An evolving succession plan and opening up to visitors during a pandemic has enabled Moble station to remain afloat following years of drought.

Story Annabelle Brayley  Photos Katrina Lehmann

It’s 4.30am and Meg Rutledge has a big couple of days ahead of her. Her life has taken a handful of unexpected turns in the past three years and she is about to be one lamb marking closer to accepting lead custodianship of Moble, her family’s sheep station, 70km south-west of Quilpie in south-western Queensland.

Meg’s boyfriend, Lachie Dean, has come down from the Gulf to lend a hand. On their way to the big house for breakfast, she sets the sprinklers on the lawn around her cottage. Although it’s only mid-October, and an unusually cool morning, summer is waiting hotly in the wings.

Over breakfast, courtesy of her mother Kylie, Meg and her father, Brian, discuss the day’s mustering. They’ve booked an ultralight to meet them in Coolna, a 7000ha paddock 17km from the house, so there’s no time to dally. An old friend, Jonno Healey, turns up to help and, by 5.30 they’re headed south down the Tobermory Road; a fast-tracking kaleidoscope of colours, with the Moble Pastoral crew all wearing the distinctive Liberty neck scarves that flag just one of Kylie’s creative enterprises.

Alec Edwards is in the air and the wind is blowing in exactly the right direction, so by mid-morning they’ve walked the farthest ewes and lambs about 10km into Bannerman’s Yards, one of four sets of sheep yards located across their 45,000ha of Channel Country. Leaving that lot on water, they clean out another 4000ha paddock, yard them next to the first lot and slip home in time for lunch.

This story excerpt is from Issue #135

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2021