Peter and Linda Cause have been building quality cattle yards on remote stations for 20 years, having three children on the way.
Story By Darryl Cooper
Take 45 tonnes of railway iron, nearly four kilometres of steel cable and more than 20 tonnes of two-inch (5.1-centimetre) steel pipe. Mix it with 120 kilograms of welding rods, a lot of bush ingenuity and seven weeks of hard yakka and you have a set of cattle yards that will last a lifetime and more.
For eight months of the year, third-generation cattle-yard builder Peter Cause and his wife Linda travel the north of outback Australia setting up camp in the most remote corners of vast cattle properties and building yards that may handle up to 5000 head of stock.
Yard building runs in the Cause family. Peter’s father and grandfather built the first steel trap yards for the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) on Auvergne Station in the Northern Territory, in 1968 (managed at the time by Lloyd Fogarty). Steel drafting yards followed, starting on Rockhampton Downs in 1969. From then until the late 1980s they built about 80 sets of yards, mainly for stations owned by AACo.
By 1989, Peter had worked for a couple of years as a forestry ranger in Maryborough, Qld – where he met and married the office girl – and was ready to take over the yard-building business when his parents retired.
“We built our first set of yards at Maneroo near Longreach and then a horse yard at Planet Downs and it’s been ongoing from there,” Peter says. Since then, Cause Contracting has traversed northern Australia with yard-building jobs across three states at Tobermorey, Gregory, Austral Downs, Landsdowne, Brunette Downs, Wave Hill and Rocklands among many others.
Three children added an interesting dimension to the travelling life of the Causes. Matthew was born in Maryborough in 1992 while the family worked at Headingly Station, Jack was born in Mount Isa in 1994 and Felicity came along in Maleny during the summer break of 1997.
For Linda, it was a constant worry having little children in the camp, so far from medical help. “There was a time when Jack fell into a drum of cement powder,” she says. “One of the offsiders found him with his legs sticking out of the drum and cement powder in his ears and nose."
This story excerpt is from Issue #59
Outback Magazine: June/July 2008