The day I’ve been dreading yet the day I’ve been looking forward to more than anything in the world… All at once my girlfriend going home for a family visit, not known when I will see my gillibean dream next, an starting my new chapter flying to Darwin… Nervous, emotional, excited all at once with my stomach in knots, so today I spent my last day with my Gillian… At a top of the range apartment with a indoor pool, sauna and jacuzzi, as we speak she is rubbing my hair crazy to think the good part of 3 years we spent everyday together… Now we be apart for at least a month, this suck feeling in my stomach just wont go away dreading her walking through departure gates ” heavens gates “… Anyway I fly tommoro night to Darwin in search for a decent job in which I can enjoy myself an also save… I will be flying with the generous, the funniest, the strangest Iain Devenish I will take you through the best way to get work, the best places to eat and the best ways to do it cheap… I will keep you up to date on what I did to survive, and in my opinion what i think of ” apparently ” one of the craziest places in Australia
Australia is one big illusion if you think you live the dream you have another thing coming, people are delusional. They think your collected from the airport by a chauffeur, driven to this fancy pent house apartment with jacuzzi on the roof, over looking the beach, even handed a job on arrival. What people don’t know is that often it is one big struggle, no matter what anyone tells you there’s the good with the bad. From one week living on doritto sandwiches to the next living on lobster, at times you would have a better chance getting fed in Africa building shacks for the less fortunate. Even the people that are fully qualified find it hard its survival of the fittest. With so many backpackers and so little jobs, work comes as quick as it goes. It’s a case of not what you know who you know, I arrived in peak season the first week in summer were all the best jobs are already taken. Most companies close down over the Xmas period, which is a night mare to try and get settled. For anyone traveling to Sydney looking for work, id advise them to hang tight until mid February.
don’t listen to what anyone tells you about gumtree because its bollox, you will only pick up dead end jobs. Or weeks here and there people that advertise work on gumtree, is the smaller companies and people that need a hand. I spent 6 months on gumtree day in day out, mind you the odd job comes up were you might be lucky to get 2-3 weeks work. Mostly labouring jobs or helping people around there house, it’s really good if your stuck or to get settled in. There’s always the other option of posting an advert, stating that your looking for work. Bluff your way through this because 99.9% there not going to look into it, also put a respectable picture up that way they have a good idea of what you look like. Sometimes people get lucky and land them self in the door, with well known companies with heaps of work.
From time to time hostels will advertise work on there notice boards, usually this is casual and only a few days here and there. But sometimes you can pick up permanent work, if your really lucky the likes of Noah’s hostel on bondi beach or famous hostels around the city is ideal for work. Even some offer cleaning up around the hostel, or working as event manager for freed food and free rent.
One of the most well known jobs in Sydney is sales, with backpackers coming and going there screaming for workers. There’s call centres where mostly they work on a basic wage, averaging from 500$-800$ per week before commission. The only problem with this job if you are not selling, they will get rid of you as quick as they hired you. I worked for a door to door company called Lumo energy, my job was to go around knocking on doors in different suburbs selling electricity. I hated this job so much as I got so much hassle, meeting all sorts of people at the door and besides I wasn’t reaching weekly targets. I will never forget the hype in the van before getting drove to the turf you would be selling, house music blaring in the background and your leader screaming in your face to get you pumped up. Nerve racking but exciting and challenging all the same, Never mind struggling with my pitch, ” hi I’m glenn from lumo energy, I’m here about the power nothing serious, this area has been approved for a rate reduction, i just want to see does your home qualify, the best way to check this is on the back of a bill, pop inside and i check it out for you ” then the awkward moment breaking eye contact to get the sale. But this type of job is ideal if your stuck for money, with basic wage been 750$ a week and doing a Saturday would get you up to the 900$ mark.
