With four years experience in event management and a degree in music and live events, relocating to the opposite side of the world to work as a station hand doesn’t necessarily seem like the most logical career choice… but there may be slightly more logic to it than meets the eye. As part of a mutually beneficial scheme, Australia offers a year-long working holiday visa to UK citizens. As part of the agreement, if three months of qualifying agricultural work is completed in the first year, a second year working holiday visa can be issued. The strength of the Ozzie dollar means that for a young, unemployed Brit like me, an offer like this becomes ever-more attractive. While my visa doesn’t limit me to agricultural work, there were several things that convinced me to give it a go.
Perhaps the most important of factors was that with this type of agricultural work, everything comes as a package. Moving to the opposite side of the world can be a daunting prospect, especially with no back-up funds if things don’t go to plan. As most stations are rural and workers are often required long hours, seven days a week, most station hands live-in. Wages often include accommodation and sometimes even food allowing you to save what ever is left over. For Rich and I, relocating on a budget was all about minimizing risk. As we borrowed money for airfare and enough to live in a hostel for a week or two, it was crucial that we started earning fast, didn’t need to spend time and money finding accommodation or paying deposits. This is where Pyramid Station came up trumps. Through Visit OZ (see Far Off Places) we were offered work, as a couple, within a week of arriving in Australia. We get $450AUD each per week after tax, or private accommodation is included so our only expenses are our groceries. We are a 9 hour round trip from the nearest town so saving is easy and there’s nothing to spend your money on. I often have to hunt for my purse when we go as it’s been so long since i’ve seen it!