Orry (7 years old) and Emma (5 years old) Dyer attending school via satelite link on Hayfield-Shenandoah Station, a 1.4 million acre cattle lease owned by Justin and Sally Dyer. The Dyers have hired a governess to teach their children with the aid of Katherine School of the Air, which organizes live video classes with other same-age children living in remote Outback locations.
The station was developed by Justin’s parents, who settled here in the 1970s when there was only one building, no fences or waterholes. They run about 10,000 Brahman cows, for a total herd (cows, calves, weaners, and bulls) size of 27,000 cattle. The cattle live in near-wild conditions for most of the year, and are rounded up (“mustered”) by helicopter. They separate out the one-year-olds for live export, from Darwin to Indonesia for Halal slaughter.
Family-owned and run cattle stations like this are a rarity in the Australian outback, as most are now owned by corporations. The Dyers have installed about 50 diesel-powered boreholes to help their cows survive the long dry season, and have about 8 employees here in the dry season, including a governess and nanny.
- ©2023 George Steinmetz
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