If your really really stuck I would advise you to head of and do your farming, with cairns been the most likely place that you will get work the quickest. It offers all sorts I stayed in the backpacker shack in innisfail, for guys there is heaps of work ranging from banana farming, sugar cane to construction. Although you will have to go on a waiting list to get a start on a proper farm, arriving at the backpacker shack within two days you will have some sort of work. On my second day I started on a sugar cane farm, working 12 hours a day earning 200$ a day. The only day you will have of is when it rains, and the only problem with this type of work is it is very draining. Working out in 30-40 degrees heat all day can be a killer, especially if you have Irish skin other than that it is fine. Standing on the back of a tractor ploughing fields, feeding the cane through the back of the tractor up and down all day. Mind you banana farming can be a living hell my regional counted on a farm called fresh yellow, with a fat fucking prick as a owner from humping 100kg bunches of bananas. All the way to nearly cutting my fingers of dehandling in the shed, this was the worse experience of my life. waken up every morning was so depressing, everyone in the van looked so down there was better atmosphere going to funerals. Then there was the famous bell of death, that rang the same time everyday often i would go to the toilet to have a cry. I would recommend it to anyone that has recently arrived in Australia, go of and get your farming done. That way you have the good part of two years to play with, innisfail is 30 minutes from cairns and greyhounds attend to run twice daily.
Australia is a case of not what you know who you know, again with gumtree you will more than likely only find a dead end job. Or a job that only last one to two weeks, the best option would be getting to talk to people. Preferably Irish or even English make the most contacts you can, that way they will know a friend of a friend who will be able to get you in with there company. There’s also a lot of agencies advance gpr you can find on Facebook, these pay 25$ a hour Abn which means you don’t pay tax. If you land at the right job you could get your self work for up to 9 months, there’s also platinum agency not great for work but then again it comes and goes depending on which time you arrive. Sydney is a well known city for demolition companies, one been I***r demo a company which pays quite high. But could possibly be the worse company in the world. They threat you like slaves and run you into the ground, with Canadian an New Zealand supervisors teaming up to make your shift a living hell. This company is good to build up the cash fast and get the fuck out while you can, there’s also another company which I can not say for legal reasons. This company is one of Sydney’s most amazing company’s, more like one big family they threat you like one of there own once you get in the door. With the worlds best boss it makes work a hell lot easier, endless upon endless night shifts with most of there main boys doing all the demo. Your duties will be to clean up after them and make sure the site is looking spick and spam, you meet all sorts of people with this company varying from cork boys to Tongan boys. Been here nearly a year I have the most amazing memories, with the most amazing people everyone from labourers, truck drivers to supervisors the time I spent with these is the time I will remember for the rest of my life. Get your self to a hostel get chatting to Irish and English, look out for them in there high vis and safety gear and lick there fucking arse then live the dream.
After going through extreme lengths to find work in Sydney, it left me with no other option but to join the traveling circus. We arrived in Sydney at a bad time just before Xmas when all the jobs were taken, with all the partying over Xmas an New Years my bank balance started to get lower and lower. I found this advert on gumtree one the first jobs I called, a moving carnival gave them a call and they were keen to have me on board. The only thing it’s sooner than I thought, I had to be ready to leave the next day. I broke the news to Gillian and told her the situation at first she got a bit upset, then the more we talked about it the more she understood it was for the best. I went out for one last time with Gillian, we spent some time in the famous beach road on bondi. It got real emotional I started to get a bit upset, even shedding some tears not known when’s the next time Ill see the one I love most. Blaine and Keith popped down to say goodbye before I left, we spent some time in the famous fish bowl. Smashing the goon no doubt i will pay for this in the morning, how and ever a farewell at its best.
The day has come up packed my bags an left for bondi junction train station, I was already a hour late last thing I needed. Gillian came with me it felt much better, I felt a lot more comfortable and secure. A train to Liverpool station to be picked up by one the carnival/circus managers, there was no sign of this guy I was nervous and excited all in one not known what to expect. At last a fancy white jeep pulls up in front of me, are you Glenn unfortunately I am there was no messing around straight in the car. Gave Gillian a quick hug an kiss and I was on my way, yes to join a fucking circus things can only get better.
