Laws of the West according to Claire

View From the Paddock

Quilpie governess and Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl, Claire Jackson.

Quilpie governess and Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl, Claire Jackson.


This year has been quite the tree-change for new View From the Paddock columnist, Claire Jackson.


A year ago I saw a Gumtree ad chasing a governess on a station out past Quilpie.

Deciding that an early life crisis was due, I handed in my notice and left my office girl job behind for a new adventure, 12 hours west.

I grew up on a small cattle property yet I'm the first to admit I'm still quite green in the western world. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:

  • Jocks should be washed separately to burr riddled socks. If you forget this, throw out ALL undergarments. I promise you’ll never get all the burrs out. 
  • The world can still function without mobile phones. Having said that, laying in my swag on the phone to Mum could be compared with winning the lotto!
  • Don’t expect to do any shopping after lunch on Saturdays. 
  • ‘Killers’ has no correlation to animals with murderous intent but those destined for a below 0 climate. 
  • Friday night pizza is worth the 3 hour round trip. 
  • Isolation has nothing to do with location and everything to do with who you are with. 
  • Just because the cow looks cuddly does not mean it is. Its intent may actually be to eat you. 
  • Mustering in an old Suzuki can serve the additional purpose of scrub clearing with a few extra revs. Please note, passengers should wear hats, not however, for sun protection, but to avoid mutilation by sticks. Do not discard them though, as you will use them later for billy kindling. 
  • Expect to be a little too attached to your first poddy lamb. Subsequent ones, not so much. Believe it or not, those adorable little creatures that once melted your heart do just turn into another burry ball of fluff.
  • Mail day is your new favourite day of the week. Also, ANYTHING can go on the mail, including poddy calves!
  • Some roads have this strange black stuff on them? I heard someone call it ‘bitumen’? I’ve only seen it a few times though so haven’t bothered to investigate what it is. 
  • If there is a will there is a way, as long as you have a profusion of ratchet straps, duct tape and WD-40. 
  • Toyota is not a brand of car but the model name for a cruiser ute. Nor is the olden day, horse drawn, mental picture of ‘wagon’ contextually accurate.

 – Quilpie governess and Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl, Claire Jackson

The story Laws of the West according to Claire first appeared on Queensland Country Life.


From the front page

Sponsored by