Helicopter pilot Liam Hoare preparing for sunrise take-off on Hayfield-Shenandoah Station, a 1.4 million acre cattle station owned by Justin and Sally Dyer. 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 quasi-feral conditions for most of the year and are rounded up (“mustered”) by helicopter and motorbike. The mustering allows them to separate out the two-year-olds and unfertile females 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 to teach their children.
- ©2023 George Steinmetz
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