Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wetherby Station

On the way to Wetherby Station, we stopped at The National Hotel in MT Molloy. After many many hairpin turns, going UP, toward Wetherby, we stopped for a beer or a shandy. The National Hotel is an OLD roadhouse with rooms. The owner regaled us with tales of poisonous snakes in the rafters. The second floor is surrounded by open porch. Each bedroom opens onto the porch for maximum air movement. I want to stay there (except for the lack of security!). A Shandy? You didn't tell us what a SHANDY is! Well, I thought it was pretty vile! A shandy is 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 beer. Understand that lemonade in Australia is Sprite! I did not finish it! Wetherby Station is a working cattle station and tourist spot...I think they call it cattle tourism;-)
We were met at the corral by John Colless on horseback. The station was built in as a homestead in 1879, one of the oldest in the district. It was a stop on the way to the gold fields. The cattle introduced to the area were a cross between brahmins and zebu, making them a smallish, hardy, drought tolerant cow. They are all grass/range to the max. They try to run the station in a sustainable manner. They use no herbicides or poisons (except when the dingos get too populous.) There is no shooting on the station except at the gum trees and ironwoods to harvest the seeds! They have a fire plan for the whole area...the station is responsible for the safety of their 26 neighbors. They do use controlled burns to maintain the land, dropping incendiary ping pong balls from helicopters to control the grasses that otherwise would form a serious fire threat to the whole area. There is much wildlife in the area: snakes : Taipans (lose one or 2 calfs per year to them), pythons. Birds: cattle egrets, kookabura, plover and many more listed on their website. Wallabies and kagaroos, termites, fish. It is a lush rich area. They weigh the steers from time to time to determine which are going to which market. Did you know that steers with broad haunches are sent to Korea; old steers to Japan; slender steers to Indonesia to be fattened on sugar cane waste? John mustered this bull and his cows for us. they were very beautiful, healthy animals. A sculpture up by the house. orchids! Love those bromeliads! Various unidentified buildings on the property.

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