Guest Blog 2: 'Chasing Cows' and 'Wrangling Kids' Part 1



My name’s Shorna and I am 23 years old. I have worked on cattle stations since I finished school in 2007. Originally from Victoria, I am now based around Newman, Western Australia, with my partner. He flies helicopters for aerial mustering and I spend my time ‘chasing cows’ and ‘wrangling kids’ on stations.

How to explain my role as a governess/nanny is difficult. In my experience alone each family’s needs differ so each job to job is very different.

My first govie job was for a family with a 6 year old boy in Year 1 and a new baby born during the year I was working there.

My responsibilities were everything to do with the schoolroom which was separate to the house. This included anything from setting up the schoolroom and timetable, opening mail bags, ringing up when we had internet problems, cleaning the schoolroom, organising and sending back work. Master 6 came to school around 7.30 am, went home for smoko and lunch and finished school around 2.30pm. I did my prep and cleaning outside these hours.  I had every weekend and holidays off however a lot of these days I spent doing cattle work for the same station.

Very occasionally I might have Master 6 outside these hours if Mum was in town. Also occasionally I might entertain bub for a short period so Mum could get a few things done. Or do the dishes or hang out washing to help out. This wasn’t in the job description and I never felt as though I had to do it.

Outside school I taught Master 6 to ride on a pony that was floating round the station, sometimes I walked out with him, sometimes I led him off my own horses. By the end of the year he was riding out by himself.

In this job accommodation was a donga with its own bathroom which I shared with my partner; a washing machine shared with 3 other rooms and I ate in the kitchen where meals were provided by the station cook.


My next nanny job was informal. Staying with friends for 3 months over the wet on a station where they are the headstockman and cook I helped out with their girls who were aged 1 and 5. Town was 40 k’s away so Miss 5 was run in and picked up from school daily. Mum and I took turns to do the school run or to stay home with Miss 1 so she didn’t have to be woken up early for the morning run or sit in the car quite as frequently.

I also shared a lot of the housework; cleaning, washing and cooking.

In this instance I was living in their house, using the same bathroom, laundry and kitchen.

Although this was not a formal job for me I have included it as it is a real example of what a nanny job on a station could entitle.  


My current job is with a family who have a 5 year old boy who is in Pre-Primary, a 3 year old girl in Playgroup and a 2 year old girl.

The schoolroom is inside the house. My accommodation is a donga room, meals are provided in the kitchen cooked by the station cook except for occasionally smoko and lunch which I eat with the kids if their parents are not in. I have a shared bathroom and laundry with the rest of the station crew. My responsibilities differ from day to day. They can be school of the air, childcare, cooking for the kids or housework related. Sometimes I have 1 kid, sometimes 2 or sometimes all 3. Sometimes I just have Master 5 in the schoolroom by himself until around 10.30am to get his school work done then all 3 float in and out when they feel like it. Sometimes I have 3 all day while Mum goes mustering, or to town or locks herself in her office to do paperwork.

Whether I work weekends and my hours are very flexible. Mostly, but not always I start at 7am and finish anywhere between 3 and 6.30 pm, 5 to 6 days a week. I do all my prep and cleaning the schoolroom during this time. When Mum goes away for work or any other reason I am responsible for full care of the house and kids from when their Dad goes to work 1stthing until he gets home after dark.


Have fun and good luck!
READ MORE in part two of 'Chasing Cows' and 'Wrangling Kids'!
Welcome to our guest blog series of insights from governesses and nannies on stations sharing some of their outback station world.  

This is PART 1 of Shorna's Story 'Chasing Cows' and 'Wrangling Kids'.

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