Living & Working in Australia for 7 months
The day I arrived in Sydney I was a bit stunned after 24 hours of flying and I was still wondering what I was doing coming to live and work in Australia for 7 months. But I tip my hat to the BUNAC staff down under - you guys were pretty good at laying everything out and getting everyone on track.
With BUNAC's help it took me a bout 4 days in Sydney to land a job bartending at the Imperial Hotel in Condobolin in the Australian outback province of New South Wales. BUNAC helped me book my train and bus tickets and sent me off with heaps of assurances that this was going to be the trip of a life time for me. Looking back now I can honestly say it was a bloody good trip…
It took 6 hours on a train and 6 hours on a big bus driving through small country deserted roads, in the middle of the night with me as the only passenger, wondering where in the hell am I going. When I arrived at the bus stop in Condobolin I was picked by one of the local town butchers who lived at the Pub where I too would be staying. The drive to the hotel took all of about 30 sec and we drove from one side of town to the other, it’s a pretty small town. I met my boss and a few of my co workers in the bar that night and everyone seemed to be really friendly.
Madalon my boss seemed nice enough and I was relieved to find out that this is not a classy bar and manners and being well dressed are definitely not required. I spent the next 2 months working in ripped jeans, thongs, and any t-shirt I decided to wear that day. Over the next few days I was eased into the role of working behind the bar, taught how to pour beers, work the cash machine, and work in the bottle shop. I was introduced to 100 people some who I enjoyed seeing every day and some who I wouldn't mind never seeing again.
The work was easy enough with some nights it be incredibly busy behind the bar and other times where I would sit around for 3 hours reading the paper or a book or watching TV while I was getting paid. The people I worked with were absolutely great and helped me ease right into the condobolin lifestyle which revolves heavily around the bar. Most of the customers who drank at the bar are farmers and almost all were pretty decent people who just like to drink, tell some jokes, have some laughs and then call it a night.
Over the next 2 months (with the help of my Australian outback co-workers) I was taken out to sheep shearing sheds and actually got to partially shear a sheep. I also met a Polish priest and was given the chance to climb above the church bell tower to view the town, a chance that not even members of the church’s congregation are given. I was taken by patrons of the bar out to their sheep and cattle farms and shown how such a massive farm works. Trips to Parkes to pick up liquor supplies were common as were chances to go on road trips with bar patrons around the state. During my time at the Imperial I was able to criss cross NSW thanks to the people who lived there. At one point one of my co-workers was able to get me on a 2km long freight train, sitting right up front with the drivers for 9 hours all the way to Broken Hill where I spent an amazing weekend meeting people from all over and sharing a beer with so many characters. I went on a bush mail run that covered 500 km in a 4WD jeep that ran on closed roads and drove over huge sand dunes. I got to see the true Australian outback and even got pictures of me holding a number of lizards. We saw tonnes of lizards, kangaroo's and emu's.
Living in the Australian Outback
Living in Condo was pretty slow at times but the pub was always good. Madalon taught me how to cook a few different Chinese meals and when the hotel’s common kitchen was overrun with melon pickers for a few weeks I was allowed to use the restaurant kitchen whenever I needed it. After my job was through at the Imperial I was invited by Bluey (a guy that I worked with) to go with him and his mate to a place called Wisemans Ferry for a week just to kick back and relax. Thanks to Bluey I spent a whole week fishing, laying on a private white sand beach, going to the pubs, and eating steak everyday. I never went hungry or thirsty and I was never bored. When the week was up they drove me straight to the train station that would take me back here to Sydney. And here I am.
The next step in my Australian outback travels is going to Cairns to do a 5 day live-aboard yacht that goes scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef with a mate of mine. And after that I have no idea where I'll be or what’s gonna happen…
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