The guy that picked me up was Australian with English blood, he seemed so nice filling me in about everything. Not what I expected at all just a normal looking guy, with a very normal family well that’s what I thought at first. First impressions my bollox I got dropped to my trailer, as I got out of the car he yelled ” there you go Glenn to the left ” and walked of. I hesitated and was puzzled because I could not see any trailer, then he replied yes that one there. You have to be joking me as you can see in the picture my trailer was no bigger than a fast food mini van, besides it was more than just the basics with two small single beds. In which you lay down to get into bed and the trailer shakes from side to side, for approximately 45 seconds how do I know this because I went of my head that much I had nothing better to do but count the rocking trailer. There was a fridge would help if there was electricity, but no turning back this is it the long road to success.
Two German guys arrived shortly afterwards the trailer was that bad, they offered to stay out in the tents. It was no holiday straight to work our first job was to clean all the bulbs, on the circus truck the hole 5 thousand of them wasn’t even working one hour and wanted to go home. After this was done we got sent to bed to get some rest, as the real work started first thing in the morning. I couldn’t sleep a wink i left the light on freaked to bits, out in a Forrest in the middle of no were all on my own hearing creepy noises. First thing I did was ring gill the minute she answered, I start crying alls i wanted was to get back into bed cuddle Gillian and all my pain would of went away.
Woken up out of my bed at 5am brushed my teeth an rang over to pop out my first shit, then the manager told me I was needed at this massive carnival stock yard. Got dropped to the gate did not know what to expect, next thing this crazy hill billy grandfather turns the corner giving orders left right an centre. He was the owner of the hole carnival/circus, right then I knew not to open my mouth or I be left to hitch hike home. He was a crazy fucker chasing one of the most dangerous snakes in the world, the red belly black snake he was swinging sticks left right an centre all while I rang for my life. Was a handy owl day moving stuff from one end of the yard to the other mostly cleaning up, seen all sorts spiders even massive lizards. After 14 hours he called it a day and it was home to bed, even though I was shattered I found it hard to sleep. Then I find two red back spiders right over my bed, I nearly shit in my pants I was to scarred to go out side yet two scarred to stay inside.
Literally only 2.5 hours sleep dragged up for my second days work, this time setting up the Walters and dodgem/bumper cars. This is we’re all the scary hill Billy’s came out, exactly like there described in the movies. Front teeth missing, dirty smelly bastards, living on noodles out of the packet, this is it survival of the fittest every man for them selfs if you don’t stand your ground these will eat me alive. Was a long owl day especially with the smell of the dirty dogs, most of the day they tried to get smart an trying to single me out. But I gave them as good as i got then this old guy no younger than 70, named Tracey came to save the day. He looked like something out of lord of the rings, one glass or bogey eye with a with beard an a pony tail. He was like the wizard of hill Billy’s everyone feared him, he stuck on my side an cheered me straight up reminded me of my grandad. Well respected we called it a day after 13 hours, I was fucked defo sleep tonight. Called gill I felt a lot better but this time she was upset, as it was just as hard for her as it was for me. Hate leaving her on her own but will all be worth it in the end, when Australia works out better for us.
