‘City’ woman’s place is here
THE urban jungle of Singapore sounds like an unlikely beginning for a Far North cattle producer.
It gets even stranger when you hear about her childhood in Sydney.
“I had horses in Sydney because I always wanted to be a rider,” she said.
“I loved being in the bush and slowly moved out and travelled overseas.”
Despite a metropolitan beginning, Rifle Creek Station owner Jenny Petrich wouldn’t swap the bush for anything.
“I love my rural lifestyle,” she said from her property on the western side of Mt Molloy.
“You wouldn’t think from my background that I would actually want to do that but I love it or I wouldn’t still be here otherwise.”
Ms Petrich moved north when her parents retired. She had always loved horses, cattle and fresh air and pursued her passion, building up experience in mustering out west.
She worked at Wetherby Station from 1989 to 2007 before buying a 2000-acre property and setting up on her own.
Ms Petrich’s Droughtmaster store steers have developed a reputation for their quality.
Earlier this year, she received top price at the Mareeba Saleyards with six of her Droughtmaster steers fetching 290.2c/kg.
“It’s great to see the cattle reach such a high price, but what is so really rewarding is to know they are return buyers who are purchasing them,” she said.
“If they’ve returned to buy that same brand again it’s because they were successful with them.
“They took them home, they were quiet, they fattened and they were no trouble.”
Ms Petrich said living on the land could be a hard choice when it came to making properties sustainable.
While her main passion is cattle, she also works as an agriculture trainer with the Northern Skills Alliance.
Ms Petrich has qualifications in agriculture and conservation land management and delivers training for ranger programs.
“They’re not National Park Rangers, they’re indigenous rangers working on their own country,” she said.
“All the work we do is based on projects and work that they’re doing.
“We go and do beach cleanups, turtle monitoring, wetland monitoring and also weed control.
“So all the units that we build around the qualification mean something to those groups.”
Ms Petrich said the training keeps her on her toes and she gets great satisfaction in seeing people gain their qualifications.
“I love the training because it keeps me current in terms of what’s best practice and what’s the latest issues,” she said.
“I enjoy the outdoor work, meeting people and the satisfaction of seeing people through a qualification.
“I particularly like understanding and being involved in the projects that they’re doing and seeing their commitment to country.”
Her teaching takes her all over the country from Rockhampton to the Torres Strait and Arnhem Land.
When she does get home, there is no time to relax.
“Last week I mustered and this week I was spraying weeds and running around and getting ready to go again,” she said.
Mt Molloy cattle producer Jenny Petrich on her property, Rifle Creek Station