Mustering




Musters in Australia, usually involve cattle, sheep or horses, but may also include goats, camels, buffalo or other animals. Mustering may be conducted for a variety of reasons including routine livestock health checks and treatments, branding, shearing, lamb marking, sale, feeding and transport or droving to another location. Mustering is a long, difficult and sometimes dangerous job, especially on the vast Australian cattle stations of the Top End, 'The Falls' (gorge) country of the Great Dividing Range and the ranches of the western United States. The group of animals gathered in a muster is referred to as a "mob" in Australia and a "herd" in North America.
Aussies muster their livestock, with various vehicles, horses or with aircraft.






Cowboys in Australia are called stockmen or jackaroos. Women are called jillaroos.
Australian Aboriginal cowboys played a large part in the life of Top End cattle stations. These men and women are splendid stockmen and are an integral part of the musters. Mustering in the Top End is conducted during the dry season from April to September when additional stockmen will be employed for the purpose. Initially, mustering here involved having stock camps where about three to seven ringers under a head stockman or overseer rode out with the horses to the area to be mustered.





The musterers started early each day by bringing up the hobbled horses, saddling up and then spending a long day mustering, branding, castrating and drafting the cattle. These long days were hard on man and beast with each having to contend with the heat, dust and flies. The men endured camping on the ground and had a monotonous diet of meals that were cooked on an open fire, usually by an unskilled cook.




Australian cowboys chase aggressive, rogue bulls or buffalo in the Top End of Australia, and they are captured using specially converted 4WD ‘bull catcher’ vehicles to bring them down prior to their transportation. This work can be very dangerous and requires great skill and agility on the part of the stockmen involved. Sometimes professional bull catchers, who were paid per beast captured, were used for this work.



A 'bang-tail muster’ is conducted to accurately account for cattle on large properties by cutting the tail brush before their release. Thus those with long tails have not previously been counted.

Musters usually involve cattle, sheep or horses, but may also include goats, camels, buffalo or other animals. Mustering may be conducted for a variety of reasons including routine livestock health checks and treatments, branding, shearing, lamb marking, sale, feeding and transport or droving to another location. Mustering is a long, difficult and sometimes dangerous job, especially on the vast Australian cattle stations of the Top End, 'The Falls' (gorge) country of the Great Dividing Range and the ranches of the western United States. The group of animals gathered in a muster is referred to as a "mob" in Australia and a "herd" in North America.

If you want to be a Australian cowboy, you'll be working very long days from sunrise to sunset, often seven days a week, and the work will be hot and dusty.





Working  at a cattle station

Cattle station work is officially the most dangerous job in Australia, with the most injuries and deaths per year.
You need to pull your weight, and there is no room for petty gripes or for whingers.
You will be working hard from sunrise to sunset, often seven days a week, and the work will be really hot and dusty.
No vegetarians, as food consists of minimal fruit and Veg, your diet will be meat, meat and rationed water.


Cattle stations are remote and isolated. Think hard about whether this really sounds like you, because the last thing they need during mustering is a worker who wants leave after two days, it will not happen.