I have always made a point in taking weird and wonderful jobs whilst I have been here in Australia because, why not? When am I ever again going to be free enough to experiment with strange temporary jobs in crazy locations? I thought I was being a badass selling sausages on the side of the road in Queensland. Or chasing sheep through the outback on a quad bike. I was content in the knowledge that I wasn’t just sticking to the 9-5 jobs but really seeing Australia.
I didn’t quite expect to EXPERIENCE AUSTRALIA working out in Arnhem Land, an aboriginal reserve situated in Australia’s Northern Territory. You need written permission from the chief elder to enter and even Australians cannot enter without it. So when I found a job advertisement for a camp assistant, how on earth could I turn that down!? This would really be a once in a lifetime experience. This is a place you only see in documentaries, and I get to live and work there!?!?
Simon, the camp owner, wanted someone for 4 weeks but gave me the option to leave after week 1 because this isn’t everyones cup of tea. Not for the fact that there is no internet, no phone signal, NOTHING. But the type of work is not exactly for the faint hearted. Simon held hunting tours, accommodating to a large American clientele he would take them out with his riffles or bows to hunt down a champion sized buffalo.
After stalking the prey, Simon would then skin the beast immediately, remove the cape, chop the head off and take the rib eye. I never quite understood why people would be so proud to pose with this glorious animal. Hunting to me is not a sport and should remain a method of survival only. However, I really wanted to immerse myself within this area of life I had been so sheltered from. I wanted to see it for myself. I got angry. A LOT. I still hate it to this day. But I have a greater understanding of it all now. I educated myself on this subject first hand, and that’s what life is all about.
From Darwin, Simon paid for me to catch the bus to Katherine and had pre-arranged to pick me up from there. Arnhem Land is accessible only during dry season and after a 7 hour bus journey, we still had to drive through the night arriving at the chief elders house around 8pm.
Our camp was still 2 hours into the bush, so we couldn’t stay long. Just long enough to hear a few amazing tales and give my thanks for letting me onto his land.
Simon showed me to my tent and I instantly fell asleep, awakening to the morning birds at dawn. Two new clients were due to arrive that day, so there was little time to show me around. My main job was to help out in the morning, pack a lunch for the guests, then the day was mine, just doing some laundry here and there, and relaxing till they returned. It didn’t really feel like a job. Helping with breakfast and laundry and then relaxing along the river trying to spot crocodiles for the rest of the afternoon… OK! I’m down with this.
The days played out like that for the first week.
I would wake around 6.30am naturally from the birdsong and gentle sunrise.
Sit with Simon around the campfire with a mug of coffee to warm up the old cockles.
7.30am: Help prepare breakfast.
8am: Drink more coffee. Chat with the clients.
Everything was easy here. Just relax.
9am: Prepare a lunch for the day.
10am: Say goodbye to Simon and the guests.
12am: Do some laundry. Relax.
1pm: Start the generator (Here is a story for you; I had had plenty of experience starting little generators out on the property in Queensland. Here, there were 2 main generators. One, rather small, only powering the laundry and other small appliances. The other, was the beast. Simon showed me how to test it and start it.
“Not a single woman has EVER cold started this on the first try. It’s pretty tricky to…” BRROOOOOOOOOOOOOM. His face just dropped. Yeah. That’s right. Walk away like a boss).
Around 3pm: start a fire to heat the water for the shower.
6pm: Start a fire and prep for dinner
7pm-Late: Drink lots of wine, eat lots of food and talk till the fire went out.
The following day I would venture out with the clients on my first hunt. By foot we would trek through the bush, using the wind as our side kick, we would hunt down a prize buffalo. But for now, I shall retire to my tent and wait for the morning light to wake me.
Next in this series: Hunting For Buffalo in Arnhem Land
This post does include affiliate links to products or companies which I have personally used and would highly recommend! If you click on an ad, at no extra cost to you, I make a small commission from the sale. All of which goes straight back into my travels and my YouTube channel to bring you even more PsychoTraveller goodness!