Jealous Jillaroo – Jackaroo Joins the Largest Drove In Aussie Memory

Something very exciting is happening in eastern Australia at the moment. Well, not for me, I’m stuck at home taking care of the farm. Jackaroo has been lucky enough to be involved in the biggest drove in Australian history. A ‘drove’, is moving cattle/sheep from one place to another, feeding them along the way. They can be very long and hard distances traveled. Often, drovers live on the road, going from one job to the next. Cattle baron Tom Brinkworth has taken advantage of the drought and bad cattle prices by buying 18,000 head of cattle from the ages of 8months to 2yrs old. These cattle are being taken down the TSR (Travelling Stock Route), or ‘The Long Paddock’ to their new properties, some 2500km away (over 1500miles). The herd has been split up into 9 mobs, and are travelling 10km a day. There is about 80km/8days between the different mobs of cattle. There are many stock routes in Australia, but some of these cattle are being taken from Queensland to as far as South Australia. It was estimated that it would cost Tom $1,000,000 to truck the cattle to his property, the same cost as taking them down the stock routes. However, considering it will have taken 6 months or so (and 70 drovers!) to do this, and the cattle are getting fed along the way, by the time the cattle get to their destination, many will be ready to be sold – very smart! Droving is a part of Australian life that has been forgotten by the majority of Australians in recent times. This is evident in many of the routes currently being closed, having cattle or sheep permanently on them, mainly due to drought.

Just the weekend past, Jackaroo and I were packing his stuff and getting the horses ready to go. He has taken 4 horses with him and 5 dogs to help them on their journey. The night before he and his fellow drovers were ready to leave, I was busy sewing reflective jackets for the dogs, so they don’t get hit by cars while the travel the roads. As soon as I get a pic of the dogs in their jackets I’ll share them with you! When I spoke to Jackaroo last, he had arrived in New South Wales, and they were taking care of 2000 cattle. He sent me the photo I have attached to this post. Jackaroo is a man of few words. When I get word of his adventures I will pass them on, since I’m not having any adventures at the moment!

However, on the 23rd of October we will both be heading for the Pilbara in Western Australia, where my family lives and works. I am very excited to show Jackaroo and you how beautiful it is over there in the desert. After we come back, Jackaroo will head back droving again.

2000 head of cattle, and working dog 'Storm' in the foreground.
2000 head of cattle, and working dog ‘Storm’ in the foreground.
Watering the mob.
Watering the mob.

43 Replies to “Jealous Jillaroo – Jackaroo Joins the Largest Drove In Aussie Memory”

  1. So glad I have found your blog. I live in Ballarat and it’s not too good here at the moment. I have a few followers from USA and England and would love to reblog some of your posts now and then. OK?

  2. Just cam e across your blog by shear chance. Great stuff that huge cattle drive. We often travel the outback and have seen many mobs along the long paddock. But of course none as big as what Jackaroo is or has been droving. Next year is another lengthy trip trough outback Queensland. Nothing beats camping out and filming what we see and experience along the way. Keep up the good work and writing of course, love it!
    All the best,

  3. Hi there! Yes, I’m interested in how rural areas in other countries work, your blog is great. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoy mine. You want to share some of my posts? Of course you can, I’m honoured! 🙂

  4. That’s just a little bit of a coincidence! Maybe you will. You’ll see a lot of red dirt, that’s for sure lol! Hope you enjoy your Qld adventure, I look forward to seeing photos 🙂

  5. Hi there, yes I am looking forward to seeing more of what you come up with too 🙂 I’m fascinated with rural areas in other parts of the world. Yes, Australia isn’t called the sunburnt country for nothing, so we can relate to you! Thanks for checking out my blog!

  6. Wow! Amazingly, I’m getting on a plane this afternoon to fly from Los Angeles to……..Queensland!
    Maybe I’ll see some of your ‘mobs’ from the air!

  7. Hi Jillaroo! I am enjoying your blog so much (glad you found me!) My husband and I raise a little bunch of livestock in West Texas, and we always theorize there must be some similarities to Australia. Right now we’re in a terrible drought, and when it finally rains it floods (of course). We just watched the Sundowners last week, so seeing the pictures of a real life drove is so exciting. Can’t wait to hear more about your adventures!

  8. Thanks Patty! There’s some great fiction Australiana books that give you a good idea about the country. Rachael Treasure is a great author, I’d recommend checking out her books. There’s one called ‘Jillaroo’ 🙂

  9. Lol glad to hear not literally! Some people do though, that’s why I had to make the reflective jackets for the dogs. Yes you’re right! I’ve got some more photos Jackaroo sent me yesterday that I will post soon. It’s luxury compared to back in the day! Thanks for reading, Mike 🙂

  10. Australia from memory is about 4000k (2500 miles) lol don’t think my family would be to happy if I went backpacking and droving across Australia for 6 months, but I would be better on a horse when I got back

  11. I ran into a few droving mobs during my trip ( not literally though), especially out western NSW … always made me think of Banjo Patterson, Clancy, henry Lawson etc …. must be tough enough job now, let alone back then !

  12. Nah, I also have a full time job in town. I’ve used all my leave up to go on the stations earlier in the year. At least I don’t have a billion dogs to look after while they’re with him lol!

  13. Wow, you’re an interesting lady! In primary school I was intent on being a geologist lol! Yes, the archipelago is amazing. Like most people over there, my parents own a beautiful big boat – I plan on spending a lot of time in the archipelago!

  14. I was an exploration geologist, working around Nullagine, Marble Bar and Whim Creek. I lived in Karratha for five years and spent a fair bit of time in the Dampier archipelago. Beautiful part of the world.

  15. Thanks for reading my post, I’ll try to keep the stories coming! Oh righteo, it was tough back in those days. I would hate to have been a large station owner back in the day! The Australian outback can be very unforgiving! Yes, they are massive distances.

  16. For him, not for me! Lol! Oh really? That’s great! Just because it’s smaller, doesn’t mean the cattle will be better behaved lol! Good luck, I’m jealous of you too now! 🙂

  17. Wow! I didn’t realise that it was only 850miles long. I wonder how wide Australia is… Yes it definitely would improve your riding skills. It improved mine! When there’s trouble with cattle, style and fear goes out the window! The adrenalin starts pumping when you have to gallop through scrub after a runaway. You learn to duck and stick to the saddle in no time! If you ever do visit Australia, a lot of stations employ backpackers. Thanks for reading my post 🙂

  18. Hi Mandy, they’ve just moved from Dampier to Karratha. It is lovely isn’t it! I’ve been adventuring through the desert there and it’s amazing! I think I’ve got red dirt in my veins! What did you do over there?

  19. Exciting! Looking forward to reading more. I’ve read quite few books about Australian farming but they are all about the old days, much more exciting to read about current day adventures! Cool that droving still exists! And the distances are just amazing….

  20. Wow! That’s exciting! I have actually just taken on a job as a drover, heading south from Emerald. It’s not nearly as large as the one Jackaroo is working on.That’s really impressive!

  21. Wow what a fantastic experience, hard to imagine those sort of distances on horse back, the UK is about 850 miles top to bottom, would love to do something like this sometime lol it would certainly improve my horse riding skills

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