2011, People, Stories and Articles

Cindy Richter, Alexandria Station, NT

“Girl Friday”

We really appreciate Cindy Richter! Whenever we phone Alexandria Station, it’s so good when Cindy answers because she’s the person who either knows what’s happening, or can be relied upon to find out! Describing herself as “Girl Friday”, she has spent the last five years at “Alex”, and on most “official” work days, she’s at her office desk at 6.25am, takes two hours of breaks during the day, and, on a good day leaves at 5pm. There’s no travel getting to work except a “walk across the flat”, but she feels she’s “on the job, 24/7, because she’s there”.” So, she answers phones, and places and supervises delivery of grocery orders for the kitchen, the stock camps and the five homes on the Station. She organises the transfer of payrolls for Alexandria, Soudan and Gallipoli Stations, to Head Office, and personally dips/measures the fuel tanks for monthly reports. She places orders for, and maintains the canteen, and is on duty there two nights a week. She assists Robyn Peatling with any medical treatments and coordinates the Worker’s Compensation and Accident Reporting, is directly involved in the recording of worker’s training courses, and helps “Mrs P” in the kitchen when Cook, Robyn Jenkinson, is taking days off. Cindy’s first seventeen years were spent in Millmerran, on a property 20kms southwest of the town. She attended Pittsworth High School for Years 11 and 12, and then attended Uni in Brisbane, completing two years of a degree – Bachelor of Applied Science with a Micro-Biology Bio-Chemistry major. (We say, ”Wow!’’)

A major turnaround occurred when she decided to change plans, and completed a Cert IV in Early Childhood… “Probably what I should’ve done in the first place!” She took a nanny’s position at Rockhampton for two years, and spent another year doing “locum- nanny” work in the Toowoomba area.

“I then decided I’d do something totally different, I changed my lifestyle, and in 1999, hopped on a plane to Mt Isa.”

The nanny role changed to governess, and the next five years included life at Manners Creek Station in NT, Herbert Downs and Marion Downs in Qld, Alroy Downs in NT and Miranda Downs in Qld. Cindy thrives on the
challenge of study, including a Cert II in Financial Services. Wanting to move away from working with children, yet continue in the lifestyle which she loved, she hoped this qualification would lead to bookkeeping opportunities on cattle stations.

The opportunity, “with a catch,” came in 2005 when Leanne Jansen from Marion Downs, offered Cindy some bookkeeping experience, with an additional task involved: Cindy “had to cook!’’ Eight months on, the job at “Alex” became available, and Cindy’s new role of Administration Assistant began.

Cindy maintains that “”Alex” is an excellent place to work… a great environment to live in, and Ross and Robyn Peatling are excellent to work for.”

In Dec 2008 Ross broke his leg, and Cindy, in her role as Deputy Medical Officer, had a major part to play in the evacuation. “I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be able to jab my boss with needles.” The memory stimulates another comment from Cindy. “Without the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) out here, we’d be lost, well and truly.” In addition to the “really, really good friendships”, Cindy has made in her five years at “Alex”, she admits she finds it a bit “scary” when she’s at social events like the Brunette Races, and she meets up with young people she’d taught, who are now able to buy her a drink at the bar! The relative isolation of Alexandria Station doesn’t bother this Girl Friday. She likes reading, DVDs, and now and again she takes up an interest in long-stitch. Anyway, since its five years since she did some study, she’s tackling a Diploma in Business!