Dragged up at the crack of dawn again this time to the noise of that stupid German brushing his teeth over my bed, don’t know how I didn’t smack him an break his teeth. Talked to Ma she got real upset an wanted me to go home, but no chance ill survive I’d rather starve, dehydrate an bleed to death rather than go back to that life. This time I was back at the stock yard carrying steel beams, that belonged to the roller coaster now not even hulk hogan would lift these. Yet they wanted us to carry them all while looking at us with a fork lift, one of the supervisors was a fat cunt about 20 stone just sitting there smoking giving orders. Telling us how he used to lift the beams when he was 16, maybe because he’s the only one I know that weighs heavier than the beams. Met with another worker Nigerian guy crazy for the women, alls that he talked about telling me how bad the Nigerian government is and how little girls at the age of 8 could be sold for sex slaves. Was the hardest shift of my life, shoulders aching from all the lifting could not wait to get home. Finally get In the door shattered call Gillian, have a good talk with her and things is looking up. I only hung up the phone and start hearing mad noises, like Noah’s arc was out side my trailer. At first I was terrified to open my trailer door but as the noise got louder an closer, I had no choice to find out for myself. As I opened the door I notice miniature ponys walking around the fields, at least ten of them with white parrots flying every were. Then what turns the corner only to be an elephant, a fucking elephant in a strange way it cheered me up in so many ways. I went from tears in my eyes to every emotion run into the ground, to a elephant magically appearing out of no where it was like a scene out of ” life of phi “. I couldn’t stop laughing this keeps getting better an better, wish just one person was with me to witness all these events.
AUSTRALIA DAY… By far the worse day of my life never mind worse day in Australia, woke up at 4am to the noise of that dopey german cunt brushing his teeth in my fucking house. Then they told me they were taken my trailer, for a hole day great just what I need . I got ready and went of into the field only realising I left my wallet behind, for 24 hours alls I had was one banana, 6 pack of super dry and Ozzie osbournes book. I broke into the germans tent after hours of been left out in a field, finally got some sleep but kept waken up it was freezing an I had fuck all clothes. I started to get real horny fuck it germans wont wake me up ever again, of i went pulled the cock of my self with no other clothes it left me no choice to cum in there sleeping bag. Fuck ze germans invasion of the sausage, after my wank started started to get really down my phone went dead and had no way of charging it, everyone in Sydney having the time of there life out on Australia Day and I’m stuck in this hell hole. The next day early hours of the morning they finally come back with my trailer, I was the happiest person in the world that I finally had comfort. Got straight into bed but I couldn’t sleep with this nasty smell, but couldn’t seem to find out we’re it was coming from. Then I follow the smell behind the fridge and I find this lump of shit, the smelly pigs shit in my trailer to wind me up. This meant world war so I plugged out one of there generators while they slept, an used it for electricity in my trailer.
I was dragged up at 6am for another day at the office, well day at the circus this time setting up circus tents. Cleaning up after the animals and making sure no one went near any of the rides, next of all one of the hill Billy’s come running at me and start screaming. This guy was nearly 60 and had a full head of hair, of course that was from not washing him self. He started yelling you city boy you ruined 200$ worth of meat, and started to get out of hand pushing me he even called me a ugly cunt. I replied with I’m ugly you having a tooth in your head, only thing going for your self is a full head of hair. I was so nervous literally shaking there was so many of them, if I had of hitting one I was dead because the rest would of murdered me. Tracey” the hill billy wizard ” came to the rescue sorting it out and going mad, explaining I worked my bollox of all and calmed things down. Then the managers wife comes over and I could hear her on the phone, I actually thought I was hearing things talking about me like I wasn’t even there. Saying I’m always on my phone and I never did hours, even though the Germans get to sleep in there tent all day. An all because I’m working with different carnies, she doesn’t see me working I’m apparently not working. So I started yelling ” hello I’m here I can see you, talk to me if you want to discuss this “. She went nuts an started been a right cunt, I told her to fuck of shove the circus up her hole. So she threw my suit case and belongings out of the trailer, she tried to get away without paying me by going into her trailer. But that didnt stop me I kept knocking on the door, with still no answer I started to get really annoyed so I kept banging an banging my hands was actual sore. Finally she comes out with my money and tells me to get of her property, eh you live in a caravan you don’t have property.
