Had I idealised what ‘working in a farm in Australia’ implied or did ‘they’ picture it nicely to me?
Maybe both. How many of us dream of going to Australia on a ‘Work and Holiday’ visa? Well, many. And it feels like a privilege for the ones we can. Who knew though, that farming was so hard and so dangerous in its own way?
I moved to Griffith, one of the most agricultural towns in Australia , in September 2012, with the objective of extending my visa for an extra year. However, I didn’t last those long 88 days. And I admire who does.
I worked in the open fields, solo, barely knowing the people I was working for. We were getting picked up from these ‘guys’ from the working hostel (yes, that’s a thing) and we were going to a different field or farm or factory every couple of days.
The work carried out in the fields consisted in pulling out the bad weeds from the vineyards. We were getting paid 15 $ per row. It could take 3 hours to do a row. We were given some axes and no protection. The sun was very strong and lack of fresh water for the whole day was an issue too. It was unpleasant and it felt dangerous.
The work in the orange factory was dangerous too. I was standing on a very tall mechanic ladder and sorting bad oranges for eight hours per day with no one else around. It felt weird to be miles away from any kind of civilisation and standing on this thing with no protection whatsoever. Did I mention insurance was not an option either?!
On the other side, I must say that I have met other people who have greatly enjoyed farm working and got out a great life experience from it! The ones that did, normally had their own car or van so they could easily drive around and get direct work from the farms, this is a totally different story indeed! You cut out the intermediary person who normally does no good to you and you also build great relationships with the locals and the farmers. Definitely way to go.
- Avoid working hostels
- Get a car or a van
- Meet the locals
- Get insurance, a good one!
- Don’t allow exploitation! It’s not worth it and it does no good to the economy!
Be safe the ones you go out there and enjoy the wide Aussie fields!
I would love to hear from you and your experiences farming in Australia. Is it very different from mine? Do you agree with any of my points?