In February this year (2013) I became a single mum at 21 with a 6 month old baby girl, just out of the relationship from hell. Looking to start a fresh I decided to move up to Karumba, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, far north and a bit to the west Queensland. Otherwise known as the end of the road, it is a small fishermen’s town with a population of 600 on a good day, rough as guts and full of people that have earnt their salt. If I said it was my sense of adventure that made me decide to leave the comfort of a city, I would be lying. In actual fact I was broke, lonely, exhausted and my Mum being a pro fishermen had a house that was practically vacant for most part of the year. So I packed our lives into my Suzuki Swift, a feat in itself, and made the 700km drive from Cairns to Karumba.
It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made.
A month living in Karumba I was trying to find a part-time job that would coincide with being a full-time mum and hopefully help me get some much needed funds together. It was proving to be a difficult task and I had pretty much given up trying. The local pub had work, but the hours didn’t work in with daycare and the fishing season was in the dumps because of a “next to nothing” wet season so jobs on the warfs where few and far between. I was treading the fine line of becoming one of those single mums that sit on facebook bitching about everything and blaming it on their ex, lets face it you all know one, but someone has to do it. Funnily enough it was on facebook that Lachlan Cooke, a mutual friend of my ex and I, asked me if I wanted a job. I cant write my reply because there could be children reading this, so lets just say I jumped at the chance. I didn’t even know what the job was, but I was fairly certain he wasn’t a pimp and I was pretty desperate not to live my life through social media, so at that point I would have cleaned sumo wrestlers arse cracks! After a few more very quickly, grammatically incorrect, desperately written “Yes, I would love a job,” and “I can do anything,” messages I was informed I was the lucky (not so sure at this point) successful applicant (there was only one) that had landed the job as the new cook (AKA. Camp Bitch) for Cookes Hunting Adventures on a self contained semi-permanent camp on a station just outside of Normanton. Ironically I celebrated with a facebook status and a hell of a lot of hashtags, nobody is above hashtags.
A couple of weeks later I drove into the station with the intention of meeting my new boss and seeing where I was going to be living for 3 weeks of every month. When I got there Cooke was MIA so I nervously introduced myself to the station owner Matt and together we quickly worked out I had been stood up by my new employer, awesome start boss! Matt kindly offered to drive me out to the camp, so with my baby girl on my lap, we bush bashed in the run down station ute for what seemed like hours worth of random tracks to find ourselves on the edge of a ridge overlooking a fresh water river.
The camp at that point consisted of 4 steel posts sticking out of the ground, yep 4 sturdy tall steel beams thats all. Of course these beams where all unceremoniously put through their paces by a few quick kicks curtesy of Matt, a nod of approval indicated they were secure. Even though at this point most people would have had the sense to walk away, the cool breeze running down the river, rustling the dry leaves of the trees that lined the bank and the sun baked earth, the smells of the bush, and apart from the three of us, not another soul in sight. This was the kind of place you could live your whole life and not know the stresses or worries that lie in the outside world. It was beyond the reaches of the rat race, beyond even the reaches of the humble hustle and bustle of country life. This place was deserted, is was bare,barren, rough, unforgiving and absolutely stunning. I was in love with this little patch of land with its 4 steel posts and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.