Sharing's Caring

Thank you to everybody who has shared this blog. Sharing is the way these things work, otherwise I'm justing talking to myself. If you like what you read please tweet, Facebook or email it to your mates. The more people outside our agricultural circle we can reach the better. Don't forget to have a look at the other blogs I'm following too. Everyone has a story to tell.

Thursday 22 June 2017

All Good Things...

   It's been an interesting two years to say the least.

   For those that don't know, I'm no longer involved with Gabyon. Gemma and I separated almost two years ago, and while it's never easy, we remain amicable and I wish nothing but success and happiness for her and her family. We did some great things together, despite droughts, floods, fires and government ineptitude. They are still out at Gabyon and I highly recommend a visit to their Station Stay. Check out their website to see why. It is a beautiful place.

   The other major event is I managed to get a publishing contract with Allen & Unwin. After two years of back and forth, edits and proofs, I am very proud (and a little bit stunned) to announce Ridgeview Station is to be released in stores on the 28th June 2017. It's an amazing feeling to hold a real book in your hand with your own name across the cover. It all started from people reading this very blog and the positive feedback which came from that. The Kickstarter campaign was a success and that allowed me to engage professional advice, leading me to submit it for publishing once more.

   So in short, I want to say thank you to everyone who read this blog. I never expected it to go as far as it did, but all good things must end, as they say. I hope to make something of this new writing venture. There's a second manuscript under consideration and I've began a third. You can follow my website which will take you to a Facebook page, Twitter page and and online store where you can buy a signed copy of Ridgeview Station. Once I get the page up to scratch there will be a new blog, probably mostly about city life from a country boys perspective, as I am now living in Perth. It's a bit different, I'll tell you that right now.

   No matter what happens in the future, I am eternally grateful for the support and goodwill we received from people reading my musings on here. It meant a lot, thank you.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Kickstart a Pen's Worth.

       Almost twelve months to the day I announced on here I'd finished a manuscript. Now I've said some silly things in my time, but that'd be up there with the best of them. Since then, it's been drafted and redrafted more times than a dodgy mob of crossy lambs facing a fussy buyer. Now I'm finished as far as I can go, and it's time to bring the professionals in, but they cost money and if you've been reading for a while, you know that something we don't have at the minute.

        So, I've created a Kickstarter page, which is here, and this post is to provide a sample of the book. Namely, the first bit of Chapter One, Wydjawanna Station. If you like it and want more, well, you'll have to pledge a few bucks so I can afford to get it edited, and then printed. All I can say is the dozen or so people who've read it loved it, and the reason I chose them to is because I knew they wouldn't blow smoke up my nether regions. Even my Mum (she never let us win board games, ever). So without further waffle, please enjoy the first bit of Wydjawanna Station.

Wydjawanna Station


Michael Trant

 Chapter One

Jack Simmonds leaned against the bonnet of his Landcruiser as he smoked, and waited. Grey hairs poked out from under his cap, and his trousers were stained with a mixture of red dust and black grease, a result of sliding around the workshop floor earlier that morning. He stared silently into the horizon beyond the dirt airstrip, his gaze only interrupted by the bush flies seeking refuge in the corners of his eyes, and a wave of his well-worn hand to clear them. His neighbour, John Harris from Nanoo, a sheep station some fifty kilometres away, was due here shortly with their new backpacker working man. John could’ve driven, but he never missed a chance to fly, a man much after Jack’s own heart.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Dry Heat

 It's getting to that time of year again, and now with our added venture of tourism, this little poem written for a competition I never entered seems apt.

Dry Heat

They came from the burbs, this family of Perth
Seeking holiday fun, amongst the red earth
‘We’ll go prospecting all day,’ grinned Dad with delight
But at the mention of camping, they all turned quite white.

Mum was concerned at Dad’s plans for a break
She talked to her friends, who all said ‘Mistake!
No phones, no service, or toilet with seat
It’s the middle of Feb, what about all the heat?’

Dad just laughed as he packed up the gear
‘Don’t worry love, can’t be much hotter than here
It’s the coastal humidity we struggle to beat
And luckily out there, it’s a sort of dry heat.’

So off they all trundled, to a town called Yalgoo
What they were in for, they hadn’t a clue
“Here we are kids, this is gonna be sweet!
 The car says it’s forty, but at least its dry heat.’

