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Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 61 - 01 of 02 (Text)

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Kristina Plant Trish
IN 00:00:00 OUT 00:23:16
Trish FitzSimons
Kristina Schrader
Griffith Film School
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61 - 01 of 02
25 June 2000
Timecode refers to tape 61_BC_SP Topics in Bold
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 61 - 01 of 02
Childhood Domestics
PTA refers to Part A of Tape 61
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Kristina Plant
Interview with Kristina Plant. Part 2 of 2.
part of:
Braided Channels of History Recording & Transcript - 61 - 01 of 02
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61_BC_SP_PTA_PLANT-plain.txt — 23 KB

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So this is camera take 61. It’s still DAT tape 21. This is the second camera
     tape of an interview with Kristina Plant and we’re at the Chinchilla
     Showgrounds, 25th June, 2000.                  61_BC_SP

     OK, you right? So um did you talk to your Mum about what had happened with
     this bloke?

No, because of Mum would’ve spoken to Dad so I just kept it to myself and dealt
     with it.

How about to your sister? Did you talk to your sister?

13:01:19:00    No. I just dealt with it. It’s sorta, it was something that’s gunna
     happen. Like there was getting a bit of tension between us and that and I, I knew
     it was gunna happen so I guess in a way I was a bit prepared for it.

This was tension between you and this bloke?


And was he a jackaroo or a stockman?

Jackaroo, yeah.

What’s actually the difference between jackaroo and stockman?
Kristina Plant                                                                            2

13:01:43:06        I dunno. Um jackaroos are meant to be the polished fellows that
        come out and they’re well groomed and that. That’s the old jackaroo but the new
        jackaroos are the ones that aren’t as handy as a stockman. They’re –

So is it like -?

13:02:02:16        Sort of more new chums. We call the new chums jackaroos and

Is it a class difference? Is it that jackaroos might go on to be managers but
        stockmen will usually stay stockmen?

Yeah. That’s how like it is in the old days. But now we’ve got different
        terminology. Different meaning for the same terminology.

So in the terminology now, what does stockman mean and what does jackaroo

13:02:27:10        Um jackaroo are sort of the greener people that have just come in
        and are just learning and the stockmen are the ones that know what they’re doing
        and have been doing it for a while.

So jackaroos might come out from the city for a year –


Before they start university. That sort of thing?

Yep. That sort of thing.

And how about jillaroo? Is that – what does that term mean?
Kristina Plant                                                                              3

A girl. Basically a girl coming out to work in, work in the stock camps and that.

So, did you come back, did you – when did you finish school and what – did you
        come back then to work on Sandringham? Like just fill me in your …..

13:03:07:12     Yeah. I um I did Year 10. I did Year 9 at Mt Isa and then I said to
        Mum I had to come home and wanted to get my marks up so I did School of Air
        at home for Year 10 and then um Dad told me I was too young to go out and work
        in the paddock so I had to go away to Longreach Pastoral College and did two
        years there and then I came home and did two years at home and then moved
        down to the city.

So the two years at home, you were employed by, by the Kidman Company?


What was your, your sort of, what were you called?

Women/Work: Jillaroo
        Jillaroo. I was a jillaroo, yep.

So that’s confusing isn’t it because you weren’t a new chum?

13:03:49:16     Mmm. I – um you see the jillaroos are jillaroos and the blokes get
        new chums and all that and the girls get called new chums too but – and I, I guess
        I’ve been working at home all the time on holidays and that so I just sort of fitted
        in because I was there all the time.

So as a jillarooo, do you remember how much you were paid as a jillaroo and
        what exactly your job entailed?
Kristina Plant                                                                          4

13:04:19:06    Um I think I got $300, a bit under $350 a week and it was
        mustering, working around the yard, breaking in, shoeing horses, driving around
        and fixing fences, checking bores and um basically seeing if the water holes had
        enough water, checking that the cattle are alright and that.

And would you, was the camp drafting, was that something you’d be going off
        and doing weekends?


Like how did that fit in?

13:04:54:00    Um we’d just like work through the week and maybe take a Friday
        off and get up at 1 o’clock in the morning and head off to a draft that was a long
        way away. No that was, that was sort of the social life that I had, was the drafts
        and Dad was into racing and um it was in the first year that I was home I took out
        a jockey’s license and I did a bit of that while I was working at home jillarooing
        and then I got told that I had to be working on a race track for my license to go
        through so I went and did that for a bit but living in town and that um it didn’t
        interest me.

Would –

13:05:37:00    I liked the jockey while I was at home working too but to sit
        around in town and get up early in the morning and then just pick up horse
        manure for most of the day wasn’t me.

