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My Cape York Life - Stories from the Cape

Words and Photo: Lyndal Scobell

Welcome to series two of My Cape York Life. In this second podcast series we travel the diverse landscapes of the centre of Cape York, and the south-east coast.

You will be enthralled with the stories shared by graziers, conservationists, Traditional Owners, an artist, and a local government councillor.

Find us at, or listen on your favourite podcast app.

We begin the second series of My Cape York Life with Tom Shephard on Artemis Station. Artemis is a 125-thousand hectare cattle property midway between Coen and Laura.

The property has been in the Shephard family for about 100 years and is run by Tom and Sue Shephard.

In episode one we meet Tom Shephard who has lived in central Cape York for all of his 70 years. In his lifetime he has seen many changes in the way cattle are raised, and also to life on Cape York. But he says new techniques and technologies have made the cattle business much easier than it used to be

Sue Shephard moved to Cape York in 1970 to work at Musgrave Station for the Shephard family. She met the youngest Shephard son, Tom, got married, and together they raised four children on Artemis Station.

Sue tells some amazing stories of raising kids and cattle, caring for country, and researching the endangered golden shouldered parrot. Sue says life on Artemis is never lonely - she hosts visitors from all over the world, and world-renowned scientists researching the golden-shouldered parrot.

Billy Harrigan is the Cultural Officer with Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council and is a Traditional Owner from the area.

In this episode Billy reflects on life in Wujal Wujal and Cape York, the importance of culture and tradition, on life under the Aboriginal Protectorate and the long road to getting Country back. He has always lived in the south-east of Cape York and has worked hard throughout his life. Now, he is a few years from retirement. He has seen a lot of change in community, technology, environmental management and government policy. Billy’s respectful and knowledgeable story-telling paints a vivid picture of life on Cape York.

Waratah Nicholls arrived in far north Queensland in the early 80s for a Bungle in the Jungle at Bloomfield and fell in love. Her piece of paradise is in Mungumby Valley - a stone’s throw from the famous Lions Den Hotel.

Waratah is an artist, teacher and community worker. Through her work, her passion and her kindness, Waratah has left her mark in art galleries, communities and hearts across Cape York Peninsula.

She's currently coordinating the 'Gateway to the Cape' - a concept to develop a visitor stop in Lakeland, promoting environmental awareness for travellers.

Marie Shipton lives in Wujal Wujal and is a Traditional Owner from the area.

This interview is recorded on Country at the mouth of the beautiful Bloomfield River, in the company of a patrolling crocodile. Marie talks about growing up on the river, before being moved to Wujal Wujal by the Lutheran Church. She shares stories about her family, culture and life in the place where the rainforest meets the reef.

These days Marie works to preserve and share the stories and culture of her country, as a Cultural Officer at Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Council.

Alan Wilson has seen and done just about everything in his almost 40 years on the Cape.

He is a Cook Shire Councillor, and he’s run cattle stations, the Laura pub and the town’s roadhouse. He has led many campaigns to improve life on the Cape. He pushed for the new bridge over the Laura River south of town, and continues to campaign for one at north Laura – where wet season floods isolate the town and can be a real danger to people. Alan has spent years campaigning for a container deposit scheme for Queensland - which has finally been taken on by the Queensland Government.

Vince Harrigan is a Traditional Owner and Ranger from Normanby Station in southern Cape York.

The 31,400 acre property was returned to his family in the 1990s. The Harrigan brothers are caring for country and Vince says he can see Country becoming healthy again. The Normanby River runs through the property into Princess Charlotte Bay – and Vince knows that work being undertaken is having a positive impact the health of the reef. Vince and his brothers are part of the nationally acclaimed Black Image Band - who feature on this series on My Cape York Life. The songs produced by the band speak of culture, country and connection.

Jessie Price is a young mum, an environmental scientist, and the Grazing Engagement Officer with South Cape York Catchments - a community-based natural resource management organisation based in Cooktown.

Jessie began her Cape York working life as a trainee with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, a spectacular introduction to the region she loves living in and working for. Jessie is passionate about conservation on Cape York, and understands first-hand the challenges of having a career and raising a family in one of Australia's remote regions.

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