Lawyer ditches concrete jungle to fix fences in the outback

Lawyer ditches concrete jungle to fix fences in the outback

Each morning, Sarah Marsden wakes up to the sun rising over the sweeping red dirt plains of the outback.

It’s just her, her partner Lachie Deane, a few horses, their dogs and endless wide-open spaces.

But her morning view didn’t always look like this.

The 32-year-old was once a big city lawyer — tackling long hours in the bustling concrete jungle of the Brisbane metropolis.

But a gap-year on an outback station convinced her cast aside corporate life and embrace a future living on the land.

While stuck in a corporate job, Sarah dreamt of a life on the land with her horses.(Supplied: Sarah Marsden)

Corporate suits to cowgirl boots 

Armed with a sharp tongue from a young age, it didn’t come as a shock when Sarah’s father told her she would make a good lawyer.

“He told me I was good at arguing and should study law, so off I went,” she says.

Sarah fell naturally into the corporate world and success came easy, but after several years of the city grind, she began to feel like something was missing.

“I took that path, university and a job in the city,” she says.

“I stuck it out for a few years, but I just wasn’t enjoying that life.”

After ditching the her office in the city, Sarah’s day-to-day looks very different.(Supplied: Sarah Marsden)

She found herself wanting to escape on the weekends, and whether it was spending time on friends’ farms or her parents’ property, the country seemed to call to her.

“I was missing that lifestyle,” she says.

“You had to live in the city, work in an office – I just wanted to ride my horse and play with the dogs.”

In 2019, Sarah took the leap and decided to take the gap year she didn’t pursue before heading off to university.

“I thought, why not just go and do 12 months in a stock camp, go bush and just see what it’s all about?” she says.

“My thought process was, if I loved it, that was great. And if not, then maybe I’d really come to appreciate my office chair.”

Soon enough, Sarah was standing in vast grass plains surrounded by cows and mud, working on a cattle station in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

A taste of life on the land came after working two seasons on a station in Queensland’s Gulf country.(Supplied: Sarah Marsden)

She loved the experience so much, but she blinked — and it was over.

“The season went really fast and before I knew it, I was making the decision to stay on for a second season,” she says.

Then, Sarah stumbled upon more than just a love of the outback life.

“On my second season, that was when I met my partner Lachie,” she says.

Far flung adventures

It has been five years since Sarah took a leap of faith and abandoned her suit jackets for sunsets in the bush.

She and Lachie spend long days trekking from outback Queensland to the Northern Territory, fixing long stretches of fence lines for remote cattle stations.

Sarah and Lachie enjoy long days spent working the land.(Supplied: Sarah Marsden)

“During the dry season, we’re pretty-well camped out on a fence line somewhere,” Sarah says.

“It’s very normal, we’re up with the sun having breakfast and then we get into it.

“They’re long days — we finish up in the dark and then head back to camp and cook dinner.”

From being stuck on isolated roads with a busted caravan, to escaping for a weekend or two to run her horses in a camp draft, Sarah says it’s a lifestyle that has its up and downs.

Sarah says all she and Lachie really need is a truck, trailer and a few of their favourite animals.(Supplied: Sarah Marsden)

But there’s no way she would trade the gritty work and long hours for a trip back to the city.

“We intend to work as hard as we can for a couple of years before taking a small step back, but I think fencing is something we’ll always do,” Sarah said.

“It’s so lovely to wake up each day and work with all of that space around you.”

Sarah says the dream is to start a small-scale cattle operation, in what has become the most “special place on earth” for her.

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