals being mustered as to which method is used.

Mustering by helicopter.

My sister-in-law is an employee at an outback station, Fossil Downs. It is located about 50 kilometres (31 mi) North East of Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It consists of 800,000 acres. Certainly not huge by our standards, the largest in Australia is Anna Creek in South Australia at 9,140 square miles. Fossil Downs is also renowned for its very talented Performance Horses.

 Fossil Downs Cattle Station

.                                            My husband’s sister is the lady with the dog
                                                      in her arms at the front.
Fitzroy Crossing 31 miles from                                       
              Fossil Downs  Station

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about the Aussie Outback. In coming months I will enlighten you about our peculiar, native animals and plants.


Kristy McCaffrey said...

Hi Susan,
I've never been to Australia, but it's on my list of places to see. Thanks for sharing such great info. When I think of Australia, I see 'Mad Max' (the originals), 'Australia' with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, and an old tv show called 'The MacGregors' with then-unknown actor Guy Pearce. And, of course, the Great Barrier Reef. :-)

Susan Horsnell said...

Over the next few months I will talk more about Australia and hopefully all readers will enjoy it. Thanks Kristy.

Lauri said...

I remember the first several Harlequins I read were based in Australia. I've been in love with the outback ever since.

Susan Horsnell said...

Hi Lauri
Dry, dusty but with a beauty all it's own. Love it. Thanks for dropping by.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sue,
Great post. Nice to see you here, giving our American friends some information on Australia.



Susan Horsnell said...

Thank you Margaret

Anonymous said...

Fun to read about the different terms used in Australia. Interesting post!

Danita Cahill
Hometown Love and Laughter

Caroline Clemmons said...

Hero and I have always wanted to travel to Australia, but I'm afraid we waited too long to manage the trip. Guess we'll admire Australia vicariously via you.