Jackie had got away early Thursday for Goondiwindi (Gundy to the locals) for a service on her car before going on holidays.
She had bought her car from one of the back-packers when he left and she’s slowly doing it up. Cars here are pretty scarce. Soong, one of the casuals had a car but loaned it to another of the workers one night. No licence and didn’t know how to drive in Australia. The story is, he was going too fast, swerved to miss a pig and hit a tree. Soong was paid back and another “bomb” was purchased.
The only boyfriend/girlfriend couple have an old station wagon and one other kid from Dalby, who doesn’t have a licence yet, has an old Patrol that he drives everywhere at breakneck speed.
They only have one speed, (flat out), in all the vehicles and you can hear them coming home 1 km away. At the moment the day shift travel the 4km down the road in one car and the night shift use the other.
They start their day down at the weight bridge for the usual pre work meeting and then head off to where the’re are working.
No one wears seatbelts as they are used to getting in and out of farm vehicles, so when Chris went down to the office with Jackie yesterday it stood out as he automatically put his seatbelt on. Jackie has now started to “practice putting hers on” before she heads away.
Most comment that they reach Gundy, 100km away before they realise they haven’t got their seatbelts on and they have to use indicators.
You have to get a picture of the space out here to understand. There’s one road out of here, turn left and travel 22km to Talwood, turn right for 13km to Boomi. Each town has a pub but Boomi has one with pokies, each town has a general store which includes the post office and the closest policeman is in Garah 57km away. We have decided it’s probably safer to stay off the roads at night . When they do go to the pub, they drive home and as one told us, it took him 2 hrs to get the 13km home the other night as he kept driving off the road.
The property runs from the river which is the NSW/QLD boarder and along the road to Boomi and then approximately 50km inland as you can see from this Google map. It is 40,000 acres and about 160 sq km. In addition to cotton they also grow wheat. There’s about 9,000 acres currently planted in cotton that will be ready for harvest in a few weeks. They lost quite a lot of the crop in the recent floods.
There are about 10 managers and supervisors living in various houses on the property and it is possible to have up to 80 workers at various times.
So after clearing breakfast, Chris and I headed the 111km to Moree. We needed to get a couple of things and Chris wanted to check out the suppliers that they currently use.
Chris is working on giving Martyn our boss an updated, fully costed menu and stock sheet. Martyn asked Chris to do that this week before the take over. Martyn was planning to come out and run through everything but unfortunately, his 32yr old sister passed away the other day from a heart attack.
So Chris will have everything ready for him when stock take is done Tuesday.
At the moment Jackie just cooks anything she wants as there is no costed menu. She has no idea on other costs that relate to a catering budget including her wages and ALC’s. Jackie assumes if you get $25 from each person per day that’s what you can spend.
( Colin, you can imagine what was going through Chris’s head as she is purchasing Chicken Kiev at $110 a box for 11-12 people.)
Unfortunately when you live out here you can’t look around for the most competitive supplier. You have to take the ones that will deliver to you. Unless you have a refrigerated van don’t
think you can drive in and pick up a weeks supply of meat, juice, bread, fruit and veg and other commodities in your own ute. It’s 100km + to the nearest large town and only Moree has a catering supplier. Any of the bigger suppliers are 300km away and wouldn’t come out weekly for this small order.
So with our few items purchased and a quick lunch at the RSL we headed back home.