The R.M.Williams Longreach Muster gave competitors whose combined responsibilities include running 30 million hectares - almost four percent of the Australian landmass - the chance to take time-out.

Story By Mark Muller

The weather was gentle and the competition strong when station people from around Australia travelled to central Queensland in mid-September for the fifth R.M.Williams Longreach Muster.
The muster is held over three days, with Friday’s drove of a small mob of cattle from Ilfracombe to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame by a group of 30 riders marking the start of a good-spirited weekend of relaxation, conversation and friendly sporting rivalry.

Across the Saturday and Sunday, cattle companies competed in the invitational Stockman’s Challenge (designed to test the everyday working skills of station life), the Golden Spurs Campdraft and enjoyed the Bronco Branding competition, Station Buckjump and State Of Origin Rodeo.
“It’s a chance for R.M.Williams to give something back to the cattle companies with which we do so much business during the year,” R.M.Williams CEO Hamish Turner said. “We don’t put on flash lunches, we don’t wine and dine, so this is our chance to say thanks and to provide an event at a special place where friendships are made and fostered,” he said.

The weekend is also a chance to celebrate the heritage, skills and characters that are enshrined by the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, to which proceeds from the weekend go. Graeme Acton is deputy chairman of the hall, a director of the Acton Land & Cattle Company and, along with his brother Evan and nephew Phillip, the winner of the R.M.Williams Stockman’s Challenge Team Championship for 2010.

“I’m glad we won the event, and I’d like to thank everyone involved,” Graeme said. He is adamant that the competition and skills on display are a vital part of keeping Australia’s bush heritage alive. “It’s very important that we keep the younger generation abreast of how this country was developed, and the muster helps do that,” he said.

This story excerpt is from Issue #73

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2010