Brickhouse station, in WA’s Gascoyne region, has been reconfigured and is set to make the best of good seasons.
Story Mark Muller Photo Nathan Dyer
The hiss of powerful hydraulics sounds across the yards as the crush gates open and shut, holding firm to another healthy looking cow. Aaron Land is like a puppet master at the console of these new yards on Brickhouse station. It’s safe, secure, efficient and state-of-the-art. Not one for overstating things, the young station manager smiles and says, “Yep, it works pretty well”.
The yards are a prime example of the investment in infrastructure and modernisation that’s quietly been undertaken on Brickhouse station over the past six years. Harvest Road – part of Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s Tattarang Group – bought the renowned Gascoyne property in 2015 when the region was at something of a low ebb. Debilitating cycles of drought and flood, poor wool prices, the concurrent lack of investment and broader market conditions meant that not a lot of money was being poured into properties across the area.
That’s certainly changed on Brickhouse, and more recently on other places nearby. The five years leading into the 2021 season were remarkable in just how dry they were – 100mm of patchy rain in a place that usually averages 250mm. Things took a significant turn for the better at the start of this year, with 250mm falling in February and March, alone, and follow-up rains in April, with still more coming courtesy of the tail of Cyclone Seroja. The country has responded well. Grasses, legumes, herbage, white-barked river gums, birdlife, lizards and, of course, cattle are thriving on Brickhouse.
“It doesn’t take much water to turn this country,” Aaron says.
The full version of this story was published in both OUTBACK magazine and the 2021 edition of our special one-shot magazine OUTBACK Stations.
This story excerpt is from Issue #138
Outback Magazine: August/September 2021