So I went on my way back to the big city I was so excited to see my gillibean dream, I hadn’t showered in over a week and couldn’t see what I looked like because there was no mirrors. Bang walking through the Forrest with my suit case, the wheel falls of just what I need things couldn’t get any more stressful. Finally after a hour struggle get to a bus station, people on the bus were even moving away from me. I must of smelt really really bad finally get to a train station, train straight to bondi junction where Gillian was waiting on me. Even on the train people where moving carriages, I look around and my carriage is empty. I didn’t shower in that long i actually forgot how bad I smelt, every single person looking at me when I got of the train. I was mortified bondi one of the most stylish places in Sydney, and there I am looking like a bag of shite. I spot Gillian from the crowd so I start walking towards her, dying for a hug and cuddle but that wasn’t happening. She looked me up and down and started to heave with the smell of me, she wouldn’t come near me and said ” having you seem your self ” no not really there was no mirrors. Straight back to Gillian’s for a shower and couldn’t stop laughing when I looked in the mirror, my face was black I was actually worse than I expected. In the shower for over 45 minutes and muck still rolling of me, I just couldn’t get the dirt of me no matter what I did. Finally get into bed with Gillian and squeeze the life out of her, was best feeling in the hole world and all my worries taken away with just one cuddle.
Crazy to think this time last year I was struggling for survival in the circus, now I have a full time job with one of the most amazing companies in Australia. How times having changed from living in a smelly trailer, to now living on the famous bondi beach. It was one crazy experience but delighted I went and did it, not many people can say they worked for the circus. No matter what it takes I will go through extreme lengths rather than fail and go home, to this day I’m convinced the circus ruined the smell on my body odour. Even now if I have a shower within ten seconds of drying my self, I’m back to been a smelly little boy. I would not recommend the circus for anyone, only the brave and strongest will survive. Mind you I would recommend it for people trying to lose weight, I lost nearly two stone in just over a week. Living on Tina of cold food such as beans, tuna and stew in a can. Anyone that’s fat join the circus, and all your worries will go away.
Everyone says farming is this and that, but it’s not each and every farm is different I worked on more than 4 farms 3 been banana farms. Think of a 9-5 office job with one company threaten you like slaves, speaking to you like dirt, threatening to fire you every second of every day. Now think of the same type of job yet your boss brings you out on his fishing boat, he hands you a bottle of beer more than 5 times a day even sees you sweat and brings you for lunch. Everyone’s different although one farm might not be for you, the next one might be just right.
With having just over 3 months left
on our working holiday first year visa, me and my gillibean dream decided to head of in research of our regional. With not known any idea of we’re we were going, we decided to try out innishfail south of Cairns, Queensland. On arrival I bumped into this grandpa who was just like every other grandpa, stereo typical against my bull ring in my nose. He turned us away at first but as soon as I insisted I was a boxer that soon changed, he made one phone call to the hostel manager of the backpacker shack. Within one hour we had a bed a place to stay and on the waiting list for our farm work. Unfortunately there was no private rooms so we were stuck in a 8 bedroom door, at first we found it hard to fit in as we were seen as intruders. As everyone was already a family it didnt help that from someone else’s eyes I looked crazy, also accompanied by a beautiful girlfriend. Panic started to kick in as Gillian was way down the waiting list , and we needed farming as soon as possible.
I was woke up at 6:30am on the first day to help out a guy with his own carpet laying company. This guy turned out to be real creepy typical queenslander, not seen nothing but grass all his life. My job was to clean his garden and make sure the soil was level, once this was done I filled the wheel barrow up with concrete and hiked up the hill. A grafty owl day but 180$ into the back pocket to get me back on track, and heaps of work where that came from.
My second job sugar cane ” feeding the cane ” I didn’t know what to expect I got picked up at 5am. On route to a farm separated on its own away from everyone, breakfast was put on the table from pancakes to porridge you name it. Then on to the ploughing I stood on the left side of the trailer with another farmer on the right side, our job was to feed the cane through the back of the tractor an keep feeding before the stem ends. Up and down the field all day long with the nicest farmers you could ever meet, lunch time another feast. A quad drive back to there house for a feed, the farmers wife insisted not to bring my own lunch. There was spaghetti Bolognese, tuna bake all sorts put back on the table along with bottles of beer thrown at me. After lunch back to the field for more ploughing for a hour or two, then a lift home to my door. 200$ a day into the hand with your only day of work when it rains. No doubt a saving racket if the work is there, but unfortunately this only kept up for 3 weeks as I came at the end of the season in August. But just like my last job this did not count towards my visa, as it wasn’t paid into my account for evidence.
