A string of good seasons and careful stewardship are proving rewarding for those living and working on the Barkly’s vast Lake Nash Station.

Story By Mark Muller

The soft dawn light of a crisp late-March morning slowly increases in intensity, gently illuminating the green earth speeding by below the low-flying helicopter. A distant horizon sharpens like the curved threshold of infinity and there is little to break the emerging line of earth and sky – such is the sweeping vastness of the Northern Territory’s Barkly Tableland. From this height, virtually all the land that pilot Erin Gibson can see is part of Lake Nash Station’s 17,000 square kilometres. After three good seasons the station is a sea of grass, a sea comfortably carrying 72,000 head of cattle.
On the ground below head stockman Chris Giles rides a motorbike through the dense tussocks as the members of his stockcamp follow on horseback. By the time it is light enough to safely work cattle, they’ll be in place to muster the paddock and walk the beasts to the yards beside which they’ll be living for the next few months. It is a relatively tranquil start to a long day that will see the small team engulfed in the noise and dust of the yards before too many hours have passed.
Lake Nash has been owned by the Georgina Pastoral Company since 2003 and managed by George Scott since 2004. Georgina Pastoral itself was formed by Peter Hughes in partnership with George’s father Bill – a business relationship that took good advantage of the breakup of the Stanbroke empire and that was amicably and profitably dissolved in 2009. George, along with wife Dianne and young sons Daniel and Samuel, remained on Lake Nash, which in its current form is an amalgamation of three leases – Lake Nash itself, Georgina Downs and Argadargada.
“It can feel like it goes on forever – it’s called a station, but really it’s a principality,” George Scott says with a flash of the laconic humour that regularly breaks through his forthright demeanour. Certainly there is a set to George that appears to brook little leeway. In truth he has a flexible, agile mind and a warm, keen intelligence well fed by wide and voracious reading habits. All of this comes to bear on his work, both on Lake Nash and in his role as general manager of the bulk of Georgina Pastoral’s suite of stations.

This story excerpt is from Issue #85

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2012