Isabelle lends a hand in the Outback

19 September 2011

mulachy familyalphaCentral Queensland physiotherapist Isabelle Wilson knows what it means to be a long way from everywhere.

The 24-year-old spent more than a month in Outback Queensland lending a hand to three remote families. She spent 10 days on one cattle station where the nearest shop was 150km down a dusty road.

“I loved the whole lot of it. Everything,” said Ms Wilson.

“I got to see a lot of the country. I love the people you meet out there. They just appreciate any help you can give them.”

Ms Wilson volunteered on two busy cattle stations, one between Alpha and Tambo and another west of Emerald. She also minded children for another family during the frantic activity of a bull sale at Charters Towers.

“I looked after the kids so Mum and Dad could get on with the cattle work,” Ms Wilson said. “It allowed the parents to do things that without the extra help they wouldn’t be able to do.”

Aside from occasionally chasing cattle around the paddocks, Isabelle entertained the children with fun activities like painting and making ice blocks.

She was also able to put her physiotherapy skills, proudly overseeing the first steps of one 10-month-old girl how to walk.

Ms Wilson said she had an understanding of living in remote areas but was reminded of how hard the isolation can be.

“Some of the things that hit you are the (difficulties to) access food and vegetables and milk,” she said.

However, the remoteness took on new implications when Ms Wilson was twice stuck on the cattle stations because roads were flooded.

“It made me realise just how isolated you can become. The worst thing was that feeling of being stranded, just knowing you can’t get home.”

Ms Wilson, who now works at Hervey Bay Hospital, encouraged other people to volunteer with Outback Links.

“I couldn't recommend the experience enough to anyone looking for a change from the ordinary or wanting a rewarding way to see beautiful outback Australia,” she said.

“If you cannot go without your stiletto shoe shops, maybe it’s not for you. (But) if you like the Outback experience, it’s the best way to go.”