So what was town? Mt Isa?
Kristina Plant                                                                            5

Yeah, Mt Isa, yeah. It was a big town. Bedourie was like the little town that we
        went into for, I think we went to Bingo a couple of times and that’s it, yeah.

And we’ve been told by some of the women working as like managers’ wives that
        there’s quite a lot of, I guess you’d call it sexual tension between, that the
        managers’ wives to have women in the stock camps. They kind of, they feel
        afraid for their husbands. That sort of thing. Did you have to deal with, with
        that? I mean I guess it was different working on your parents property but –

Yeah. I found it um different because I’ve like worked at home and Dad was the
        boss but I have heard of things like that.

Can you tell me a bit, like what you’d, what you hear around the traps, around
        that issue? Does that strike you as a big issue?

Female Conflict
        13:06:46:02    No, not really. Um I find that most of the managers’ wives that
        have that problem, they’re looking into things that aren’t really there and
        managers’ wives can be as hard on the jillaroos as what the ringers can be. It’s
        um a bit of friction’s there but it’s mainly brought on because of the jealous wife
        that’s very insecure and should give the girl a go like I think you should give the
        girl go.

So in thinking about you know, you having had the dream to be the first Kidman
        female manager, are you saying that potentially there could have been tension
        with managers’ wives as well or was that not really an issue in what –

13:07:31:22    No. That wasn’t an issue. Um I guess it was a dream and then as I
        got closer to working up the ladder, I’ve, um I wanted to find something – I
        wanted to see another lifestyle and try that and I guess that’s what I’m doing now.
Kristina Plant                                                                           6

So how did this happen, you know because you’re a long way from home here
        aren’t you?

13:07:52:18    Yeah I sure am. Um I got a phone call from a bloke I knew and he
        wanted me to go down to Toogoolawah in the Brisbane Valley to work with him
        for a few months and he said that he was on 250 or 70 acres and that he had this
        phenomenal amount of cattle that I couldn’t believe it and um I said to Dad I
        wanted to go for a change and he wasn’t real keen on the idea but I went anyway
        and I just ended up staying on there and I’ve known my husband since ’92
        coming down to the drafts at Chinchilla and that and we started being more than
        friends and I just didn’t happen to go home. Now I’m married.

So how long ago did you come to Chinchilla? Like what year was it?

Um came as in to live down here or?


13:08:49:04    Yeah. Um ’96 I went, October, November ’96 I went to Brisbane
        Valley to work and then I came here in ’98 to live with Robert and work with him
        which I’m doing basically the same stuff as that I do at home. It’s just we’re not
        camping out in the camps and that but I’m still working on the land doing what I
        love and doing everything else but ah I couldn’t imagine sitting behind a desk all
        day moving a pen.

And so what’s the context is – do Robert’s, are Robert’s parents managers or
        what’s the situation here?

13:09:27:20    They own the little place and um Robert’s buying, buying a quarter
        share in that and we work contract mustering at a bloke’s three quarters of an hour
Kristina Plant                                                                              7

        away from us and we’re sort of semi-permanent there at the moment so it’s pretty
        good and he’s a good boss.

And so how are those kind of issues around being a woman doing a job that’s
        mainly done by men? How are those issues for you now here?

13:09:52:20    …… …..! Pretty much the same. I guess you’d have to say I’ve
        got it easier down here because the blokes don’t let you lift heavy things and if
        they think that something’s too tough for you, they’ll just step in and do it. And I
        have to admit sometimes it sort of raises the hair on my neck and it’s like well I
        can do it, so they’re sort of, they’re in a way different down here because they’re
        trying to do more to help you in some areas and then in other areas they’re the
        same. It’s – it’s funny but it all works. Like some days you just think ohhh, some
        days, but then other days you can, everyone gets along. It’s just they get this little
        male chauvinist thing going and if you can handle it, you survive, but if you can’t
        – and it’s more tests down here. They just throw little tests at you for fun and that
        so you sort of work it out.

Give me an example.

13:10:49:16    Um I can’t think of one lately. Um yes we were in cleaning out the
        crush because it had dirt in it and we had to clean it out and I was in there and I
        was poking along and I think doing a girl’s job instead of just rush, rush doing a
        boy’s and getting on with it and the boss jumped in and said here Shortie, I’ll do
        it. And I get called Shortie because all the boys are over six foot so explains it.
        Yeah but I sort of stood back and I looked at him and thought well I’m going and
        doing just as much but – yeah, just little things like that. They’re not that bad.
        It’s just that some days you think well what’s the purpose of me being here if
        you’re going to come in and take it and go.

