The Cattle Empire – The Incredible Journey

The Outback is a colloquial name for the vast desert region that comprises most of Australia’s interior It describes the emptiness, remoteness and the huge distances of inland Australia. In fact nothing says Australia quite like our outback and you can find a little of the outback in every state of mainland Australia The open spaces that seem to stretch on forever tell the story of the exploration and development of our red brown land and reflect Australia’s pioneering spirit and unique identity and nowhere is this more evident than in the livestock industry, especially on the vast cattle stations that cover much of the outback. Australian cattle stations are often mentioned in the same breath as the Australian outback, here cattle kings built their empires encompassing some of the toughest and dry country Australia has to offer. Today we’re going to consider the ultimate cattle empire and discover how it affects each of us Yes, nothing says Australia quite like our outback; from ghost gums around a Billabong, to planes that stretch to eternity and from rugged red mountain ranges and spectacular gorges to the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world and the largest mines in the world, the Australian outback symbolizes the essence of Australia. Here in the wide open spaces adventure and opportunity await at every turn and it was this sense of adventure and opportunity that attracted men of vision who opened up the outback and established cattle stations larger than some European countries. Cattle station is an Australian term for a large farm or ranch whose main activity is the rearing of cattle, cattle stations are a big and important part of the Australian outback and are by far the biggest in the world The Australian outback is so dry and the vegetation so sparse that a large amount of land is needed to support enough cattle to make a living. The style of farming out here is very different from any other parts of the world, cattle are raised in a very natural way, the animals are basically wild, they are usually born and grow up without any human contact, they feed on natural grass and rarely require any chemical treatment. Perhaps the best-known cattle king is Sydney Kidman who established an empire in the 1890s that developed into Australia’s largest land holding and encompasses 19 properties across four states and territories. These Kidman cattle stations cover over 100,000 square kilometres of land in total, that’s more than one percent of Australia’s landmass and larger than Ireland. One of its properties is Anna Creek, the world’s biggest cattle station which stretches across 24,000 square kilometres, now to put this into perspective Anna Creek cattle station is larger than Israel and over seven times larger than the biggest ranch in the United States of America

So how does an Australian cattle station operate? Well to find out we’re going to head to the Kimberley region in remote northwestern Australia to visit the Roebuck Plains Cattle Station which is located near to where the Sydney Kidman Empire stretched – right through to this region Here in the Kimberley’s dreams have always been big while success in the Kimberley’s has often been challenging that hasn’t discouraged the indigenous stockman and traditional landowners who now hold the Roebuck Plains station lease, despite challenges they operate a successful cattle station with a herd of over 30,000 animals in Western Australia The Roebuck Plains station is an iconic pastoral station bordering the Indian Ocean on West Australia’s Kimberley coast. The property has recently been handed back to the traditional owners of the country; the Yawuru people and is now a leading cattle producing enterprise and a successful training ground for young indigenous cattle workers who dream to work in the pastoral industry Aboriginal stockmen and rural workers have played a vital part in developing the cattle industry in the Kimberley and Roebuck Plains station is playing a leading role in ensuring that this tradition continues by training young indigenous people in the skills of cattle work Located just 40 kilometers from the historic pearling town of Broome, Roebuck Plains station covers nearly 300,000 hectares and runs more than 30,000 head of cattle that are cared for by a workforce of mostly aboriginal stockmen with keen young trainees at their side who are helping to build Roebuck Plains into one of Australia’s most significant cattle enterprises The center of the universe on any cattle station is the homestead, where the manager or owner lives. Roebuck Plains homestead is a hive of activity, it’s surrounded by sheds, machinery, mechanic workshops, accommodation for workers, a truck depot, cattle yards, vegetable gardens and on and on it goes One of the most important aspects of life on a cattle station is that everybody who works here is part of a close-knit team, everybody here relies heavily on each other and everybody works hard from sunrise to sunset – team work is an integral part of working life at Roebuck Plains Station [ALI] Teamwork is very important, everyone has to do their role otherwise everything could just go everywhere; cattle be lost out in the scrub or I don’t know someone could get hurt on a horseback. Very important thing to do team work [GARY] Here in northwest Australia there are only basically two seasons; the wet season and the dry season. The dry season is the time for mustering, an incredibly work intensive period of very long days All year the cattle have been grazing freely all over the property but have to be brought in to be taken to market, gathering the cattle together and herding them from the vast outback paddocks to the cattle yard is called mustering Because of the rugged nature of the Australian outback a lot of mustering is still done on horseback, on the morning of the muster the stockmen prepare the horses early, they are put through their paces in the yard before being saddled up and loaded onto trucks and transported to the paddock that is to be cleared of cattle. So yes, horses are still an important part of

station life in Australia’s far northwest, however more and more stations are also using helicopters, quad bikes and motorbikes, but horses are still absolutely essential to the operations of many large cattle stations This is certainly true at Roebuck Plains station where both helicopters and horses are used to muster the cattle, some of the paddocks to be mustered on the station are nearly a hundred square kilometres and the cattle spread far and wide to graze and so the use of helicopters is integral to the mustering operation. Often the heli muster’s work in tandem, dipping and diving, to drive the cattle home, they’re continually, in what pilots call, the dead man zone. Flying low and flying slow using small maneuverable helicopters for the muster is now commonplace on many of the vast stations across Australia that hold a total of 30 million cattle. Each year 10 helicopter muster’s die in crashes, so it’s dangerous work, the helicopters go to the back corners and far ends of the paddock to bring the cattle in towards the watering points where the horses and motorbikes will gather them together and walk them towards the holding yards Once the 1000 are so cattle from this paddock are gathered together they are walked about 10 to 20 kilometers to the cattle yards. During their mustering journey the stockmen work as a team to keep the herd together, they move the cattle slowly and methodically to keep their stress levels low. At the cattle yards they are divided into groups, depending on age and size some will be trucked to the abattoir and others will be prepared for live export, while many of the younger cattle will be weighed and vaccinated and cows pregnancy tested before being returned to the paddock Once all that is done the mustering effort will turn to the next paddock some of which are over 200 square kilometers in size, cattle mustering in the outback is hard work and it’s not for the faint-hearted, but the people involved here wouldn’t have it any other way and wouldn’t change their way of life for anything [country music playing]

