Meet the out­back fam­ily that sup­ported the Herd of Hope

Cou­ple re­flect on be­ing part of Herd of Hope

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

THE first time Ben Hayes went to Bondi Beach, he took 40 head of here­fords.

The Ter­ri­to­rian gra­zier, based at Un­doolya Sta­tion out­side of Alice Springs, was in Syd­ney as he and his wife Ni­cole do­nated their stock to the Herd of Hope, an ini­tia­tive that took NT cat­tle to NSW’s coast­line to raise vi­tal funds for or­gan do­na­tion and ru­ral health.

The huge day also helped bridge the gap be­tween city and coun­try – the bush was lit­er­ally taken to the beach.

“It was a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity,” Ben said.

“It’s some­thing I will re­mem­ber for the rest of my life – rid­ing a horse on Bondi Beach.

“It was re­ally good to bring the bush to the city. I couldn’t get over the amount of kids, and adults as well, who wanted to touch a horse or the cat­tle.”

Ben said it was an ed­u­ca­tional day for city folk, but he learnt some­thing too.

“We think they live in a bub­ble. But we live in a bub­ble also. We don’t know how they live, and they don’t know how we live.

“That bush-to-city gap is widen­ing, Herd of Hope brought it closer to­gether.”

When the Ru­ral Weekly caught up with Ben and Ni­cole, at Beef Aus­tralia 2018 in Rock­hamp­ton, it wasn’t sur­pris­ing they were sit­ting at the here­fords tent.

Their 144,000-hectare prop­erty has run that breed since the 1940s.

“My grand­fa­ther (Ed­ward, known as Ted) im­ported them out of New Zealand,” Ben said.

“I al­ways think about what a big ef­fort that was back then – it’s a long way to go.”

In their area, here­fords and short­horns were once the pre­dom­i­nant breed.

Ni­cole said nowa­days there were only three or four pro­duc­ers still breed­ing them.

“We still have quite a big show where peo­ple bring up here­fords,” she said.

“We usu­ally get about 40 bulls com­ing up to our show and at least half of them would be here­fords.”

The cou­ple made the long trip to Rock­hamp­ton af­ter hear­ing about Beef Aus­tralia for years.

“We thought we should see what all the fuss was about,” Ni­cole said.

They or­gan­ised a few quotes for things, and left with a stack of pam­phlets and in­for­ma­tion to mull over.

The cou­ple is in for a busy year, as in Septem­ber they will play host to the na­tional fi­nals for bronco brand­ing.

Ni­cole’s team won an event last year.

“It was the first time I had com­peted and we won the novice,” she said.

This year Ben will judge.

He de­scribed the event as be­ing “down to the sec­ond” and good fam­ily fun.

Un­doolya Sta­tion Na­tional Aus­tralian Bronco Brand­ing Com­pe­ti­tion will be held on Septem­ber 15.

Search Un­doolya Sta­tion Bronco Brand­ing on Facebook for more in­for­ma­tion.

❝It’s

some­thing I will re­mem­ber for the rest of my life, rid­ing a horse on Bondi Beach.

— Ben Hayes

PHOTO: AN­DREA DAVY

IN TOWN: Un­doolya Sta­tion own­ers Ben and Ni­cole Hayes at Beef Aus­tralia 2018. The cou­ple will host the bronco brand­ing fi­nals this year.

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