And do those issues –
Kristina Plant                                                                         8

I just have to change batteries. OK

So you’re rolling?


Um how about with your husband? Are those kind of issues about your role and
        his role, are those big for you and he to work out?

13:12:07:22    No. Um Rob and I’ve got a really good friendship. Um I don’t
        shoe horses any more which I reckon’s just great because it kills your back. Um I
        do things that he doesn’t like which, like cleaning up in the house or you know,
        something like that, and he does the jobs like the heavy lifting and that for me.
        Um he’s really good because he understands that and he knows that I do try and if
        I say look, I can’t because my back’s aching, he knows I’m not having a go at him
        and um we’ve just, we’ve got a really good friendship that understands those
        things. And we lived together for um nearly two years before we got married and
        working and we haven’t had a big barney yet. Like we have little huffs and puffs
        but yeah, everyone reckons now we’re married that we’re gunna have ‘em but no,
        we’ve got, we’ve got an understanding of each other and I, I think that’s a good

And has he, has his Mum grown up being active outside as well or is this –


A new pattern for the women of his family?

13:13:13:18    I’m the new pattern. Sort of an alien of the pattern. No um Rob’s
        Mum comes from Brisbane. Yes, so it’s - she doesn’t do the outside stuff and that
Kristina Plant                                                                             9

        and she’s like behind me all the way and just thinks it’s good and that but yeah.
        I’m sort of lack in my cooking and all those sort of stuff that she does but I work
        outside. It’ll be fun when the breeding programme comes and I get stuck in the
        house but I think I’ll have to start a garden or somethin’.

The breeding programme. You mean your breeding programme?

Yep. When I have to have kids.

And why would you have to have kids?

        13:13:54:18     Oh because we want ‘em. We, we want kids. Like you’ve got to
        have something to live for I guess when we get old and take over Rob’s place and
        all that so carry on the traditional name and send ‘em out to my folks so they can
        terrorise them and all that. There’s one thing I think of I’ll really emphasise on is
        my kids going out west and um really appreciating that there is somewhere behind
        Roma because I was in Toowoomba one day and just talking to these people and
        they said oh we’re going out west and I got real excited and said oh where are you
        going and they said Dalby and I stood there and I just was stunned that that’s
        where west was and that they were too small minded to look beyond – that there
        were people living out there and it’s like, it’s the Never Never is how I was put
        one time. That’s nice.

What do you think is special about the Channel Country of Queensland? Like
        what strikes you?

13:14:57:06     The people. The people are overly friendly and um they’ll stop
        and give you a hand and like they’d go back a hundred k’s to help you instead of
        just – they’re not selfish out there. Like they’re out to help each other and that
        and it’s like a family.
Kristina Plant                                                                         10

Something that one person said to us out west was that, that kind of class
        differences were less she thought out west than here and she was giving examples
        about who sat at whose table and that kind of thing. What do you think about

        13:15:31:08     I found that a lot when I came down here. Um people are really
        um they’ve got their little clans down here and they’re living in a smaller radius
        than what I’m used to but they go and socialise with them and that whereas out
        west, just everyone comes and socialises and talks to everyone and um I’m getting
        better at it now as understanding, oh well not understanding but just um I guess
        I’m accepting their ways whereas when I first come down here I just thought oh
        well like, it’s different. Mmm.

How about race relations? How are race relations different here in Chinchilla
        than the ones that, that you’d experienced in Bedourie and Isa?

13:16:22:06     Ah um very, very different. Very – I can’t really elaborate on it.
        They’re just – they don’t communicate. They don’t mix. That’s all I can say on
        that is they just don’t mix.

Who doesn’t mix?

13:13:39:14     Both. Both – they don’t, they don’t wish to mix with each other.
        They, you know, they stick to their groups and they I guess you could say bitch
        and carry on about each other. They’re all as bad as each other from what I can

So where do you run across Aboriginal people living here?
Kristina Plant                                                                         11

13:16:58:04      I guess you’d have to say um I don’t really. They don’t, you’re
        different so they don’t come near you and it’s, it’s just the same. The both
        cultures think the same thing so they’re never going to mix. Which I think’s sad.
        Because if they, they tried a bit, they’d see that there are good and bad in
        everything and everyone.

And going back to, how old were you when you left Sandringham?


So going back to that period when you were 18, 19, living and working out at
        Sandringham, were, were race relations basically the same as you’d experienced
        as a child?

13:17:42:02      Yep. I think we all got along the same. Like um a lot of the kids
        that I grew up with were still in there and we all just mingled the same. It was
        very um funny when I come down here, the attitude with the different races
        towards each other and, and I had trouble with it at first because I, I sort of
        understood it but then I didn’t because of the way that I’d grown up and that’s
        how it is now.

