Breathtaking isolation at Glenforrie station

Breathtaking isolation at Glenforrie station


Grains
Aticia Grey with some of her working dogs, with the picturesque Glenforrie station providing a stunning backdrop.

Aticia Grey with some of her working dogs, with the picturesque Glenforrie station providing a stunning backdrop.

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GLENFLORRIE station is considered one of the most isolated stations in the south west Pilbara area.

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GLENFLORRIE station is considered one of the most isolated stations in the south west Pilbara area.

The breathtaking views along the 80 kilometre access road is where Aticia Grey and her family call home.

Aticia and her brother Murray were raised at Glenflorrie when their parents Peter and Susan moved there in 1993.

Taking on the station management in recent years, Aticia said looking after 5500 head of Brahmans was an exciting opportunity.

“Growing up on the station I guess it got into my blood early,” she said.

“I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to continue living the lifestyle.

“My parents have done an incredible job developing Glenflorrie to where it is now from what they started with, and I am looking forward to seeing where we are in another 10 years time.”

With 197,000 hectares of rocky hills, spinifex flats and some washes with buffel grass scattered through out, the station was suited to the hardy Brahman.

Murray, who helps manage the station during peak times of the year, said it was an ideal breed for their area.

“We have a lot of wash-out country and the rivers run dry,” he said.

“When we moved here our rainfall averaged about 250 millimetres, but that has increased to about 305mm over the past 25 years.

“We have had about 220mm so far this season, so the place is looking very green.”

Aticia works the station full-time with Murray travelling between Glenflorrie and the family’s background property he runs with wife Adele, in Yathroo, in the State’s south.

The family is looking to expand its southern holdings to carry more young backgrounding stock and increase the country available on Glenflorrie for breeding.

“With the country we currently have, we can carry up to 2000 head in winter, across 1300 hectares,” Murray said.

“But in summer we can only carry around 400 to 600 head.”

Murray said it was an exciting time to be in the industry.

He said to have the extra land and more options would give them the opportunity to spell some of the station and gradually increase its breeder country, while more infrastructure was put in place, including establishing some new fenced paddocks.

“We also sub-lease another 170,000ha portion of Ullawarra station, on our eastern boundary,” Murray said.

“Having the extra land will help us with our future plans.”

The siblings said the station had come a long way over the years.

“When my granddad first moved here in 1984 there was next to no infrastructure in place,” Murray said.

“There was no generator, no pumps nothing – we only had one windmill on the house bore.

“From the mid-70s until the early 80s no one was here, so it was more or less abandoned.

“We’ve put in most of the fences ourselves, the water tanks, power and everything.

“The roads were gone – it was a big job for my parents to take it on.

“It was a blank canvas and we plan on doing a lot more to the station.”

Aticia said putting in a fencing system was the next big project.

“It would be great to see more country being spelled (in the wet season),” she said.

“This will be a steady balancing process, as we put in new paddocks and tie up current breeder country and try to maintain our stock numbers.”

She said this would hopefully allow them to manage the feral and cleanskin cattle better and clean up the tail end of their weaner lines.

“We have plans in place to put in at least three permanent sets of yards over the next five years, which will cut 80 per cent of our use of portable yards,” she said.

“We will be able to significantly shorten our mustering season, which will allow us to consider a second muster or trap lap to take a second cut of weaners off the cows before summer.

“We are also looking at incorporating technology like automated walk-over weighing systems and telemetry systems on some of our waters.”

Aticia said the challenge for the next generation of pastoralists was to manage the day-to-day station running, with minimal stress and good management.

“I think one of the biggest issues facing our generation is the increased public awareness and our responsibility to handle our stock as humanely as possible with increasing transparency,” she said.

One of the ways Glenflorrie has incorporated better stock handling is with working dogs.

Aticia first became interested in working dogs while travelling to New Zealand.

“Their skill and use of their working dogs blew me away,” she said.

“I attended my first Neil McDonald working dog school in 2013, with no dogs to my name and came in as green as they come.

“I then purchased four going dogs and was given a pup by a friend to start me on my way a few short months later.

“I believe my dogs have been an important factor in my stepping up into a manager’s role on the station.

“Their positive influence is becoming more noticeable in the improved behaviour and temperament of our stock each year.

“It is through the weaner educating and day-to-day handling of our cattle with my dogs (she now has 15 working kelpies), that I have really found my passion for life on the land and look forward to continuing to improve and develop Glenflorrie with my family.”

Aticia is documenting the station with photography.

“I started playing around with photography with just my iPhone and found an enjoyment of sharing the photos of station life with the public through social media,” she said.

“My enjoyment of photography went hand-in-hand with my love of my dogs and I am now able to share my life on the land with 15 working kelpies with a great following from all over the world.”

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