It was sta­tion life for cou­ple

Ger­ald took a jump and landed in love with Enid

Central Telegraph - - LIFE LOCAL PEOPLE, LOCAL STORIES -

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PAIR: Enid and Ger­ald Dayes were kept busy run­ning a cat­tle sta­tion and rais­ing a young fam­ily.

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