Celebrating a life well lived
A Pilbara pastoralist, who has owned his station for more than half a century, marked a milestone of a different kind recently when friends from across the nation gathered for his 80th birthday.
More than 100 people toasted the landmark occasion for Indee Station’s Colin Brierly, who has cemented his legacy as an iron man of the region after 56 years in some of WA’s harshest terrain, 65km south of Port Hedland.
Family and friends gathered at Indee to toast the patriarch before rocking the night away with Roebourne band Black Stone Ramblers.
During his tenure at Indee, Mr Brierly has survived cancer, category-five cyclones, drought, debt collectors, low wool prices, one of the worst air crashes in Australian history and the loss of his first wife, which devastated his family in 1992.
Tragedy has never been a stranger to the 80-year-old, who has had to diversify his skills time and time again.
From fixing fences in 40C heat to mustering cattle, spraying weeds and working four days a week on mine sites, Mr Brierly said he had done it all.
“Even on 40C days, I would make a hot cuppa when I needed a break from fixing the fences,” he said.
His wife Betty admits it was hard when cancer hit the wily pastoralist. Now, a few years on, he’s still undefeated.
“We got through. It has been hard, but we’re here,” she said.
Mr Brierly’s eldest son, Malcolm, said the night was filled with folk who appreciated his father for his humble nature and his hard work.
“People have travelled from all over the country to celebrate my father’s birthday,” he said.
“Indee is one of those places where you feel right at home within minutes and what makes the place special is that dad is one of the only original station owners remaining since the early 1970s.
“The old boy will finish his days on this station — and he shows no sign of giving up anytime soon.”
Colin Brierly with his daughter Gail.