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Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association

The Pioneer Pub – Connecting People since 2016

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The Pioneer Pub and the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association

The Pioneer Pub has become a staple of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association AGM and Industry Conference, with the NTCA and Pioneer Water Tanks Welcome Drinks providing ample opportunity for delegates, media partners, speakers and sponsors to network and socialise in a relaxed and comfortable environment ahead of the conference.

First making an appearance in 2016 at the NCTA 32nd Annual Industry Conference, The Pioneer Pub serves as the centrepiece for the NTCA Pioneer Water Tanks Welcome Drinks, and is a way for Pioneer Water Tanks to say thank you to graziers who have been loyal customers to the brand for over 30 years.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has changed many of our ways of life, the 36th NCTA Industry Conference that was set to take place at the Alice Springs Convention Centre in March of this year was forced to be postponed, and as such, so was the appearance of the Pioneer Pub.

The Jack Russell Bar

Sadly, in 2019, James “Jack” Russell, beloved member of the Pioneer family, and former frequenter of the Pioneer Pub passed away. In memory of James, a special bar at the Pioneer Pub was named after him for the Katherine Show.

A Travelling Show

After being born out of the NCTA Industry Conference, The Pioneer Pub has become a beloved addition to many other places where graziers, producers and cattlemen gather.

The Pioneer Pub has made appearances at NTCA events in Darwin and Alice Springs, at the Katherine Show, at the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association events in Broome, and almost anywhere people from stations across the north of Australia gather.

Offering Opportunities to Network and Socialise

One of the great things The Pioneer Pub has to offer, is the ability for producers, graziers and people living on cattle stations to meet similarly minded people. Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of speaking to some true hard working Aussies.

Sam and Sarah-Jane McBean from Ruby Downs

Ruby Downs Station is a 4900 hectare station, located some 200km south of Darwin. Sam and Sarah Jane purchased Ruby Downs in 2006, but have been involved in cattle stations their whole lives – Sam grew up on Bradshaw Station.

The McBeans love being cattle producers, and the hard yakka and satisfaction that comes with owning and operating their own business.

Much of the water on the Ruby Downs station comes from bores, which can present challenges when pumps break down or stop operating. “One tip for maintaining a good watering point would be to make sure there is a high flow into troughs from tanks and regular cleaning of troughs.” Sarah-Jane said, “We have begun installing solar pumps in some paddocks which have been beneficial both for the business and the environment,”

The McBeans have installed a Pioneer Rainwater Tank which supplies water to the house, as they know that clean water is essential for their family and way of life. Aware of the long dry seasons in the top end that can result in water scarcity, they make sure to keep a keen eye on how much water they are using in the dry season.

“There is always something different going on,” Sarah-Jane says of life on the station, “Although we can be busy most of the time, you can’t beat the tranquility that the end of the day brings, and those amazing sunsets.”

Angus and Kimberley McKay from Umbearra Station

Angus McKay – who prefers to be known as Gus – is a third generation cattle farmer on the Umbearra Station. 57 Years ago, Gus’s grandfather Leath purchased the 3600 squater kilometre cattle station some 300km south of Alice Springs, before Angus’s father Thomas moved out to the station at sixteen.

“We love being cattle producers because it’s more than just a job; it’s a lifestyle. Our remote existence creates a strong family bond.” Gus said of life on the station.

The water on Umbearra Station comes from a variety of sources. There are roughly a dozen major dams, and a range of bore holes pumping from anywhere between 15ft and 520ft beneath the surface. The water is pumped by a combination of windmills, solar pumps and diesel pumps to ensure adequate water supply for the cattle on the property. “Control your water and you control your cattle.”

“For us, we don’t have a lot of challenges in providing water for our cattle.” Gus said “As long as you’re aware of how many cattle you’ve got at each watering point and keep an eye on the weather.“

As with any cattle station, water is an essential part of life for Gus and Kimberley. “Clean water is everything to our family and our cattle. A cattle station is worthless without good water. You also need to have good water management. You need water for your health, your garden and your cattle.”

Pioneer Water Tanks all come with the industry leading Aqualiner FRESH® antimicrobial water tank liner, which utilises Sanitized® antimicrobial technology to keep your water fresher for longer.

Some Things Change, but Some Things Stay the Same

In the ever changing world that we live in, two things we can depend on are Australia relying on a flourishing beef and cattle industry, and cattle stations requiring high quality water storage, to store clean fresh water.

We hope to see you at The Pioneer Pub at next year’s Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association AGM and Industry Conference, but until then, stay hydrated.

To learn more about Pioneer Water Tanks, visit

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