Raising the fifth generation on the land

FAMILY FARM: Wendy Sheehan is the fourth generation of hr family on Trinidad Station.
FAMILY FARM: Wendy Sheehan is the fourth generation of hr family on Trinidad Station. Contributed

WENDY Sheehan couldn't help but come back to her childhood home at Trinidad Station.

The 106,800 hectare property, 200 kilometres north-west of Quilpie, has been in her family for four generations.

After her father died, Wendy and her husband Pete came back to Trinidad Station to help Wendy's mother.

"I grew up out here,” Wendy said.

"I moved away, worked, got married, and came back in 2000 when my father passed away and my mother was going to be here on her own.

"She was going to sell the place but then decided she would rather not, and asked if we wanted to come into a partnership with her.”

Wendy said the choice to come back to the family property wasn't a hard one.

"I still did rural work,” she said.

"I was a jillaroo or a nanny.

"It was a big opportunity for us because at that stage there was no way we could afford to buy our own place as much as we would have liked to.”

Wendy lives on the station with her husband, Pete, mother Margaret Pegler, and three children, Jennifer, Taylor and Dan.

"Mum still lives here on the place now. She'll be 85 this year,” Wendy said.

"Actually this year in October it will be 60 years since she came here.

"My father inherited from his grandmother. My kids are the fifth generation.”

The Sheehan family- Taylor, Jennifer, Dan, Wendy and Pete.
The Sheehan family- Taylor, Jennifer, Dan, Wendy and Pete. Contributed

Jennifer (Year 9) and Taylor (Year 7) attend boarding school in Toowoomba, while Dan (Year 2) is at home doing school by correspondence.

Wendy said all her children had shown at interest in taking over the property.

"At the moment all of them at the different stages have said 'oh well we'll take over when you and Dad are old' or 'when you're dead' they say that occasionally too,” she laughed.

"They'll make their own road when they get there, but the opportunity is there if they want to do something on the land.

"They had to help us with the cluster fencing which they weren't so thrilled about. But they like the stock work. Everyone likes the stock work.”

Trinidad Station is a sheep and cattle property with 3000 sheep and 600 head of cattle.

"We're fairly understocked we're still getting our numbers up from last time it was dry,” Wendy said.

"Cattle numbers are a bit slow to build up by their nature, but we're trying to get the sheep numbers up a bit more.

"We used to run about 7000 sheep here but the dogs started becoming a big issue in the early 2000s.

"They've had a pretty big impact on our sheep. We've just finished an exclusion fence with our neighbours which gives us about 16,200 hectares that we have inside that area.

"So we just have to clear the dogs out of there and then we'll feel a bit more secure about the sheep.”

Wendy said she also thought the wild dogs also cause the sheep to mismother.

"I don't think they eat them all but they mismother a lot. The old ewes have a panic attack,” she said.

"At the start of lambing for us this year, the kids are very good at finding poddy lambs for us, but we picked up 12 one day.

"Most of them were bogged in the dam. They were only day or two-day-old lambs so they shouldn't have been looking for water.

"So I think considering that number, we might pick up one or two at a time but 12 is a lot, I think something must have gone through the mob the day before and mismothered them.

"And once they were mismothered they were thirsty and went to the dam.”

Wendy said the recent rain could not have come soon enough.

"Sometimes Dan is my helper and sometimes Peter, but I've been putting out 1.5 tonnes of cotton seed every day since well before Christmas, October or November.

"Water was becoming a big issue. Down where the sheep are there are two dams, and one of those was about to be finished.

"We were looking at having to get rid of most of the sheep and just keeping a core herd that we could hand feed and water.”

As a way to connect with the world outside the station, Wendy uses instagram to post amazing photos of life in the bush. Check out some of her shots at bulldust_and_mulga.

Topics:  queen of the paddock station life trinidad station

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