It was station life for couple
Gerald took a jump and landed in love with Enid
BILOELA retirees Gerald and Enid Dayes have spent their lives working cattle stations.
For Gerald, his working life began at the tender age of 13.
“My dad told me to get to school and learn or get a job.”
Gerald chose the latter. His first job was droving cattle from Julia Creek.
Stock work followed where he spent a few years in Western Queensland and a stint at Cerito Station on the Suttor River before going to Waterloo Station near the West Australian border.
“I was running the stock camp and breaking in horses, the large cattle properties had about 400 horses on each place,” Gerald said.
Another state away in New South Wales, Enid grew up on a sheep station called Mulgutherie.
She fondly recalls claiming a pet sheep she named Brownie which took her four hours to handshear.
Enid completed her nursing psychiatric training in Orange before moving to Brisbane to attain her general and midwifery qualifications.
After working in Charleville she took a position at Katherine Hospital with a view to save and go to London to work with premature babies.
But a chance meeting would change her life’s direction when she met Gerald at a rodeo ball in Katherine.
“I was working on Willeroo Station. I took the buck jumpers in for the rodeo and then they expected me to pay $5 entry fee,” Gerald said.
One of the organisers said to him if he could jump over a five-foot hessian barrier, he could get in for free.
He made the jump and landed at Enid’s feet.
After this initial meeting Gerald said he had to go back to Willeroo Station and Enid said she’d like to come for a drive with him.
They were married in 1969.
“In the early years the only power on Willeroo was 32 volt which we only ran at night for lights,” Gerald said
“The only communication we had with the outside world was through the HF radio based in Darwin.
“We had a hot water donkey, a 44 gallon drum connected to the water line and a fire was lit under it.
“The fridge, stove and clothes iron all ran on gas.”
From 1969 to 1970 Gerald organised the purchase of 14,000 cows and heifers from Victoria River Downs (VRD) Station.
“I made many trips to many yards on VRD throughout the cattle season.” Gerald said.
During this time Enid had two sons Phillip and Brian.
Gerald and Enid were not only kept busy running the station but they were also now raising a young family.
After a few years working together at Willeroo Station, Gerald and Enid took on the managers position at Camfield Station.
“Our nearest town was Katherine a drive of 400km,” Gerald said.
With 34 people living and working on the station, at any one time, bulk stores were purchased from Katherine every two to three months.
“There were two 10-men stock camps which were mainly aboriginals.
“They worked from February to October,” Gerald said.
“The station employed two gardeners and we also grew our own vegetables.”
Enid was often asked what she did all day on the station.
For her the station life was anything but dull.
From 5.30am breakfasts, making lunches for the chopper operators, keeping the books and organising stores to stepping into the school room to teach the boys in between governesses, Enid was certainly an all rounder.
“I remember coming home to find Enid on the mower and the gardener sitting under the tree,” Gerald laughed.
Gerald and Enid moved to Brisbane in 1988 where Gerald took over supervising another seven cattle properties owned by Bankers Trust Sydney.
He racked up many frequent flyer miles with Ansett airways travelling around the 14 properties he managed, organising major operations and cattle sales.
‘The combined herd was 220,000 head. I used to buy 400 to 500 herd bulls per year,’ Gerald said.
After more than 10 years working out of GRM Office in Brisbane Gerald and Enid took on another business venture running a farm produce store at Fernvale near Ipswich.
No strangers to hard work and long hours for five years they operated the store seven days a week from 6am to 6pm and half-a-day Sunday.
With new regulations coming into effect regarding special chemical storage permits they sold the business and retired.
Seeking warmer weather they moved to Biloela in 2012.
Next year will mark their 50 year wedding anniversary and a life time of hard work and wonderful memories.
❝five-foot I took buck jumpers in for the rodeo and they expected me to pay $5 entry. One organiser said if I could jump a hessian barrier, I could get in for free. I jumped and landed at Enid’s feet.
PAIR: Enid and Gerald Dayes were kept busy running a cattle station and raising a young family.