Kent Saddlery counts it a privilege to have been involved with Beyond Billabong, a pre vocational training program designed for mainly young indigenous people. Over a period of 3 years Ben and Daniel Kent have provided training in the leather work segment of the course. Participants have made belts, bridles, quart pot holders, pocket knife and pouches, as well as wrist bands. Ben and Daniel have described the time they’ve spent with the trainee groups as occasionally challenging, satisfying and worthwhile.
In recent years, Lyle and Helen have met increasing numbers of young indigenous stockmen in outback stock camps. It’s encouraging to hear some of them expressing a commitment to continue with work in the stock camps and with aspirations to become head stockmen. They will be models for others who are new to the industry, or who are looking to find employment on cattle stations.
At Mistake Creek Station, Steve and Joanne Craig manage the station on behalf of the traditional owners, the Tjupanyin
people. The majority of the workforce at Mistake Creek are indigenous, and some have been participants in the Beyond Billabong program.
In 2012, during Lyle and Helen’s visit to Mistake Creek, there was opportunity for a photo at the cattle yards and five members of the stock camp willingly lined up; an occasion full of teasing and spontaneous laughter. When headstockman, Jason Di Pasquale indicated it was time to get back to work, the workers cheerfully headed off towards the yards. From a good distance away someone called back. “We’re gonna be in the book eh?”
“You sure are fellas – and looking good!”
1) Marvin Malay, Fenton Karyuka, Nathan Cameron, Donavan Evans and Derrick Yarrak.