Car doors flew open, and they stepped into the oven
Mother near fainted, she’d never left the Great Southern
Thongs began melting, and stuck to their feet.
Bitumen tends to get hot, even in the dry heat

Monday 3 November 2014

Doof Doof In Ze Shed

Last year we had the pleasure of hosting Thibuat (Teebo) and Thierry for three months. These two French boys embraced station life like no other and have become firm friends. The last time they visited was to be Thierry's last, as his Visa was due to expire and he was unable to stay. Just a few of the fun times we had with them follow....

Two Frenchmen arrived, outback adventures they seek
Fresh from a viewing of the infamous Wolf Creek
Greeted by a lady with her rifle on shoulder slung
At that point they wondered what they had done
The boys considered if they should not have just fled
But instead made their way up to the massive steel shed

They stopped at the house and there met all of us
Of their encounter with our guest they made quite a fuss
‘’We did not know if we should stay or should go!’’
And that was our first laugh with Thierry and Thibaut
We showed them around, and they both shook their head
In awe at the scale of things, especially our new shed

Sunday 3 August 2014

Where is everybody?

So since April I’ve been working off farm as a relief utility for ESS, the company that provides catering and cleaning to a lot of the mines. Up until today I’m on my fourth site. I’ve been to Karratha, near Onslow at Wheatstone, way out whoop-whoop at Telfer playing with dingos (that’s a WHOLE new post in itself) and now I’m at Mooka, near Port Hedland.
Being relief means you get dropped in to help out the permanents at each site, either covering someone who’s sick, on holidays, or providing a temporary boost in numbers during busy times like shutdowns. As a result you meet so many people, all from different backgrounds, cultures, ages and religions. It’s great. And being new, the general first conversations go something like this.
Them: ‘So, where you from?’
Me: ‘Yalgoo.’
Them ‘What goo?’
Me: ‘Yalgoo. Couple hundred clicks in from Geraldton. Out in the scrub, in sheep station country.’
Them: ‘Oh. You live out there?’
Me: ‘Yeah, on our sheep station, Gabyon with my wife Gemma and her parents.’
Them: ‘You own a sheep station? How big? How many sheep do you have?’
Me: ‘Well, the bank owns it at the moment, but it’s 670 000 acres. It’s a big place. And about eight to ten thousand sheep.’

It’s at this point they usually take a minute to recover, especially the people of Asian background. To many of them, any one who owns land is extremely wealthy, so to own that much means I’m obviously a squillionare who is slumming it, bank mortgage or not. Then the inevitable question follows.
‘What are you doing here?’

Saturday 2 August 2014

Goats on the Hill

  Goats are bastards. Mad as cut snakes, they can make the most experienced mustering team look like a mob of amatuers. One minute they'll be trotting along happily, then the next second it's like someone's lobbed a hand grenade at them and fifty race off in fifty different directions, leaving the five motorbike and two dogs to try and halt the flood.

 On Gabyon sits Courin Hill, a large granite outcrop that a mob of around two hundred call home. Each morning driving past we see them trotting down for a drink and a feed, and each evening driving back we see them again, trotting up once more for the night.

 They are cunning sods. As soons as they hear the bikes or plane they refuse to come down of the hill. The following is based on a few attempts to muster them, with mixed results.

Apologies to Slim.

Rounding up goats is much harder than sheep.
But the feral little buggers need to pay for their keep,
Cos the bank’s back on the phone and a callin’ me.

A few new hands are astride the two wheels.
Racing through the sand as the plane above peels.
But the goats on top o’ the hill are avoiding me.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Fee For Fi Fo Fun

‘Okay, that’s pre-start finished, now everyone outside to do our warm-up stretches.’
I’m sorry, our what?!? I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore Toto…..
Definitely not Kansas. Karratha to be more correct, at the Karratha Gas Plant (KGP) on my first day as a utility for ESS, the company that does the cleaning and catering on this site, and many many others. It’s a whole new world for me, one that we’ve had to explore in order to stay doing what we love at Gabyon.
Gap Ridge Camp
Back in December I started looking for FIFO work. A casual tweet saying I was joining the Hi-Vis crowd led to attending an information and signup session for ESS in Perth, where they basically spent half an hour telling the crowd of forty or so how shit FIFO life is. I guess they get sick of people thinking they can work in these remote sites and then realising it’s not for them. The presenter lady was saying its hot, dry, dusty, there’s flies, snakes, big lizards, there’s no phone service sometimes, the internet’s shit, the work’s repetitive, it’s long days and little breaks. All I could think was that it sounded just like home. Only with a pay cheque at the end of it.