Before dawn, 13-year-old Ruby Scott is already behind the wheel of a ute, performing a delicate operation.
She has to drag a massive bale of hay onto the tray of the ute before her family starts the painstaking task of feeding their hungry sheep, goats, cattle and horses.
Her two younger sisters Eliza and Heidi are on the back. They all pulled their boots on before 4.30am.
They sling their arms around each other and smile. They are in this together.
Rob and Trisha Scott have been performing this gruelling ritual with their children every day.
The family-of-five hit the paddocks with the feed and as the sun hits the horizon they hope the light will confirm their precious stock have all survived the night.
But the ewes are lambing and some are not strong enough to give birth and survive.
Trisha has been pulling dead lambs from their mother’s wombs. Her children don’t flinch anymore.
They enter each paddock and are mobbed by animals desperate for food.
The sheep are counted and checked for any signs they are flagging.
Dust rises as Ruby drives on and the hay, now a scarce commodity across the state, is spread on the rain-starved ground in each paddock.
Rob Scott’s family has been breeding Angora goats for mohair on this property since the 1960s.
He wants to pass the land and its unique bloodline to his children.
But this family, as tight-knit as they have become in the face of adversity, is close to breaking point.
Trisha Scott can’t remember the last time she had spare time.
Her quiet moments are just space for the financial worries to creep in.
It’s the three girls, with Ruby at the head of the pack, who are now willing their parents to keep going.
To keep “feeding out” their animals with hay and oats as the supplies dwindle.
At first Rob says he was “too proud” to ask for charity as the farm turned to dust and the feed supplies they had stored ran down.
But Trisha Scott made the difficult decision to ask for help.
They’ve had donations of feed, anonymous money left in envelopes.
Rob Scott is a shearer, but as people sell off stock his skill set is seldom needed, his off-farm income can’t be relied upon.
Sacrifices are being made and nothing is left to waste.
If one of their prized sheep or Angora goats does founder in the paddock he’s likely to shear off the wool of the dead animal — still a lucrative commodity.
The carcass is fed to the working dogs who are needed to help round up stock.
Ruby Scott also loves to dance. Specifically hip-hop.
Once the feeding is done around 9.00am she’s still full of energy.
She swaps her work boots and tattered hat for a gold and black dance outfit.
This year the Yeoval shearing competition — known as “Quick Shear” — was cancelled because of the drought.
It’s been running for a decade and is the key community event for the local residents and farmers.
In its place the young girls of the town are instead performing for their families, who are crowded around the back of the Yeoval Pub beer garden with homemade slice and babies on their hips.
Ruby is a star. They all are.
She’s crumping with the crew in full makeup and laughing with her friends.
And she’ll be up and ready tomorrow morning to loop the string around the next bail and put the ute in gear.
None of the girls talk about what happens when there are no more squares of hay to throw off the back.
They don’t want to think about that now.
Instead they’ll keep smiling, and making their parents laugh through their tears.