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Future cattle producers talk about life on Northern Territory stations

Best mates Lachlan Johnson and Tom Doyle, both wearing big hats and arms around each other's shoulders
Future cattle producers Lachlan Johnson (left) from Brunette Downs and Tom Doyle from Mittiebah.

ABC Rural: Lisa Herbert

What nine-year-old Lachlan Johnson knows about running a cattle station would impress most veteran cattle producers.

His father runs Brunette Downs cattle station on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory.

At more than 12,000 square kilometres, it is one of the largest stations in the NT.

Lachlan has his sights firmly set on a career in the cattle industry.

"My dad is the manager of Brunette Downs and, if we're lucky, we'll go out on the weekends to the stock camps and look around and the head stockmen will give us information about what's happening," Lachlan said.

"The best thing about living here is meeting up with other people … and it's also pretty interesting learning what life is like as a cattleman.

"The worst thing is we don't get our mail fast."

Slow mail is not enough to make him move to the city though.

"The last adventure we had, we went with our govie [governess] for a drive around the stock camps where we took photos and videos for the end-of-the-year video.

"Then we had a swim in Pussycat Lake and had a picnic under the tree."

Mud slinging competition Brunette Downs
There are plenty of opportunities for fun on the station. Kids make the most of the mud on the Brunette Downs racetrack.

ABC News: Steven Schubert, file

While Lachlan is not too keen on living in the city, he does want city folk to know how much work goes into the tasty steak on their plate.

And he said he was keen to show people around.

"I'd give them lots of facts about this cattle station," he said.

Boarding school in Brisbane a new challenge

Lachlan's good friend Tom Doyle lives a couple of hours away at Mittiebah Station, 285km north-west of Camooweal.

Twelve-year-old Tom is excited about going to boarding school in Brisbane this year, although he admitted getting used to the city would be his biggest challenge.

Although he lives in the Northern Territory, his schooling so far has been through Mount Isa School of the Air in Queensland.

His home is several hours' drive from the nearest town and his neighbours are more than an hour's drive away.

"I love living on the station because every day I get to go out and help Dad, and I love riding horses and helping out in the cattle yards," he said.

"But when I go to boarding school I'll get to play more sport and I'll get to see friends there."

Tom said he was looking forward to teaching his new boarding school mates about where he came from.

"I think it might take a little bit of getting used to, being in the city.

"I'll miss my family and I'll miss my friends."