My last but not least job, finally a start with my proper regional work. Straight onto bananas after Gillian surprising me bringing me on a mystery tour to mission beach, spoiling me and getting me highly intoxicated I was dragged up for a start on my banana farm. At first I started humping in which you have a cutter who cuts the tree in two, you reach out for the stem on the bunch of bananas and place it across your shoulder. Mind you the bananas can weigh 120kg. With been 60kg my work was cut out, all this while getting yelled at to run to the trailer and place the bunch down gently. Never mind run I couldn’t even walk more than one occasion I fell to the ground, with bananas on top of me squashing me to death. If you think this is bad try do all this while snakes, spiders an rats jump ou of the bunches at you. I couldn’t feel my shoulder I cried and cried when no one was looking, but I’f this is what it takes to get a second year visa this will be done. After struggling with type of work I was put into the shed, which I thought would benefit but only made me worse. I was cutting while my girlfriend stood on front of me dehanding, it broke my heart everyday looking at what she went through. So the humpers hump the bananas in 120kg bunches, place them on a trailer the trailer drives to the shed. They are then hung up brought around to the basin, once at the basin cut into 30kg bunches dropped into the basin. Which has power houses to make the bananas go at speed up to the cutters, which was me I then picked up the bananas checked for any bad ones threw then out then cut them in three. All within two seconds as the machine went faster than a Ferrari, you got screamed at your hands went into cramps, rat infested water splashed in your face at 6am, farmers spits flew into your face. Every emotion was rang into the ground, with the supervisors standing over you like it’s a concentration camp me been the Jew. Then once they were cut into 3 sections they were passed onto Gillian, in which she sorted them an got them ready to be packed. Sounds easy but she had to this 100mph, with the girl on front of her making all the mistakes an my Gillian getting the blame. Tears rang down our eyes everyday looking at her made me sad, so on this one dull dark morning the fat farmer started an upset my Gillian. No one upsets my Gillian and gets away with it, screaming an screaming at her an blaming her on the other girls fault. I had enough an lose the head telling gill to pack up where going, she seemed so scared looked at me an told me no to get back to work. As I went the toilet I came out and heard Gillian calling the farmer a fat cunt, an storming out I followed in her footsteps an not once did we look back. Life’s way to short to be put through hell visa or no visa, we hitch hiked an got home in one piece.
I would highly recommend the backpacker shack to anyone, nick the hostel manager has so many contacts although he might not get you a start on a farm that day. But he will get you all sorts of work, that is great pay the only day to prepare of would be Sunday. Even then you could be called out of bed for work, it is a friendly and lively hostel you meet all sorts. The bedrooms is crazy with only a choice of a 8 bedroom dorm you come across all sorts, from country men attacking slane girl in there sleep to estonians peeping in on girls getting changed. On weekdays you get rest and everyone keeps to them self, to prepare for the hell that lays between the banana trees, but as soon as the clock strikes midnight at 12pm Friday night, that’s when the ware wolfs come out everyone goes crazy. There’s a offer that I would highly recommend approaching with caution, it’s ten dollars a head this goes towards a fund for the so called ” bucket “. With 50 people chipping in this is 500$ worth of alcohol all put into one bucket, from everything from goon, jack Daniels, jim bean, vodka tequila. After one glass you are already sucked in to the demons, that only belong in the backpacker shack. There is also a pcyc boxing gym an fitness centre, I found this ideal to save as training kept me in and away from distractions like alcohol.