2013, People, Stories and Articles

Dave Deighton, Lorraine Station, Queensland Gulf

Dave has been riding in his Kent saddle now for over a decade. Given the amount of consistent hard work in which the saddle has been put to the test, his comments about the saddle are satisfying.

“They’re very hardy saddles, eh? I don’t know how many young horses I’ve had flip over on this one. Even this fella when I broke him in at Caldervale, he went straight over onto a heap of rails, and the saddle is still OK.

Experience, Effort and Expertise’’

It’s something of a rarity to meet the likes of Dave Deighton, who was Livestock Overseer at Lorraine Station in 2012. Apart from a short time spent in the mines, involvement with horses, cattle and cattle dogs has dominated Dave’s working life. A lot of time, effort and expertise has also been devoted to the training of stock workers, “which,’’ he adds with a smile “is like training a young dog.”

Dave is candid when he admits that he “never got along with school,” and in 1990, at age fifteen, he started work at South Galway Station, in far South West QLD. For most of the two years at South Galway, he and the other ringers camped out. “In Winter, it was cold on the Cooper.”

In twenty-two years of employment, Dave has stayed inside the Queensland border and has covered some ground across the state. He has ridden the hills, plains, valleys, gorges and sand hills of several cattle stations…. South Galway, Brighton Downs, Clonagh, Kamilaroi, Augustus Downs, Strathmore, Donors Hill, Caldervale, and Lorraine. As a contract musterer, he also traversed the country around Augathella and Tambo, Mareeba, Cairns and Port Douglas.

During his twenty-two years of stock experience, Dave’s skills and interest in working cattle with horses and dogs has continued to develop and grow. “I’ve done quite a lot of horse breaking and horse shoeing. Even when I was working in the mines, it was week on, week off, and during the week off I worked with up to eighty-five horses.” Working as the Head Stockman on different cattle stations added to Dave’s knowledge and experience and together with other employment ventures, he’s had his fair share of excitement and challenge. Contract mustering gave Dave an opportunity to “get pretty big into dog work; mainly with Kelpies; using them for educating weaners.’’ Four years spent at Strathmore in the QLD Gulf were particularly enjoyable “… mustering wild cattle in wild country; at the end of the day it was satisfying getting a mob into the yards.”

We’d driven out with Dave and members of the stock camp as they were shifting cattle, and Dave’s success in training both cattle and people was evident in the workers’ ability to independently handle the mob while we spoke with him. Dave comments positively about working with and training groups of young people. “Its satisfying to me; when they develop good personal skills and work well within the team.”

As Dave sits “relaxed and comfortable in his saddle,” it’s clear that he’s reaping the benefits of the years of effort; his experience and expertise making him a man at home in the North.

Image caption:

1) Dave with a mob of cattle at Lorraine Station