Airdate: Jillaroo School

2015-01-18_2351Here comes one of those shows that attract belated online comments for years to come as people ask, “How can I please apply for this show?”

ABC’s Jillaroo School is a new 6 part series that follows a group of ordinary Australian women as they undertake a four week training course in the skills required to become a jillaroo.

The six learn under the leadership of master horseman Bill Willougby.

The Australian Outback – home to over 90 million sheep and cattle, as well as the Australian cowboy, the jackaroo. Generations of men have been the lifeblood of the largest beef and wool exporting industry in the world, but as cities grow and the mines boom, the jackaroo is leaving the land.

Enter five wannabe jillaroos, following an Australia-wide call for women seeking a future on the land.

Aged from late teens to mid-40s, the selected trainee jillaroos include Deb, a journalist who was recently made redundant; Janine, an indigenous woman looking for the skill base to run a cattle station with her family; and Tessa, a young single mum trying to build a new life for herself and her son.

They’ll be put through their paces by Bill Willoughby, one of Australia’s best-known horse masters, on an outback property in the beautiful Southern Flinders Ranges. With a dry wit and a story to tell, Bill is a salt of the earth character who pulls no punches. His wife, Barb, is there too, to share the tips and tricks of the trade – and a ready shoulder to cry on when the going gets tough. Assisting Bill with the training program is real life jillaroo and role model Stacey Smith and stockman Aaron Ryan.

For the next four weeks, horse riding, motorbike riding, quad bike riding, mucking out, saddling up, mustering and putting cattle through the yards are all just in a day’s work for the novice jillaroos. Some challenges prove more arduous than others as the women discover pregnancy testing a cow is a somewhat dirty job and fencing is just hard yakka. Ultimately, teamwork ensures success in the end.

At the final challenge, each of the women proves that they have come on leaps and bounds with their jillaroo skills, successfully bringing a much larger mob into the yards on a much bigger property. They have also learnt a lot about themselves and what they’re capable of.

Producers Jennifer Jones and Kristian Moliere. Produced by Triptych Pictures in association with Travelling Tale Productions. Developed and produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the South Australian Film Corporation.

6.30pm Sunday 1 February on ABC.

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