Jobs – Farming in Australia
Tractor Work and Farming
If you have been brought up on a farm and driven tractors ever since you could reach the pedals – these are the jobs for you. They are mostly short-term jobs – from 4-10 weeks – and because of the size of Australia there is always a crop needing to be planted or harvested somewhere, anything from cotton, to wheat, sorghum, lucerne and corn, to sunflowers and haymaking.
Good drivers are also needed for grader work, stick raking (removing bush and scrub land to make it into grazing and crop growing country) and bulldozer work. Anyone who is a truck or tractor driver can learn these skills. Very few farms have only crops, most have cattle and / or sheep as well – so that animal handling skills, the ability to ride a horse or motorbike and to repair fences and use a chain saw are essential. If you know everything, great, we’ll check; what you don’t know, we teach you. Thereafter work is promised for the rest of your visa if you have booked from overseas.
Working on Sheep and Cattle Stations
Some of these stations are in the remotest parts of the country, and it may take two days to reach them.The stations may be 300km from their Post Office, Shop and Pub – and the Station may be more that 5,000 square miles and more than 150 kilometres from the nearest neighbour.
You will not learn your way around in three to six months, but you will learn to be useful on the horse and motorcycle (usually horses with cattle and motorcycles with sheep – but this is not a fixed rule), also working in the yards, mustering, droving, branding, tagging, injecting, fixing the fences broken by storms, fallen trees and wildlife, using machinery for jobs around the station, including growing some fodder and crops and helping with the routine maintenance and gardening.
Do not worry if you do not have a farming background, an agricultural degree or previous experience – we will teach you how to be useful in the few days you are with us – and you will learn lots more whilst you are on the job.
But do not expect to be turned into a first class horserider in four days – this has only happened a couple of times!
All those overseas backpackers and Australians wanting these sort of jobs have to come to Springbrook Farm or one of our associate farms, to spend a short time showing us what you can do and learning quite a lot more including farm and outback safety instruction.
We cover horse and cattle work, motor cycle and tractor work, fencing and chainsaw work – and you get LOTS of information.
You won’t remember it all but you will have five days of learning, hard work and fun, and go off to your chosen job feeling ready for anything.
After the course the holiday ends and you could find yourself living in rougher quarters and working a 16-hour day.
You will earn the award wage to start with – how you progress up the financial ladder is up to you – the diligence and expertise you show.
Those who show no interest in farm work or have such poor English so as to be unsafe, or whose attitude is ‘holiday’ rather than work will be offered other work suitable for their skills.
We look forward to welcoming you to our farm and to Australia.
Working with Horses
Jobs on cattle and sheep stations in Outback Australia are easily the most popular with those coming from overseas. Here you get first hand experience of mustering, working in the yards and looking after the animals, whether large or small, stud cattle or wilder ones, even buffalo.
There are dozens of different opportunities available for those who can ride horses well, or would like to improve their skills. Obviously some of these jobs are only open to those with good skills – other people are willing to teach their employees…..
You need to be a good horse rider, able to cope with chasing recalcitrant animals at speed and strong enough to cope with yard work in the heat.
Much of the mustering is done in conjunction with helicopters or fixed wing mustering planes, or gyrocopters and motorbikes.
Other jobs are with Three Day Event horses, Show Jumpers, Polocrosse or Polo Ponies, Stock Horse studs, Dressage or Endurance horses, with racehorses and at Trail Riding Centres. For some it is not always essential to be a first class horseman or woman; you will be learning and in some cases a smaller wage is paid to compensate for the teaching received.
A fair bit of your work would be on the ground, caring for the horses – possibly in stables, but also feeding and checking them in the paddocks, perhaps lungeing them and preparing them for the owner to ride.
At the Trail Riding Centres most of the horses and ponies are very quiet and once you know the routes taken you can be very useful and have a thoroughly enjoyable job. Trail Riding work is seasonal in the southern States of Australia. There are several Trail Riding centres offering work for keep only – so this is available for people who are not able to have working visas.
We also have employers, who, when approached direct, pass the workers on to VisitOZ to train and assess them before agreeing to employ them.
Teaching in the Outback
Teachers, usually called Governesses or Tutors in the Australian Outback, live with the family in the homestead and teach up to three or four children. They will probably all be from the one family and their learning will all be at different stages, so it can be quite a challenge. However, everything is provided for you, books, videos, audio tapes, TV programmes and the timetable is all set out, so that all children doing the Distance Education from that centre will be doing much the same work at the same time. The difference will be that when the Station is busy school work can stop and all the children go out to help with the stockwork – lessons are then taken in the evening, at the weekends or a day later. Most bush children are very bright and want to learn – they are frequently well ahead of their school-going contemporaries once they get to boarding school – usually at the age of thirteen.
What qualifications do I need?
You do not need to be a trained teacher, ideally you will be a graduate with a great love of children. However, as it is often difficult to lure trained teachers to the bush anyone who has ever taught anything would be considered as long as you love to work with children and / or have at least a University place waiting for you – ie. three good academic A levels if you come from Britain.
These are usually ten weeks in duration and there are four terms in each school year. Roughly (it varies from State to State) Term 1 – end January to Easter; Term 2 – after Easter until mid June; Term 3 – early July until mid September; Term 4 – early October to mid December. Most parents like to keep to these dates as far as possible so that they fit in with Distance Education Camps and Get Togethers – where the children get the chance to work and play with those of their own age in a group learning environment.
Mother’s Help/Girl Friday
Do you want to experience Outback family life but don’t want to wrestle with wild cows?
Are you a home-loving girl, wanting to care for children, look after the house and do the 101 things that a Wife and Mother does every day on a cattle or sheep station?
This work would include some cooking and cleaning, some gardening, some child-care – or in the swimming pool, driving them to school or to the bus stop. Maybe you would collect the mail from the road-end or the airstrip, help with the washing and ironing, table laying, washing up, dusting and polishing – the job is varied indeed.
This sort of work is sometimes called being a Mother’s Help, in other places a Girl Friday. However, a Girl Friday would also have outdoor duties, helping with the animals, driving, riding and taking part in all the work of the station.
These jobs are usually paid between $250 and $300 per week clear (after tax), depending on age and experience and you are always given free food and accommodation.
You usually live in the family homestead and the job is for two to six months.
For those with hospitality qualifications and interests there are many jobs in the rural sector.
No job is just one thing, so if you decide to work in an outback pub you will find yourself doing everything from cleaning to cooking, bar work to gardening!
The options are:
Outback Pubs – working in the bar, kitchen, cleaning the rooms and anything else that needs to be done. At peak times of the year these jobs are sometimes available for two people. Almost exclusively for girls.
Outback roadhouses – working behind the counter, serving fuel, cooking steak sandwiches, cleaning, gardening, painting and anything else that needs to be done. These jobs are sometimes available for two people.
Host Farm work – again you could be doing anything, inside or outside, or working with guests.
Chefs and cooks are in short supply in the outback and are thus very well paid. Those with these skills and qualifications can expect to get the highest pay, whether you are working in a pub or roadhouse (on an hourly wage) or on a cattle or sheep station (weekly wage).
You could be a Station Cook on an Outback Station, catering for up to 20 people, or you could be a Camp Cook, miles out in the bush – first making a hole, filling it with stones, collecting wood, lighting a fire and THEN using your culinary skills!
All jobs provide free food and accommodation, so what you earn is what you can save – less the donation to the Taxman.
What ever you decide to do, you will have the adventure of a lifetime.