Life in The Kimberleys in the 1950's



Sam Lovell is one of the stolen generation. He was taken away by authorities from his family when he was only 3 years old. His white heritage dates back to Lovell Minster in Oxford, England. Sam is the descendent of a whole mob of Lord Lovells including Francis Lovell, 9th Baron Lovell who was a life-long friend and staunch ally of King Richard III of England. Sam went over to England a few years back and traced his white heritage. He visited Lovell Minster (the village named after his family) and even got to see the family jewels!


Sam grew up working on cattle stations along the Gibb River Road. He worked on Napier Downs Station & Mt House Station, Leopold Station, Gibb River Station and Kimberley Downs Station. He travelled all through the country up here in the early days working as a stockman and mustering cattle and he knew all the old station folk and many of the tribal aboriginals.


After working as a stockman for many years, Sam also worked at Glenroy meatworks and then for Main Roads. Sam and his wife Rosita also worked really hard running tours throughout the Kimberleys, Northern Territory, Central Australia and Queensland for many, many years sharing their knowledge of the bush & the country with people all over the world.


When Sam was working as a stockman he had an old camera he used to cart around with him. He has 100’s of slides documenting his life out here. Sam & Rosita have very kindly let us use some of Sam's old photos on this website so you can really see what it was like out here 60 years ago...


This is Sam's car at Fairfield (a 1948 Chev Fleetmaster) with Alec Campbell and Mad Scotsman (Morris McCarrin)

This is Tommy King and Jim Coleman at Fairfield Station.


This is Sam on a young colt at Leopold Station breaking it in.

Here's Sam again at Leopold Station with his horse broken in and ready to ride out.

View taken from Sam's horse whilst he was mustering a mob of cattle through Windjana Gorge. They were taking the cattle to water.

This is one of the first Brahman cattle in Western Australia in 1953. This is one of 2 bulls and 4 cows that were bought to the Kimberleys.


This is a really bad cattle bog at Richardson Pool on Kimberley Downs Station. Benny and Rashtas are working hard trying to get the cows & bulls out of the bog they strayed into.


Photo of Big Jack surrounded by 40 bulls that had to be shot. The bulls carcasses were piled up and burned


This photo was taken at Kimberley Downs Station. Rashtas and Jerry are seen here with a dead buffalo that had wandered down from the Northern Territory in the wet season. Buffalo used to be a problem when mustering - buffalo were unpredictable and would charge easily, so it was best to do away with them.


This is Mullaboola Tannery (near Halls Creek) where they used to tan leather. Jack Harry and Pilot Murry are standing out the front.

Here is the Men's quarters at Glenroy Station. Sandy Mortan and Duncan are taking a well earned break with their guitar.

This is Toby, Sandy and Pinto the pony going to Glenroy Station. They are carting offal to feed all the pigs at the homestead. There were 100's of very well fed pigs at Glenroy Station that were bred as food for the workers and the station folk.


Sam got his license in this truck! Which was also used for the stock camp at Napier Downs Station


This is Jerry on a horse at Napier Downs Station.


Here is Napier Homestead with Dick Sporle sitting out the front.


Here is a photo of Jimmy Andrew and Dick Spore branding cattle at Womberella Yards on Napier Downs Station.


Here is Johnny Watson, Jimmy Andrew and Freddy at Napier Downs Station.


Here is Sam at Kongerra Yards on Napier Downs Station.


Here we are again at Womberella Yards at Napier Downs Station with Sam, Billy-Boy, Jack Dale and Jack Dear (from left to right).


This is Kongerra Yard at Napier Downs Station with Frank Ozziers, Sam, Dick Turbine and Harry Oenden (left to right) who are taking a smoko break on the rails.


This is Sam on Rowber at Timminy Yards at Napier Downs Station.


Sam on Rocket who is wild eyed and ready to buck...


This is a photo Sam took whilst droving Napier Downs Station bullocks all the way to Glenroy Station through Gardiner's Gap. Gardiner's Gap was a rocky, narrow pass in the ranges surrounded by really steep cliffs on the old Mt House Road, near Bell's gorge. The pass was named after "Bunch 'em up Gardiner" who was the head stockmen at the original Mt Hart Station


Sam, Jerry and Bob on a truck with a whole heap of firewood at Glenroy Station, where they delivered cattle for slaughter.


Riding the old Tractor...Backwards...


Sam at Glenroy Station aged 19 years...


The Glenroy Meatworks


This is Glenroy Homestead in 1953

Here is Harry Oenden shoeing Barney horse.

Sam having lunch at Sullivan Springs - which is near Imintji.

This is Mullaboola house at Dougal well which was made from flattened out bitumen drums. Sam was aged 17 here and was doing boundary riding.