Katherine NT | October 2019
We spoke to Margaret for the story.
What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
We have a cattle breeding business about 170km from Borroloola. We started with four to five cattle in 2002 and we’ve been growing it slowly since then. Our intention always was to quit working and do our own thing. We now roughly have about 2,500 head of cattle.
What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers? What was your previous work experience?
We were managing a cattle station and we just retired from that job of 25 years last year, about 12 months ago.
Who referred you to Many Rivers? When?
We’re leasing land from the NLC (Northern Land Council) and we were short on a few things. My daughter-in-law suggested that we look into getting a grant and we applied for a grant with the Indigenous Business Association (NT Department of Trade and Innovation). They put us onto Matt (Katherine Microenterprise Development Manager) to help us with the grant application.
Why did you want to go into business?
We were always aiming to breed and make a living from our own cattle. It’s been a slow process getting it to where it is now, we still have a long way to go, but we see that as one of the challenges we face , if we want to be in business and be responsible for our own future.
What services did you receive from Many Rivers? How did it help?
Matt gave us a hand with the $30,000 grant application (from Department of Trade and Innovation) for a portable yard to muster the cattle into and work in. We’re not allowed to build permanent structures and without a portable yard, we would have had to walk the cattle 27km to a yard. We also met with Matt to work out with our business plans and cashflow.
I’ve also been wanting to do a coffee table book of all the photographs I’ve taken over the years. I’ve had a couple of exhibitions and I’d love to get a coffee table book published so Matt’s put me in contact with a lady who can hopefully help me.
What did you find the most useful about the assistance from Many Rivers?
Sometimes I felt like giving up. The grant application process I thought was invasive, but I can understand why they needed all that information. I’m glad Matt was there to help us. He was a great help.
Did you get a loan from MR?
Do you have any current employees?
We have people who we hire part-time for cattle herding, fencing and all that. Our son works two weeks on and two weeks off so when he’s off, he’s a great help. He’s also building up his own herd.
What has been the biggest challenge to date?
The biggest challenge has been setting it all up to be operating.
What has been the biggest success to date?
Getting the grant and setting up the portable yard. Being able to muster the cattle and having the yard so close is what we were hoping for.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
We love living in the bush, away from everything and doing our own thing. So, we want to keep breeding our herd up and start living off them. We’re not there yet. To be able to slow down and for things to run smoothly with a bit of effort.