Update: I am back in D for about half a year now (as of january 2009) so this site is outdated. it will eventually go away
Hi. This is Corvus Corax. As those of you who know this site might know, I'm currently to Australia. So in order to keep everyone on the news this will act as sort of a blog / online-livejournal :)
After the weekend at rainbow beach, we, that means myself and Jackie (a girl from Cologne, who arrived at Brisbane the day before I did, in order to do the same Visitoz farm training) moved on to the town of Gimpy, in order to meet someone from the training farm and get supplied. Visitoz is an organisation consisting of several farms sharing resources in order to train backpackers and also provide them with job opportunities, as well as providing farms all over Australia with base-skilled on-demand workforce. People and training there are really cool, but unfortunately there is no internet access for us backpackers.
Both of us got assigned an appointment with the manager of Jumbuck Pastorals in Adelaide the next week, who sent us to the Madura Plains Station on the Nullarbour plain in the deep southwest of Australia. A giant sheep farm covering over about 130*70 kilometers of half desert, with the nearest neighbours over 100 km away and the next bigger settlement over 500 k's away. Housing only about a douzend workers but almost 40000 sheep. In june they started their sheering season, which, while being performed by contracted professional sheeres, arises the need of additional working craft, which we provided. Of course the outside communication was limited to an absolute minimum ;) Instead we had work to do. 12h a day, 7 days a week. Sometimes more. Most people there were really nice. Unfortunately the ones in charge of us were not, which made working there way less pleasant than it could have been. The overseer was only 19 years old, and while well educated in the tasks of farm chores, had still a lot to learn regarding leadership skills. The station manager was a very tough guy, who lived all his live in the harsh environment of outback stations, and unfortunately, expecting everyone else to be as hard as he was, too.
On the pro side, the cooking was really good. The station has had a lot of bad luck with cooks in the past, but only 2 weeks before we arrived, got assigned a new cook. An aproximately 50 years old woman from New Sealand who spent all her live cooking on stations. Even with the limited supply of fresh vegetables or any green stuff, she managed to turn the daily supply of mutton into neverending variations and never ceased to surprise us. The sheep there live on salt-bush, which makes the mutton there - to quote her probably the best mutton you will ever get anywhere. My own work on the station varied, but mostly I had to stack 200kg woolbales into 4 story stacks, and help load them on a roadtrain at the end of each week. Now, one week after the end of sheering, with 30000 sheep sheered and about a trainload of wool packed and shipped, I came back to Adelaide, while Jackie will continue to work on the station for another 2 weeks. Its planned to meet again and visit the people of the training farm in queensland after that - this time as a private visit. We got invited after the one week training, since we obviously left a really good impression and got along great with everyone. Thats the situation today - I will keep you informed. - Corvus Corax - out.
This is google earth footage of the madura plains station and most of the land that belongs to it. Centered is the moonera homestead, which became the center of Madura Plains Station, when Jumbuck pastorals bought both the old Madura and Moonera to form it from. In the lower right there is the homestead of the original Madura station. Founded somewhen near ~ 1870 - current population: 1
Sunday at Rainbow Beach. It was raining almost the whole day. Nevertheless we managed to go for a swim at the shore, and try to surf a bit with bodyboards - result: both bodyboards broken ;) In the aftrenoon the weather got better and allowed for a walk along the coast. Overall not too eventfull but it still rocked. - Corvus Corax - out.
Saturday at Rainbow Beach. Committed activities: Checking the pool out, gone on a horse ride, went with a wilderness tour through the vincinity of rainbow beach, looking at the vast eucalypt forests and a really impressive 200m high sand dune walzing through the forest. The compressed mineral rich sand left behind by it is what gives rainbow beach its name. Sand glowing in all sort of colors. Though around noon there are usually thunderstorms, so we also had seen a real rainbow. Note to self, I really should get a digital camera somewhere ;) - Corvus Corax - out.
5 hours bus trip to Rainbow Beach. Went over quite fast, they have a television in the bus, and I also had nice company to talk with. If driving alone it would be advised to bring a book to read though ;) The land around is beautifull. Vast forests, on rolling hills. Though most of them are almost 'industrial tree plantages'. We arrived at about 3 in the afternoon and went to check the place out. The water of the ocean has acceptable temperatures, but with a strong chilly wind, almost nobody is going swimming at this time of year. Its getting dark early, at only 5:30. Now its past 6 in the evening, got dark, and I decided to write a blog. Here it is. - Corvus Corax - out.
2 days of travelling by airplane are over. Resulted in quite a bit of jetlag, so after being picked up by the Visitoz greeter and brought to the hostel I slept most of the day. The flight with Singapore airlines (via Singapore) was quite nice. Lots of room in the plane, even in economy class. Especially cause of the 2 seats next to mine were empty :) What was especially nice were the spectacular thundertorms under the plane after we took of from Frankfurt. In the morning I could see a vast desert of sand from the horizon to the horizon with interesting rock formations in between. Must have been somewhere in asia, but since the flight path logger was out of order I couldnt say where exactly. On the flight from Singapore to Brisbane I couldnt see much because my place was over the wing and the whole flight was during the night. Only during landing approach the sun rose. Brisbane is quite a nice city. Sunny, tidy, lots of trees and - despite quite some traffic - calm. Its easy to reach everything in the inner city on foot. Had to go there to arrange for some visa formalities. Tomorow I'l go to Rainbow Beach - Corvus Corax - out.