Meet the outback family that supported the Herd of Hope
Couple reflect on being part of Herd of Hope
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.
something I will remember for the rest of my life, riding a horse on Bondi Beach.
— Ben Hayes
IN TOWN: Undoolya Station owners Ben and Nicole Hayes at Beef Australia 2018. The couple will host the bronco branding finals this year.