As a metaphor for a place far from anywhere, “back of Bourke” was coined for a reason. It took an hours flight and a four hour drive just to get to Bourke. Then another two hours on mostly dirt roads to get to the “back” of it. Which was Bush Heritage’s Naree Reserve.

Such a trip rewards those with determination to get there with a rich experience. And so it proved for Jord’s annual Bush Heritage weekend of R&R, team bonding and a chance to “do some good”.

This part of the country is hard to get your head around, even for us Aussies. It’s tough and unforgiving. The ruins of local town Yantabulla, whose last resident left in 2000, shows that a modern lifestyle is not possible. But the archaeological evidence shows this land supported humanity for thousands of years. And the birdlife is astonishing. We saw loads of parrots, raptors, martins and swallows. There were pigeons and songbirds too, which we struggled to identify without Bush Heritage staff to help.

We only saw a few roos, due to the drought. But plenty of feral goats and pigs. And this is where Jord comes in. We don’t have much botany or zoology knowledge at Jord, but we can construct and demolish things OK. So, armed with pliers & posts, drivers & wire strainers, we set about helping Reserve Manager Greg Carroll repair a feral goat trap. We now defy any goat to escape our fully refurbished, maximum security, goat pen.

Once done, we cooled off alongside & in a waterhole that made the Yangtze look like a crystal clear mountain brook. Then, after a good country square meal, we adjourned to the campfire to tell tall stories over a few beverages. And to play a strange card game our Dutch colleagues brought with them. It appeared to have no rules…