Wave Hill Station covers 13,500 square kilometres of some of the Territory’s finest country and holds a significant place in Australia’s rural history.

Story & photos by Fiona Lake

The vehicle steadily winds its way north towards the station, past groups of cattle sauntering across the road in the darkness, over creeks, up stony hills and through numerous gates. Eventually, Number 25 bore appears and sudden sounds from the bottom of coat pockets alert the mustering contractor’s blokes that their mobile phones are now on the job again after days spent way beyond the signals from any phone tower. Little screens soon cast an eerie glow over the dusty gloom and Jack Terry announces cheerfully that he has three messages. Aaron Land says he has none, adding mournfully, “nobody loves me”, and Josh Ede says impatiently that his phone hasn’t picked up the signal from Kalkarindji yet.
Such technology seems incongruous in the 13,500-square-kilometre vastness of Wave Hill Station, more than 400km south-west of Katherine and nearly 500km north-east of Halls Creek. It still feels geographically isolated, stretching south from the Buchanan Highway towards the Northern Territory’s Tanami Desert.

This story excerpt is from Issue #48

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2006