[GARY] It’s been a privilege to spend some time on one of the large and progressive cattle stations of the outback and see how they operate and manage a herd of over 30,000 animals It’s amazing to consider such a huge operation with so many cattle, but let me tell you about an even larger operation about the ultimate cattle king and empire here’s what it says in Psalms chapter 50 and verse 10 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” Did you know that God is in the cattle business? Here God is reminding us that he is the ultimate cattle king and that his empire extends not across nine or even nineteen huge properties, but across the entire planet God is almighty, he is the creator, the maker of heaven and earth and so everything belongs to him, every beast of the field and yes the cattle on a thousand hills. His operation deals not with hundreds of thousands not even millions but billions, he deals with billions of creatures and billions of people, God is truly the god of billions, but here’s what’s amazing; although God runs this huge Empire and is God of the billions he’s also a personal God to you and me, isn’t it amazing that Almighty God wants to have an intimate relationship with you and me today and he personally cares for us Listen to what the Bible says in first Peter chapter 5 verses 6 & 7: “Therefore

humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. Casting all our care upon him for He cares for you.” Jesus gives us some insight into just how much God cares for us; when Jesus was here, sparrows were insignificant little birds that were sold for a very low price, two of them for a penny, but listen to what Jesus said in Luke chapter 12 verses 6 & 7: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” So insignificant were these little sparrows that you could buy two for a penny and if you bought four sparrows the seller would throw in a fifth one for free, it was this extra sparrow, this fifth worthless sparrow, of which Jesus said not one of them is forgotten by God. The point that Jesus was making is this; if God is concerned about the fifth sparrow, the worthless sparrow, and notes it’s fate, how much greater must his concern and love be for us, who are worth immeasurably more than the fifth sparrow? In God’s eyes no one is worthless or insignificant, Jesus said that God knows all about us, he even knows the number of hairs on our head, he really cares about each one of us, God’s continued and certain care for us brings peace and contentment to our lives and his love for us is immeasurable and unconditional, even though we may have made mistakes in our lives that have separated us from God, even though we may be experiencing challenges in our lives, even though we may feel worthless – like the fifth sparrow, we are of immense value to God and he still loves us with an unending love. God was even prepared to give his entire empire in order to bring us back to Him and have a close relationship with us He gave His only Son, Jesus, to die in our place, to pay the penalty for the mistakes we have made in our lives, here’s what the Bible says in John chapter 3 in verse 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When God gave Jesus, he didn’t just give the best his Empire, Heaven, had to offer, he gave all that heaven had, he gave everything, he gave his Empire. Without Jesus heaven just wasn’t the same, but God was prepared to give all in order to win us back to him and have an intimate relationship with us, that’s how much he cares, that’s how much he loves us, if you would like to respond to that love and experience the peace and fulfillment that God’s care brings, why not ask for it right now as we pray? Dear Heavenly Father, help us to understand your greatness, your mightiness and your sovereignty, may we grasp the truly amazing concept that although you are the God of the billions you are also our Heavenly Father and our God and that you are interested in us, know all about us and love us personally. Lord, today we want to respond to that love, accept Jesus and have a close relationship with you, help us to walk with you and talk with you today, in Jesus name we pray, amen Thousands of cattle are regularly mustered from the vast paddocks of the Outback, it’s been fascinating watching the helicopters, bull catches, quad bikes, motorbikes and horses rounding up the cattle and moving them to the yards, watching it all happen on such a vast scale is a reminder that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and that he’s the ultimate cattle king and that his empire extends right across this planet and beyond, yet he’s a personal God to you and me and is interested in each one of us and wants to have a personal relationship with us today, he cares about us, if you would like to respond to

that love and experience the peace and fulfillment that God’s care brings, I’d like to tell you about the free gift we have for all our viewers today, it’s an inspiring booklet called: “If God Is So Good…”, this popular book shares the secret of finding true happiness in our lives, it shows us ways to deal with the challenges we face in everyday life, and it shares the good news of God’s great love for us, this book is our gift to you and is absolutely free, there is no cost or obligation whatsoever, so please don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to receive this gift we have for you today Here’s the information you need phone or text us at 0436 333 555 or visit our website to request today’s free offer and we’ll send it to you, totally free of charge, and with no obligation So don’t delay, call or text: 0436 333 555 in Australia or 020 422 2042 in New Zealand or visit our website to request today’s offer Write to us at PO Box 5101, Dora Creek NSW 2264, Australia or PO Box 76673, Manukau, Auckland 2241, New Zealand. Don’t delay, phone or text 0436 333 555 in Australia or 020 422 2042 in New Zealand or visit our website to request today’s free offer Call or text us now. If you’ve enjoyed today’s journey, be sure to join us again next week when we will share another of life’s journeys together and experience another new and thought-provoking perspective on the peace, insight, understanding and hope that only the Bible can give us, The Incredible Journey truly is television that changes lives. Until next week remember the ultimate destination of life’s journey, “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away”