So what would be kind of statements that might get made that you would find odd
        down here?

I don’t think I want to answer that one.


I might pass on that question I think.

Yeah. But you were shocked?
Kristina Plant                                                                            12

Yeah. Just don’t talk to that person because they’re black sort of thing or those
        sort of things.

And do you have ever any understanding of, of the history of the Channel
        Country or of the out west to kind of understand why those things might be

No. No I don’t. I just don’t.

Have you ever been interested in, in history as a –

13:18:50:12       No. Um I used to like the um history of talking to Dad about the
        pack horses and how they’d just pick this horse out to carry your swag and if you
        were the horse tailor you’d know which was the good and bad one to put your
        swag on so it didn’t get torn. I used to like sitting down listening to those stories
        and, and that but yeah. I, I don’t know. I got told I was silly for this but I
        would’ve liked to have been back in Mum and Dad’s time, being the young one
        and growing up there because they, and someone said but oh everything was
        harder and you did it tougher and that and I sort of looked over and thought but
        yes you appreciated things more. People, the younger generation they don’t
        appreciate things now.

Do you think that’s true?


Like what?

Kristina Plant                                                                          13

        13:19:39:22    Like getting a ahhhh um the fact that for instance like there’s
        people don’t appreciate the fact that they’re 80 ks out of town and if they run out
        of flour, they can just jump in the car and get it whereas it comes out on the – I
        can’t remember, I don’t know what it comes out in now at home. I haven’t been
        home for a while but flour used to come out on the truck and that in tins and um
        we’d get a load of stores out and put in the store and that’s what we had and Mum
        had to keep it up and work out how much she needed and that and um stock
        shopping, like and these, some people just come in and get a bit of this and a bit
        of that or they livin’ in town and they run out of whatever. They just walk down
        the shop and get it.

How was the fact that your Mum was kind of home based and you were kind of
        focussed on your Dad and outside? What did that mean for your relationship with
        your Mum? Like how would you describe your relationship with your Mum?

13:20:52:10    Mum and I had a good relationship. Um I’d help her in the kitchen
        of a night with, with getting tea ready and um if I finished a bit early out in the
        paddock, I’d help her do the vegetables and that. Like we’d all, we sort of helped
        Dad outside with our main priorities because I guess Mum was just, seemed to be
        so organised and had it going and we’d just come in and help tie up the loose ends
        and set the table and unset the table and help doing that way but with the cooking,
        Mum was pretty in control and Mum would have a big bake day every second
        Saturday so we just stayed home and helped her with that.

To get all the smoko stuff together.

Yeah, all the smoko stuff. They were good because I used to eat a fair bit of the
        ingredients. I was, I got chased out of there one day but anyway.

And what’s your sister’s life now?
Kristina Plant                                                                           14

13:21:46:14    She’s working at home with Dad, yeah. She’s much the same,
        jillaroo and that. Loves working on the land. We sort of never ventured into the
        office girls. We weren’t interested enough at school to get the grades, unless we
        weren’t smart enough. I don’t know what it is.

So why is it that you don’t go home much these days?

13:22:09:10    Well I see my folks a lot still.     Um they come down to the
        Chinchilla Draft and that but um we’re just busy trying to get a life going here and
        eventually Mum and Dad are going to move down when I start having kids so I’m
        going to have ‘em with me in the end anyway so. Someone brought it to my
        attention that um because I never had any of Dad’s Mum, and um Nan, she died
        when we were young and I just, I really think that grandparents have got a very
        big part in kids lives and I missed out on that so someone said that I must’ve been
        working towards it not knowing about it because when I have kids, Mum and Dad
        will be retired and will be down here so that I can just drop them with them and

So tell me what you remember or what you know about your Grandmother, Sylvia

        13:23:09:14    I just remember going to drafts and um having this big tin of
        Leggo first to play with but the worst thing was that my brother was Grandma
        Geiger’s angel so he could have what he wanted and I also remember going to
        spend a time with Grandma and the goats. Playing with the goats. That was - she
        gave us a goat each but Dad sort of arranged so we could never get ‘em. He
        wasn’t into goats but yeah. Grandma and goats and yeah. She was a nice lady.
        Really nice.   13:23:46:14
Kristina Plant                                                                          15

So is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you think it’s important for me
        to understand women, women out in the Channel County?

No I don’t think so. I think you’ve covered it all.

You’ve been terrific. Thank you very much.

Thank you.

So this will be just a Showground atmos…..

End of taped interview.