Among the descendants of settlers, there are now many stockmen who live on ranches inspired by the Australian model of the cattle station.
The West Coast of New Caledonia, with its climatic and geographical conditions, is ideal for cattle stations. The cowboy is inseparable from the broussard Caledonian.
They rear cattle on their large farms, which they cross on horseback. Large plots surrounded by fences, a stockyard to care for the livestock, a shed where they store all the equipment, a windmill for pumping water, blue dogs, stables, and a 4 wheel drive truck, all in a niaouli savannah; this is the landscape typical for a Caledonian cattle station.
The stockyard is the heart of the farm. It is used to gather the herd. Formerly it was used for building lignum vitae (tree of life) or niaoulis (Melaleuca), but now the galvanized tube is increasingly replacing them. The counting, sorting, marking, vaccination, insemination, are some of the activities done in the stockyard.
A Veritable European cavalier, the stockman wears a big hat and gathers his heard riding the horse, using a whip, with his gun in the shoulder strap and accompanied by his blue dogs – (dog with bluish fur, robust and very intelligent, crossed with Australian dingoes).
It was the sandalwood merchant, James PADDON who imported the first herd of cattle and sheep from Australia in 1854.
Today, the cattle stations are the main animal production sites in New Caledonia. The latest cattle census, conducted in 1994, has identified 815 farms with nearly 105,000 cattle. The majority of the herds are on Grande Terre (the Mainland) and is distributed at a rate of 43.9% in the Northern Province and 55.6% in the Southern Province.
Many agricultural fairs are held each year as the famous fair of Bourail, the feast of deer and shrimp of Boulouparis, the Paita beef festival... The visitors can admire the animals, watch the rodeo, enjoy and buy local products.