Lach musters up his courage

Lach McClymont manages people as well as Gulf country bulls

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Big business: Lach McClymont with about a fifth of the gear he uses in his mustering camp, stored at a base in the Gulf country. Picture: Sally Cripps.

Big business: Lach McClymont with about a fifth of the gear he uses in his mustering camp, stored at a base in the Gulf country. Picture: Sally Cripps.

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In this age of micro-management and helicopter parenting, it's more than refreshing to find a manager who doesn't mind seeing young people fail at a job.

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In this age of micro-management and helicopter parenting, it's more than refreshing to find a manager who doesn't mind seeing young people fail at a job.

At the age of 31, stock contractor Lach McClymont is one of those men people describe as having an old head on young shoulders.

His epic round-up of 2500 cleanskins from Nicholson Station high on the Northern Territory border in 2018, much of it country untouched since the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign some 30 years ago, was aired to urban Australia via the ABC Radio Conversations program earlier this year, sharing the gamble of working stock in the Cape and the Gulf.

The muster of the 2,023,000ha property - making 50km of roads, using his water trucks to help pull four-deck semis up and over jump-ups, mustering at night to beat heat-filled days, handing over a royalty cheque of over $300,000 to the Aboriginal owners, with a team of a dozen all younger than himself - was conceived as far back as 2011 after flying over the isolated property.

Mr McClymont is quick to dismiss the romanticism though.

"A few people have said to me, it must have been beautiful being out there, a lot of fun," he said.

"I say, yeah it is, but we hook in too, don't worry. We changed 98 tyres in two months.

"We worked a lot of nights because it got so hot on us.

"Once August comes around in this country you're far enough off the coast not to get any coastal breeze influence so it's bloody hot, and rocky country too so it stays hot at night."

It's in this environment, where homesteads are hundreds of kilometres apart and bulls that have never seen humans before can act unpredictably, that Mr McClymont says he's all about "letting people go, stimulating their mind and getting them thinking for themselves".

In camp he gives out his orders the night before so his staff go to bed with a picture of what the next day is meant to achieve in their mind.

"I don't feel I should be taking all the responsibility all day for everything and make it mine," he said.

"You wear yourself out, and I just love seeing people come through and use their skills and really just start to love what they're doing because they're getting a heap of rein.

"I can't be two places at once and out there someone's 100km apart for the day, so I spread it all out."

Mr McClymont grew up outside Goondiwindi, at Kindon, one of seven children at the local school, driving there and back with his sister.

Boarding school didn't agree with him - "all of a sudden I was shoved up in Toowoomba in a boarding school" - but he elected to study at Marcus Oldham College a few years out from school when he realised he was struggling to manage money.

"I was asking mum and dad for money at the end of every year and I'd just worked all year for it.

"I thought, there's something not quite right here, I need to twitch a couple of wires upstairs so I went to Marcus."

While he says he's "lost a bit of the curriculum", the economic and accounting lessons taught him a lot and the friends he made are still with him.

Mr McClymont now has a block of country at St George and leases country at Croydon and trades cattle via the feedlot at Townsville.

Like many in the north west he took a big hit in the February floods - he won't say how severe, just commenting that it's the risk everyone takes.

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