Cattle station work featured on ‘Big Australia’ – 7Mate TV channel

The most recent episode of  7Mate’s  ‘Big Australia’ TV series featured life on a northern Australian cattle station.  Over the one hour programme, 3,000 head were mustered out of Green Holes paddock on the Acton Land & Cattle Company’s ‘Millungera’ Station, in Queensland’s Gulf Country.

Brothers Graeme and Evan Acton are well known in the northern Australian cattle industry – keen campdrafters as well as long-term cattle station owners. The Acton family arrived in Australia from Ireland in the 1860s and Graeme and Evan started out in the Rockhampton area of Central Queensland.  Acton Land & Cattle Company now own 7 cattle stations covering around 4 million acres, carrying 150-180,000 Santa Gertrudis and grey Brahman/Charolais cross cattle.  The Acton family bought Millungera in 1980.  The million acre station with 23 artesian bores runs around 35,000 cattle.

Unlike most similar programmes, ‘Big Australia’ features interviews with almost everyone on the station,  and these interviews are a lot longer than an editor usually allows.  So viewers get to hear a range of people speaking about station life and what their job involves, giving those unfamiliar with cattle station routines, climate and challenges a much better understanding than is usually the case.  The people interviewed include Graeme Acton, Evan and his wife Kim, Philip Acton (manager), Tom Acton, pilots Kent Hansen & Ben Hutton, Reg (bore drain delver), Luke (headstockman), Elliot Batchelor (leading hand) Heidi (jillaroo), Neil (preg tester), Kevin (Nashy) Nash (grader driver/plant operator), and Imran (a genial English Muslim backpacker working as fill-in station cook, cooking non-halal beef day in day out).

Like all the other television programmes on Australian outback cattle stations, ‘Big Australia’ did include a few of the usual sorts of  over-dramatisations but these were relatively minimal.  ‘Big Australia’ did offer the clearest and most helpful  information on ground and aerial cattle station mustering – including chopper mustering explanations – that I’ve ever seen on television.  Very thought provoking and interesting.

If you missed it, this episode can be seen on Channel 7’s Yahoo website. But be quick because apparently episodes are only viewable for 7 days after screening.  Produced by Tim Boric for Southern Cross Austereo.

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