Living in The Outback

‘The Wet’ brings fresh grass to the dry countryside

Since we have the pleasure of living in the gracious homestead of the station at Quanbun Downs, and we have also had the pleasure of working in other stations through Australia (short term jobs only- we are not experts at this lifestyle) I thought I would tell a bit about the way of life of the people who live in the isolation of the Outback of Australia.


The people of the Outback are a tough breed, working long hard hours in the heat; often fighting Nature. Distances make their life isolated and difficult, with simple things that urbanites take for granted being unavailable. Think of the mail or grocery delivery. Think of sending the kids to school every day, walking, on a bus, or delivering them by car. Calling the Vet for a sick animal or having fresh milk, eggs and vegetables. So, it is easy to see that transport is a huge expense, and delivery of supplies can often be weeks apart.

At least there is some green grass at this time of the year.

What about electricity, phones, television and the internet? These things are just taken for granted by people that live close to ‘civilization’, but they would be amazed that much area in the Outback does not have mobile reception, and internet plans are not only still expensive, but ‘unlimited data’ is unheard of. Generators provide power, but take quite a bit of fuel to run, and the fuel must to bought in. Milk is frequently mixed from milk powder and ice cream is home made or a luxury after someone has had a long trip to town with a mobile freezer.

Caring for the cattle and checking their water supply is paramount.

Days are long and hot and dry, and the work is dusty and very physical. The children are often home schooled or sent to boarding schools, so that puts more pressure on the families. Recycling is a way of life in these places, but not in the way it is in the cities. Anything that may be useful is kept and reused- fashioned into useful items or repaired and kept working. Every station will have piles of scrap metal, timber, old vehicles, and water pipe ready to be put to use, and inside the sheds will be a wide range of nuts, bolts and other necessities for life so far from services that most of us are used to having handy. The throw away society has not reached these areas, and probably never will.

Old machinery on display

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