Imagine living three hours from a town. Three hours if there is an emergency. Three hours from a pub. Well I live three hours away from all of these things.
My name is Krissy Riley and I live and work on a cattle station in the Kimberley. Three hours from anything.
Two years ago, I was a swimming teacher in a Queensland mining town, I was paying $500 a week rent and spending a fortune just living. I was always on my phone. I was reliant on technology to get by in everyday life. I would spend $10 on a gossip magazine, which I would read while eating my microwave dinner. Full of protein and toxic goodness. Was this the life I wanted to live?
I needed some direction. I Googled and I Binged. And I stumbled across a website called www.governessaustralia.com I decided to upload my resume, sit back and wait.
I was not prepared for what happened next. Within three days I got over 30 job offers from all over Australia.
But none of the jobs felt right. Until one day I received a phone call that changed my life.
It was from a woman called Helen, from Anna Plains cattle station, three hours from Broome. She was very polite and got straight to the point. I would be teaching two children School of the Air.
And then she put the children on the phone.I decided right then that I would take the job.
I had never lived or worked on a cattle station before. Flying across the country, I knew this was going to be a big change. I was so nervous. Words can’t explain how I felt that day.
My job turned out to be amazing. It was so fulfilling. Helping two young children learn was truly satisfying. I got to watch them grow and become young adults. They were picking up on my jokes and my sense of humour.
The months past at Anna, and I had slowly come to terms that I no longer had mobile reception. I was reading books instead of watching TV. I was listening to triple j instead of mainstream radio. I was enjoying life!
But when animal cruelty in Indonesia’s abattoirs forced the Australian government to shut down live exports, Anna Plains’ employees feared for their jobs.
And while the station, which musters thousands of head of cattle by helicopter, might seem larger than life, last year it was brought to its knees.
There was a lot of the anxiety on the station during the live export suspension. It was a pretty scary time, you think you’re going to lose your job, your home.
We did stop mustering for about a month, we were going to rallies in Broome, speaking to the members of parliament, trying to really push, say that it wasn’t our fault
It was very difficult to explain to the children who lived on the station what was happening. It is their home, their livelihood basically, being pretty much shunned in front of them.
The station is now back up to normal, although I think many people have been affected. I know a lot of people would have lost their jobs: a lot of jillaroos, jackaroos, ringers, things like that, and it’s obviously going to affect a lot of young people out there.
Two years on, moving here, three hours from anywhere, I still believe it is best thing I had ever done!
OPPORTUNITES GALORE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN RURAL REGIONAL AND REMOTE AUSTRALIA
Krissy was one of 33 young Australians who were selected to participate in the 2012 Heywire Regional Youth Summit which takes place over six days each February. Young Heywire winners aged 16 – 22 fly in from all over the country to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for an all-expenses-paid week where they discuss ideas, walk the corridors of power and make life-long friendships.
Each Heywirer represents a rural or regional pocket of Australia, and was chosen to attend on the strength of their written, video, audio or photographic stories that they shared on this website.
Over the week the Heywirers do heaps of activities, some important and serious, others just plain fun. The week includes a reception at Parliament House, a visit to the Australian War Memorial, optional sporting activities at the AIS, a tour of ABC Canberra (including a chance to sit at the news desk!), and the Heywire No Talent Quest.
There are plenty of optional sporty activities too, like touring the AIS, visiting the Sportex museum and even using the professional training facilities at the AIS alongside elite athletes.
The Heywire Regional Youth Summit is a chance for the participants to develop outstanding ideas and proposals that will create change in their local communities.
Krissy and her Heywire team of Melody Pedlar, Alyssa Allen and Emma Visser are hoping to create a website that is a one-stop shop for information on rural issues.
“I’m working with a group I met at the Heywire Summit that’s raising awareness about agricultural communities, what you can do, what jobs are out there and what education is available. For instance, if you’re doing School of the Air and you want to do extra courses, you can go there and click on the education link and check it out and see what’s available.” said Krissy
Their website which will be called “AGregate” would also help show careers in the Agrifood Sector as a viable career option that people might not know about.
Hear the girls present the AGregate team pitch here