Camille thrilled after first cattle shipment

Zach RelphCountryman
Kalyeeda Station head stockwoman Camille Camp arriving in Vietnam on her maiden live cattle voyage.
Camera IconKalyeeda Station head stockwoman Camille Camp arriving in Vietnam on her maiden live cattle voyage. Credit: Supplied

WA stockwoman Camille Camp knew life at sea would be vastly different to the day-to-day operations at her family’s well-known Kimberley cattle station, Kalyeeda.

Yet, it was the unknown which excited Ms Camp ahead of departing on her maiden live-cattle voyage from Townsville to Vietnam on January 9 — her 29th birthday.

“I was so nervous beforehand,” Ms Camp said.

“I didn’t know if I would get seasick having never been on a boat other than a tiny tinny.

“The nerves didn’t last very long, once I was there and working with the cattle, I felt right at home.”

An eagerness to experience another side of Australia’s cattle industry propelled Ms Camp to complete the journey aboard Ocean Shearer en route to Vietnam.

The voyage unloaded 8000 head of cattle at the Port of Vung Ang in Vietnam after nine days of sailing.

The nerves didn’t last very long, once I was there and working with the cattle, I felt right at home,

Camille Camp

The vessel then travelled two days to Phu My Port, near Ho Chi Minh City, to unload the remaining 5000 head. Under the watchful eye of two experienced stockies, Ms Camp quickly adapted to her new surroundings.

“The setting and circumstances are certainly very different to working on a station,” she said.

“At the end of the day, I’m working with cattle, so it was quite familiar to me.

“We each got designated decks and the cattle on those decks were our responsibility to look after.

“I had decks one to five aft (towards the ship’s stern), which meant I had about 3000 medium-heavyweight steers.

“I did have a few moments where I felt a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility of my role — 3000 cattle is a lot and a lot depended on those cattle arriving in tip-top shape.”

The voyage comes after Ms Camp completed LiveCorp’s four-day Shipboard Stockperson Training Course in Perth last month.

Ms Camp, who compared the voyage to “looking after a very big pen of poddy calves”, said it was a thrilling experience.

“My highlight would have been seeing my cattle walk off at the final port knowing they’d been treated with the best care I could offer and most of them had actually gained weight,” she said.

“I would definitely encourage any young person who has a love of working with livestock and a sense of adventure to try working on boats — it’s an extremely fulfilling career choice.”

Ms Camp is already booked for her second voyage, set to depart Darwin today for Indonesia.

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