“Having taught in both private and public schools for a number of years, I decided that 2012 was the year for something different, something I'd always wanted to do but hadn't got around to.  So I found a job, and made arrangements to spend a year teaching not in a school, but on a cattle station! And I'm glad I did!

Leaving behind the fast pace of the city, the stress of school life, and the busyness of regular classroom teaching, I entered the world of family life, school by radio (or rather, conference calls and interactive computer classrooms) and space - lots and lots of space! Fresh air, animals, and blue sky as far as you can see. The family welcomed my partner and me into their little community and made us feel welcome. The kids didn't take long to warm up to us, and were soon showing us all around their 'world' with gusto.

There are so many things I loved about living and working on a cattle station! Travelling to work was a non-event, no traffic to battle, no worries about parking spaces, just out my front door and walk about twenty metres, and there I was! 

Using lessons provided by the School of Distance Education, along with a bit of creativity and some common sense, our mornings consisted of getting stuck right into lessons, including the daily conference lessons with the class teachers. The messier and less intense subjects usually followed lunch, along with a bit of physical activity, usually in the form of swimming, walking, bike riding, pony riding, obstacle course, ball sport, or even running races around the Xmas trees! Art and craft was also a big thing each day, as the girls were very creative. Cooking, science experiments, picnics, excursions, you name it!

I had a wonderful time as a “home tutor”, and after some travelling, I may well consider returning to such a position. It is a world apart from city life. Busy, yes, and there are more people around than you'd think! But without the stress, without the worries, just the beautiful landscape, a few animals (a lot of cattle) and some great people to share the experience with. I have so many great memories of this time...

having a Pink Picnic with the girls one afternoon in my backyard - pink food, pink drink, pink clothes and party games!

'Fun Days' with some local kids and their parents who came to visit - treasure hunt, relay races, cookie decorating, pass the parcel and more!

playing 'Pirates' with the girls in the mud

relaxing in the hammock and listening to the gentle breeze and bird calls

collecting fresh eggs from the lovely hens

horse riding through the paddocks and along the dusty roads

swimming in the dam on hot afternoons, sometimes with a horse!

visiting the local rodeo for a bit of country action!

paddling on the lagoon with the sunshine glistening on the water

admiring the green frogs who came to visit in summer

I could go on and on! It is a wonderful experience - it's not just a job, it's a lifestyle, and one you will never forget!”


Teaching in the outback was one of the most valuable, unforgettable experiences of my entire life. I loved the people, the culture, the teaching, and the countryside.

I was pretty nervous on the plane to Emerald, but when I met the family and the children I would be teaching, at the airport my nerves calmed. We soon embarked on the long drive back to the station and into the vast Queensland countryside. Coming from Ireland, a country where you can drive from top to bottom in about six hours being three hours from a town was initially a big shock but that didn’t last long!

They opened their home to me making me feel welcome as though I was a member of their family and this helped my transition into life and teaching in the outback. I soon got into the schoolroom and got my first taste of Distance Education. I instantly loved it and really enjoyed having a close relationship with the children I was teaching. It was brilliant to work one-on-one with the children and the experience I gained through teaching Distance Education has been invaluable to me.  

The whole experience was wonderful. I was introduced to mustering, camp drafting, rodeos, campfire-ovens, afternoon tea, Distance Education, on-air lessons and green frogs! I experienced so many magnificent things and encountered lots of great people and have so many wonderful memories from my time in the outback.

I spent ten months teaching and living with the family I worked for and they were among the best months of my life. I gained vital teaching experience, learnt many new things, made wonderful friends and experienced a way of living that is truly amazing.