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Ann Britton Outback Photography

Who wants to be my gate opener? (Bore Run)

Checking bores  I would class as the  most important job of our business for obvious reasons. Nothing survives without water, our summer heat greatly reinforces this statement. Before heading out to work every day I drill our workers “have you got water and the Sat (Satellite) phone?” Each of our cars are equipped with UHF radios as well. Most essential is letting others know of where you are going and exactly what you will be doing.  So I practice what I preach. My added essential piece of equipment is my camera bag, I don’t walk out the door without it.

Things needed

The bore run I did was around our closest waters, we have several smaller blocks around the town of Boulia. Goodwood, Queen Vera and Hedford are on the eastern side and Clearview and Kewpie are on the western side. All of them have mobile coverage. Another crucial thing to do before setting out is making sure you have enough fuel, all our vehicles use diesel. (Did I ever mention I love my car, 12months old nicknamed Millie, because it’s a Military Toyota)

fuel up

First bore heading east is called Goodwood 5mile (forgot to take photo of gate, bugger) It was good to see Chum, looking so well, as he will be 10 years old next year. Chum is a pet bullock of a friend of ours whose husband calls him “divorce on four legs.” Chum has a dislike for males and cattle yards, but doesn’t mind a scratch from a female especially if she is offering him apples.


Old fences, another thing that makes my imagination wonder “who built it, in what year, where did the posts come from, how long would it have taken to finish building?”

5 9 mile fence line better

Seeing as I had mobile coverage I took the opportunity to catch up with a friend while doing the bore run, I left them on the fence post while opening the next gate.

talking to friend

Next bore to check was Goodwood 9mile, when I get to a bore I check to see that the troughs are all OK, not leaking and obviously full of water. I also check, that whether tanks or turkeys nests used at the bore site, are full of water also. There were some graceful visitors at the overflow at the 9mile.

Brolga at 9 mile

Little red beaks (Zebra Finches) using the shelter of a prickly tree close to Goodwood 9mile.

red beaks in prickley bush

Notice the old trough frame, the trough is no longer used, the tin long rusted out but the frame still stands true, more history to make me wonder. We have replaced this trough with a cement one. Checking bores also gives me the opportunity to observe the condition of our stock and land, which lately hasn’t been a very pleasant task. Our dry stock, steers and cows without calves, buy diclofenac tablets have been holding their own, which is wonderful to see.

9mile old trough windmill cattle

My next gate, leaving Goodwood, onto the Boulia Common to make my way across the Winton-Boulia road to my next bore to check.

9 mile common gate

Driving through this gate I will be in Queen Vera. The gate has been replaced but the old fence joins the new gate and continues to do what is was erected for.

common Queen Vera gate

There’s some girls, gathering under trees for shade.

cows Queen Vera 3 trees

Some water birds, including ducks, using the overflow of Queen Vera bore as their habitat.

birds at Queen Vera

Even though it was the hottest time of day and there is plenty of shade, some cattle just prefer to lay out in the sun. (yes there was another gate there I forgot to photograph)

cattle laying in sun Queen Vera

The 9 Mile Creek, a bit of a dry argument, would love for it to be flowing in the not too distant future.

9 mile dry creek bed

Some cattle get it right in my honest opinion, spending the heat of the day in the shade of the Coolabahs on the edge of the 9 mile creek.

cattle in shade Queen Vera

There’s always plenty time for reflection, while doing bore runs.


Another gate, but this one is open, the boundary between Queen Vera and Hedford.

Queen Vera Hedford gate

The 5 mile at Hedford is powered by solar, the bore hole and windmill needed replacing, so we opted to install a solar pump. If you look close enough you can see the gauge indicator on the tank to show the level of water in the tank. It is always good practice to not always take for granted these indicators work 100% of the time, so checking the amount of water in tank physically is always a good idea every now and then.

5 mile Hedford

This country is badly in need of a good soaking of rain, I hope I can share with you all soon, the response this magic country gives once water is added. This is what we call flood country.

5mile creek 5mile Hedford

Another gate from 5 mile Hedford to Hedford (shearing) Shed, yes once upon a time sheep country.

5mile Hedford gate

Hedford shed, sheep yards and house, none of which has been used for a great length of time.


My last gate, going from Hedford back out onto the Boulia Common.

Hedford Common gate

I have to drive through Boulia, onto the Donahue Highway, the road to Alice Springs, to our block called Clearview, which I think is aptly named don’t you? We have no stock on Clearview as it usually hosts our young first calf heifers and the feed left wouldn’t sustain them. Clearview has two windmills and two dams as water points when waterholes in creeks dry up, which happened a long time ago.


My completed 100km (or round about) bore run was very successful, all watering points with no troubles.  So who would like to be my gate opener next time?


  1. Paul 

    Not next time but I am fairly sure I will get out there when the heat is more suitable for an old man. Looking very dry and I along with many others hope there is an actual wet season this year.

  2. annbritton 

    Certainly hoping there will be an all over general wet for those that need it right across the top of Australia and where ever else. Will be great when you get the chance to visit during our cooler months, look forward to it.

  3. BB 

    I would absolutely love it! Your country is staggering… the size, the vast flatness of it, the trees, those resilient cattle. And the dry… oh my. Lots of prayers for rain, your way, real soon.

    Enjoyed my virtual drive!

  4. annbritton 

    We’d have to take a packed lunch Amanda, would turn it into a photographing bore run I’m sure. It is a pretty amazing country, but I could be biased. Thanks for your Prayers they are extremely welcoming, let all those that dearly would love/need some rain to receive it.

  5. John 

    Gate opener? Worst job of them all. All that gettin’ out and gettin’ in and Landcruisers are way too high anyway. I think you should install electronic gate openers and then I’ll come and be button pusher. Deal? 🙂

  6. annbritton 

    I’ll provide the ladder John so that will eliminate the Toyota being too high and if we install a few of these (or very similar) would you consider that being a deal?

  7. CountryMum 

    Wow! How many gates was that? Love your post and photos. Your landscape is so vast, and the horizon almost endless. Here’s praying you get good soaking rain really soon.

  8. annbritton 

    G’day Country Mum, there were eight gates in total. Different bore runs could mean more or less gates. I greatly appreciate you dropping by and leaving such a lovely comment. Yes we are known for our wide open spaces and amazing night skies that take my breath away. It still amazes me just how far we can see, especially on still clear crisp winter mornings. Thanks so much for your Prayers, a great deal of Australia needs a good general rain, the sooner the better.

  9. bushboy 

    What a great drive…..I noticed you pinched one of BB’s rear-view mirror shots lol…you gotta remember to get the gate shots next time 🙂

  10. annbritton 

    ha ha Bushboy, I bet I was doing rear-view mirror shots before BB was even thought of (wink wink) LOL and yes I must remember to get those gate shots. Guess what I was doing both times I forgot? Talking on phone ha ha, wouldn’t believe it would you? Glad you enjoyed the drive, please visit again.

  11. Nashville SEO 

    Good day! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok.
    I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

  12. annbritton 

    My Twitter handle is @annbritton, sorry for late reply, Ann

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