Long road back to Mungindi

After three years on the stock route drover Sam Lysaght sees the end in sight

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Sam Lysaght has been in the long paddock with 990 Herefords for the past three years.

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Final leg: Drover Sam Lysaght has been on the road for three years and will reach Mungindi, NSW, in the next week. Pictures: Sally Rigney.

Final leg: Drover Sam Lysaght has been on the road for three years and will reach Mungindi, NSW, in the next week. Pictures: Sally Rigney.

Contract drover Sam Lysaght has been traversing the Queensland stock route with 990 mixed-sex Hereford cattle looking for grass for the past three years.

During this time, he has travelled more than 3000 kilometres heading as far north as Richmond and Kynuna, before heading back down to St George, then through to Thallon. He is now homeward bound.

The cattle are owned by Mungindi producer Stephen Sykes of Bexley Station, who made the decision to put them on the road due to the drought.

"You always think it is going to rain in the next month or so but it didn't, so we had to keep going and it has been tough, but Sam has done a brilliant job with them," Mr Sykes said.

"We've now had 336 millimetres of rain and the cattle will be home in the next week."

Mr Lysaght said overall the Herefords handled the northern summer heat with the temperature soaring to 46 or 47 degrees some days, particularly when they were around the Winton Shire.

"On those days if we had good moonlight we would be up and moving them along by 3am and set up camp about noon to keep them out of the blistering sun," Mr Lysaght said.

He said while they were in the Winton district, Mr Sykes trucked bulls up to join to the females for a three month joining period and they removed them from the mob near Tambo.

"We took the bulls out using the cattle yards at Tambo Station - and the owner David Nugent, who is a top bloke I reckon - got in and helped," Mr Lysaght said.

"I've made some great mates up in Queensland and he is one, and I suppose I made a couple of enemies along the way too."

Sam Lysaght on the stock route near Thallon

Sam Lysaght on the stock route near Thallon

Mr Lysaght has done the job with the help of his uncle Darren Schuller, eight horses and 22 dogs.

"Overall the Queensland stock route is in good shape but at times finding water was a big struggle," he said.

"We have a water truck as part of the plant and some days we were using 100,000 litres, which is the equivalent of three truck loads a day."

He said the only issue on the stock route is the local government in each shire has its own ranger and it depended on them as to how they would treat you.

"Some days we would travel 21-22km, while on others when things go wrong you can only get 5km up the road," Mr Lysaght said.

"The best shires to deal with were Balonne, Maranoa and Murweh that is for sure - they couldn't do enough to help me."

Mr Lysaght said once he delivers the cattle back to Bexley Station, he will carry out the pregnancy testing on the females to see how well they have conceived.

"After that my job is finished."

The story Long road back to Mungindi first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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