Mistake Creek Station, Duncan Highway, NT

Steve and Jo-Anne Craig first came to Mistake Creek in April 1994 to manage it on behalf of the Tjupanyin people who are the traditional owners. When they arrived there were 8000 cattle and eight horses on the station. With hard work, enthusiasm, and a determination to succeed, those numbers have increased to 23,000 cattle and 80 horses. Under the Craigs’ leadership, Mistake Creek has reached a standard where it is used as a role model for other Indigenous Lands Council incentives around the country. Steve has been instrumental in publishing a book titled “Beef Management Work Practices” which is currently used for indigenous training programs.

Steve and Jo-Anne are tireless in their commitment to providing employment opportunities for aboriginal people interested in the cattle industry. With a desire to make a difference, Steve has become involved in the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP). This has been useful in the areas of effective communication, and being able to share skills and insights with Mistake Creek staff as well as the wider community. The program included a visit to China which Steve says was stimulating and interesting.

Employees at Mistake Creek are involved in the training program, completing certificate II, III and IV in Beef Management and some of the young blokes we met in previous years are now the ‘old hands’, with a pride in their achievements.

When Steve became more involved with the ARLP program, Jo-Anne found it necessary to step up and take more responsibility in the everyday running of Mistake Creek. She said it wasn’t comfortable for her at first, and she was afraid of making wrong decisions, but with support from her family and dependable workers, her confidence and expertise grew.

Their broad smiles reflect their generous hearts, and their encouragement and generosity extend beyond their own children and grandchildren to their staff, and visitors. We love going there, and also appreciated it when Steve and Jo visited us at our place when they were on holidays in 2006.

There have been some tough times, and enormous challenges as they’ve worked to make Mistake Creek viable and successful. We think Jo-Anne spoke for Steve as well as herself when she added, with another big smile, “I’m still enjoying it. There’s freedom here, and a laid back life style.”

Steve and Jo-Anne remember our first visit to Mistake Creek in 1996. Steve says, “Kent Saddlery’s service has been a lot of help, and you’re here, on the doorstep, for a good few hours. It’s good to have you here overnight; it gives us an extra opportunity to think about what we need.” Jo-Anne adds, “It’s good to get the group photo – it’s a night when everyone gets together.”