Restoration of reserve’s pastoral history

about  Carnarvon Reserve  
on 25 Jul 2016 

Seated at my kitchen table with two very likeable male guests, I smile as both men laugh at my attempt to explain the reasoning behind my perceived interrogation. We’re enjoying a cuppa and some home-made fruit cake, baked especially by Mrs Joyce for her husband deBurgh’s road trip into Carnarvon Station Reserve. 

My logic is dismissed by deBurgh with a chuckle and a slightly subdued nod, signalling to John in agreement that perhaps my question relating to ‘Whether the restoration project has a timeline?’ was indeed a little impolite. Nonetheless, I suspect a man such as deBurgh Joyce has a very detailed plan (if only in his head) of exactly how this project might unfold, including a timeline…

One of the joys of living and working on Carnarvon is the captivating and inspiring people that cross our path each year. Although not everyone arrives with a conservation undertaking in mind, very few leave uninspired in some way by this amazing landscape. And deBurgh Joyce and John Hay were no exception.

Two rural gentlemen with an outstanding passion for detail, sustainability and good old fashion hard work, they recently returned to Carnarvon to collect an old 1950’s truck that deBurgh has commandeered as a restoration project.

A fortuitous project, initiated after a visit to the reserve by the Upper Dawson Wildlife Preservation Society they belong to, deBurgh and John spotted the old truck parked in what was to be its final resting place near the old cattle yards. Sinking deep into the earth around it as it weathered the rust and many of its other more native intruders, most had given up on the old workhorse.

Conversations with Reserve Manager Chris Wilson and other locals, along with their own research, have revealed that the old truck was possibly one of only eight others of that model imported into Australia in the late 1950s. From what we know, it was once the chief means of transportation for carting cattle and other livestock such as horses out of Carnarvon during its period as a working cattle station. 

The run down set of trap yards in the eastern section of the reserve suggests that this was possibly a common destination for the old truck. Aged budgeroo tree posts and fallen rails stand in silence, the sounds of stockmen and livestock long gone.

A scout seat is mounted in a tree close by with a steel shearers stretcher. It would have been used by stockmen on cold winter nights when they would wait patiently, ready to swing the gate as the brumbies walked into the trap.

The old truck tells a story of another time at Carnarvon Station, another reminder for us as custodians of this incredible country that all our histories – Aboriginal, pastoral and natural – have made a contribution to what is today Carnarvon Station Reserve.

If you have any information that could help in the project, please don’t hesitate to contact our Reserve Manager Chris Wilson. And in the meantime I’ll keep you posted on how deBurgh is going with that timeline on the project.

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