In June 2017, I spent a month in the Australian countryside. After few years previously residing on the east coast, I wanted to explore the "other side of the country"; the Bush.
Thousands of kilometers of dry red land, lost among kangaroos, brumbies and cattle. On a bike or horse back, trying to learn how to be an Aussie Cowboy. I learnt hard work and met extraordinary yet also rough people. I've realized that you can actually live in Australia, and never see the blue sea. I've met those work with high quality products. I've seen poverty and loneliness. But most of all, I've met people passionate about their job, who never fear to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, sometimes under a 45 degree sun, surrounded by dust and flies.
I've met those who master horses better than anyone else; the Jackaroos.
The photo series is coming from two stations. The first one is a family cattle station, not far from Rockhampton, in Queensland. 7,000 hectares, with 2000 Brahman cattle. This station has an incredible family story. After losing their entire livestock because of a non identified disease, Ashley Kirk has rebuilt from scratch the business with his father, and is now providing one of the highest quality of meat in the region.Their cattle policy is very unique: limiting as much stress on the animal as they can, by selecting the most quiet cattle and breeding them in a non-aggressive environment to offer a high quality meat. No noise in the yard, no screaming in the paddock.
Less stress on the animal, and also less stress on human.
The second station was a bit different. 1000 km inland on a 350,000 hectare property. The station is run by a 55 year old grumpy manager. A chopper master, a horse master, but also an empathetic master. The farm has only 10,000 head of cattle, and is surrounded by red dirt and dry land. 5 people work 7 days a week. Most of the crew is not more than 20 years old. These incredibly courageous kids work 12 hours a day, in any weather condition. They have to master mechanics, fencing, horse riding and cooking. Pretty much everything to survive in the outback. I've heard their story. I've learnt by watching, again, and again. I only spent my very last day on horseback.
I have to admit that everyday was not like a dream. But I will remember forever the story of those who live far from everything. Those who belong to the last generation of the Jackaroos.