Erica Andersson is living proof of a hardworking backpacker with a passion for Australian agriculture.
Hailing from Linkoping in Sweden, Ms Andersson travelled to Australia in October 2015 and secured a job at Darkwater station, north of Injune, Queensland.
Experienced in horse husbandry, she worked there for six months before applying for a new job on Gumtree.
She was offered a job at Arrolla Station, 60 kilometres south of Cloncurry, where she has continued to work.
Assisting beef producer James Muller with the management of his 2500 Droughtmasters, Ms Andersson said she was living her dream.
“The cattle are quiet, very forgiving and easy to handle for anyone, as long as you watch what you’re doing,” she said.
“At Arrolla we muster on bikes and horses throughout the dry season, which can start near March and continue until about October, depending on the season.
“I have a passion for animals and love what I do and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Ms Andersson said she loved working in Queensland so much she would do anything to stay in Australia.
“The ways of getting a visa and a residency are quite complicated, so I am in the process of getting a diploma so I can become an agricultural technician and conduct things like artificial insemination.
“I am also in the process of learning about grazing management and biosecurity laws within Queensland.”
Despite working hard and paying her way, Ms Andersson still receives negative comments about being a backpacker.
“It’s hard to be an immigrant because people see you differently when you say you’re a backpacker,” she said.
“The way people view backpackers in Australia is quite negative, which is interesting because a lot of landholders need season workers around.
“To look down on someone and say ‘you’re just a backpacker’ it does hurt and that is not all I am.
“I am a ringer, I am a station hand, I am an artificial insemination technician and I am going to be an agricultural technician. I am more than just a backpacker.”
One day Ms Andersson plans to own and manage a property of her own in Australia, near Springsure, as it reminds her of home.