2013, People, Stories and Articles

Emily Bryant, Headstockman, Newry Station, Victoria Highway, N.T.

“I should, I could, I will.’’

Emily Bryant could be described as “a slip of a girl,” however the impact she has in the stock camp at Newry Station is anything but small. She doesn’t mind being labelled the headstockman, which is her role and she suggests that “you have to be a bit of a man.” At various times she admits to asking herself, “What am I doing?”
Emily was born in Mitchell, Q’LD, a town and community which she and her family loved and continue to visit for holidays. It was a hard move for the family when, at age ten, Emily shifted to Toowoomba with her Mum and two older siblings for the purpose of secondary education.

After leaving Glennie school Toowoomba in 2005, Emily completed a year of a nursing qualification at University, and then spent a year in retail, selling jewellery. She returned to nursing studies, and needing a break, spent some time visiting her older brother Hugh, who was working at Humbert River Station, N.T. During the visit, an interest in cattle station life was stirred and in mid 2008, when the cook’s job at Humbert became available, and following a brief time of “do I, don’t I?,” Emily packed her gear and was gone within four days. “I didn’t even say goodbye to some of my friends. They were texting and asking me was I really in the Northern Territory?’’ Following an enjoyable year at Humbert working with Tom Shephard, Cameillia Armstrong and their young family, in 2009 she returned for another year of cooking , with the added bonus of helping with yard work and horse riding whenever she could.

In spite of big brother Hugh’s gruff, yet protective comment, “The stock camp is no place for a woman!” in 2010 Emily joined the stock camp; “a big change, and something I’d always wanted to do.”

She’d met her partner Henry Anderson the first year she was at Humbert; their love for each other matched by their love for the Northern Territory and the associated lifestyle. Henry was headstockman at Newry in 2011, and in 2012 was training for a helicopter licence.

He encouraged Emily when Tom Shephard, now Manager at Newry asked Emily if she’d run the camp at Newry in 2012. “Why don’t you do it?” urged Henry, and with Tom’s assurances that he wouldn’t be offering her the job if he didn’t think she could handle it, and etc, Emily’s initial response, “I should do it” escalated gradually to “I could do it,’’ and concluded with a resounding “I Will do it!’’

And doing it she is! The day before our arrival at Newry, Emily and “her” stock camp had successfully walked 1500 weaners a distance of 20 kilometres. Emily, riding in the lead, was completely satisfied. “I was like a proud parent and I was so proud of the weaners, and the team. This is why I love it.” (“I’m so proud of you” is an identical sentiment voiced by Emily’s Mum concerning her daughter’s achievements.)

Emily loves using horses to work cattle and is continually learning more stock handling skills from Tom, through observation and instruction. “In the yards I watch him do something with the cattle that works and I think, “Wow!”….. I’m a big fan.”

In addition, Emily has attended regular low stress stock handling schools, and is rewarded when novice members of the stock camp begin to acquire useful and necessary skills. She’s enthusiastic. “Its great, seeing even one little thing work for them.”

Emily is content and challenged in her role at Newry; she appreciates living close to Kununurra and values her meaningful friendship with the Shephard family. She is philosophical and relaxed about her future in the industry. “I’ve acquired life knowledge from stock camp work; I’m happy and I’ll take each year as it comes.”