The bullocky and his team arrive to take the wool clip to market. The men of Oxley Downs have filled 35 bales of wool, but loading the heavy bales that each weigh almost 300lbs onto the wagon by hand is no mean feat.
It's shearing time, the busiest week of the year for Oxley Downs. Station life, working from dawn to dusk seven days a week is hard enough, but now, with only six days to shear over 1300 sheep by hand, it's all hands on deck to meet the deadline.
Temperatures have soared in the hot, dry Australian bush and everyone is feeling the heat. With no air-conditioning, refrigeration or cold water, life on Oxley Downs is akin to living in a furnace, and the heat is so oppressive that every movement is a huge chore.
An urgent letter has arrived, alerting the station to the impending arrival of an important visitor: the Crown Lands Commissioner. He is coming to inspect the running of Oxley Downs, and to see if the squatter is 'a fit and proper person to lease Crown Land', as squatter Allcorn's 10,000-acre leasehold expires in six months.
It's a time of celebration at Oxley Downs. The station is preparing for its first wedding and with Peter's fiancee Luisa and their parents due any day, there is much to do. The men are still building Peter's house and preparations for the festivities are being finalised by shepherd Dan in his new role as wedding planner. Everyone is excited by the upcoming nuptials and the chance for a break from the hard slog of station life, if only for a day.
The arrival of governess Genevieve Yates brings much excitement and anticipation to Oxley Downs. Her arrival introduces a civilising influence and promises to give order and purpose to the children's education, but most importantly, relief for the squatter's wife. The servants are worried she might be 'stuck up', but the men are simply interested to see how the new lady on the station looks.
The women have just arrived at Oxley Downs, it's late and everyone is tired. Station life revolves around the kitchen and cook Carolina gets cracking preparing her first 1860s meal, over an open fire.
16 participants have been selected out of more than 5000 applicants to live the life of a squatter, his family, domestic servants and station workers. We meet our adventurous participants as they set off to undertake training in their new life. They learn how to manage stock, use the tools of the time and grow food to survive, all without the help of present-day technology.
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