A story about a Landcruiser..

A normal Cruiser with a special Story behind…

A Cruiser with a special story…

This fine motor vehicle is used to do Station business… used to look after the bores, fences, etc.

The cruiser’s windshield is badly damaged

Seeing minor damages on such vehicles is not unusual as most of them are not licensed and therefore do not drive on public roads…. this particular Cruiser however has a very interesting looking windshield….


…. must have scared the cattle agent a bit…

…. the story how this hole in the windshield/dashboard came about goes like this:

Brent and a prospective cattle buyer where rumbling along a station track in order for the buyer to be able to select the finest cattle.

As Cowboy business often demands a loaded shotgun was lying on the dash, ready for action. Unfortunately someone must have forgotten to secure the safety latch and over one of the many bumps in the track the gun accidentally went off, blasting a hole through windshield as well as dashboard and scaring the cattle agent (the vehicle is a right hand drive as always in Australia…. i.e. the agent was sitting on the left seat, near the guns’ muzzle)

Apparently the agent was very very keen to purchase the cattle and get the hell out of this haunted car as quickly as he could…..

… for us just another one of these real cowboy stories…. it is a men’s world out there!!



Cattle grid….

A 60km gravel road links Coobina Chromite mine with the Great Northern Highway… Sylvania Homestead is about 30km along this same road.

Heavy Duty Trucks run along day and night

To keep this road maintained to mining specs a three person crew from Smoothy’s contractor business (Roller, Grader, Water truck) is working on it for 12 hours per day 365 days a year.

Cattle grid compacted with red dirt

‘Unfortunately’ there is also three cattle grids along this stretch of road… maintaining these is Cowboy business…

heavy rails with super compacted red dirt

It took four Cowboys more than a week of shovelling and hacking to clear these grids from the concrete like dirt…

getting the dirt out from below the grid

… I now know one reason why I would not be a good Cowboy for life…

three days of hard work to clear this grid



Jillaroo Sandra… ?!?

We have arrived to Sylvania station two weeks ago and it is quite a change from my gentle and soft world at Leaning Tree School to the“outback”one. Luckily we will go to Switzerland before returning to the school environment as I have to climbs up a high mountain to air out my body and soul! It is rough and tough out here!… Every SECOND word is F… and C…… and I didn’t know that you can fit them that many times into ONE sentence.…I even belief the boys are holding back on them with me around…… Actually, they hardly looked at me or chatted with me for the first few days, only when I was initiating the conversation. First I thought that they might still have that gentlemanliness in them, although they can look quiet rough…… But by now they have gotten used to me and we laugh about funny’jokes which can be a bit sexist sometimes – or actually many times!

Then I had my first mustering!!! We went out for a day and Tom and I sat in a buggy and tried to keep a 1000 cattle on the road.…I tell you, I was so stressed out the whole time because I worried about all the little calves losing their mums and panting like a dog because they had to walk too far with their little legs! There was even one limping the whole way and I thought it wouldn’t make it. Poor thing, but it didn’’t give up. I was already thinking of loading it up into our buggy!

Junior Cowboy Lance
Junior Cowboy Lance

In the yard Tom got the job with the big injection needle and I was so glad, when Lance, the 7 year old boy from the station turned up so I could play with him. I am definitely made for children and not for cattle! When they told me about the dehorning and showed me the tiny little rubber rings they were using on the boys I asked if I could give a hand in the kitchen rather than doing cattle work.…Tom reckoned the day after it was a very rough and tough business with crying calves and blood everywhere…

Doc Tom
Doc Tom

The cook isn’t only running the station kitchen but also the boys! She has been there for one and a half years and the kitchen is her territory, her castle her everything. You have to follow her rules or you are in deep troubles! There are some signs which will remind you kindly – some with please and some with F’s too…I have some good chats with her and I think she is impressed with my Swiss cleaning standards. She is an awesome cook and very VERY organised! She knows all her boys (there are 20 of them!) and knows exactly who eats what and which vegetables and what their favourite is. However, yesterday she gave them all a lecture at dinner! Goodness me! I was counting my peas on my plate and didn’t dare to look up!!!!! “She told them how she was sick of cleaning up after them and how they still come in with their dirty work close on when she is not around and stuff like that. And this with a lot of F’s and that they are lazy P’s and so on…… After the boys left, she came over to Tom and me to apologies for this, but she just had to…


The best is to come! She asked me a few days ago to take over her kitchen while she and her husband are going on a 10 days break at the end of the month! I was quite shocked as well as surprised and I told her, that I can cook but I have never cooked for 20 (!!!!!) very hungry boys and two girls (one of them the governess and one myself!). Further more I am almost a vegetarian compared to what they eat here on meat and anyway a very salady vegi person.…She said I could cook whatever I wanted… Well, it will be an experience for all of us! It might be a bit of a detox for the boys though… Tom reckons, I might even need to have a similar speech to the boys one night as the cook had the other day, but I think, my teacher’s finger and look are enough (at the moment at least or hopefully for 10 days) 🙂

Wish me good luck and send me some meaty recipes!


Arrived @ Sylvania Station

We have survived the first few days as Jackaroo and Jillaroo – although Sandra has reverted back to house duties after seeing the calves being separated from their mums and the handling of the cattle in the yards…

Pretty rough life and very very long work days… from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week.

Sylvania Station is about 60km southeast of Newman with about 800,000 acres of scrub and busch.


Sylvania is about a 1000km North East of Geraldton
Sylvania is about a 1000km North East of Geraldton

Brent Smoothy, the owner, also has another three stations totalling about 3.5 million acres (14,000 square kilometres) and 20,000 head of cattle. On top of that he also owns over half a dozen R22 helicopters two R44 choppers and a trucking and earth moving business as well as a helicopter drilling business… Pretty full on guy and not even 40 years of age…

Sylvania Station Shed and Yard
Sylvania Station Shed and Yard

Tomorrow we will be mustering/walking a whole mob of cattle for more than 15km…I will be at the tail of it keeping them moving forward in an old Suzuki Jeep… Pretty boring for a very very long time with heart pumping action to be expected at the end… These cows/bulls only see humans once a year and don’t like to be locked in. They will try everything to avoid the yards including charging at us or bolting off in full speed which then means full throttle on the little Suzuki motor straight through the bush.


Sylvania Station Homestead
Sylvania Station Homestead


Gap year

SanTom is on the road again!

After almost 5 years of working for Leaning Tree School and Durack Institute of Technology we have decided to take a half a year leave without pay and hit the road.

We were fortunate that our employers agreed to our project; we are both able to go back to our current roles in mid October this year, hopefully with some new ideas and a few important questions answered.

Our journey will be divided in two main parts:

    1. One of Tom’s dreams has been to work on a million acres property in the North West of Australia. Just to put things into perspectives…a million acres is about 4000 square kilometers; or about 1/10 of our home country Switzerland – If things go as planned I will be working as a Stock man/Jackaroo (the Australian term for Cow Boy)!

    2. The second part of our time away we will spend in Europe, mainly Switzerland; catching up with friends and family.

Stay tuned for some great stories and pictures…