Matriarch sisters Mavis Dye and Hazel Stonnill keep sheep property “Cocketgedong” productive by combining traditional ways with the new ideas of their descendants.

Story By Genevieve Barlow

When Mavis Dye arrived, aged 50, on “Cocketgedong”, a large sheep spread in the New South Wales Riverina in 1977, she was given a bedroom in the interior of the station’s rammed-earth homestead. With walls near thick as wool bales and a deep-set window in the corner, it was a cool, dark refuge in the baking summers and easy to warm in winter. However, Mavis likes to see the day unfold so she took to the verandah sleep-out, with its flywire surrounds, and has been there ever since.
“I can see the sun rise and set from here,” she says as she sits atop her bed warmed with a rug she wove herself. From here she can see across the green lawn to the oaks and palm trees beyond. Like many of her generation Mavis, or May, now 86, says she doesn’t mind being exposed to the elements.

This story excerpt is from Issue #90

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sept 2013