I started my farm work in September. I flew up to Townsville and then went to a zucchini farm, it was near a small town called Clare. I wasn't there long, as I knew I wouldn't get all my days in one run there. As a backpacker, I'm required to complete at least 88 days mandatory farm work in rural Australia. I gave my notice in at the farm and I decided to move to a working hostel in Ayr. It's a shame I had to leave the zucchini farm, I met some great people there. I've even caught up with some of them recently in Melbourne.
The next farm I worked on was in a place called Guthalungra, Queensland. The farm was 70km from the hostel, but it was an easy, moderately paced farm. Some days we would pick bell peppers, but most of the time we were picking honeydew and cantaloupe melons. The supervisors were usually nice, and on hot days they would often leave us a cool box full of ice cold drinks. After three weeks of working in Guthalungra, I was moved to a watermelon contracting team at short notice. When you're in a working hostel, there's a good chance that you'll work on a few different farms.
On Halloween, I witnessed something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I was working with a Belgian backpacker, when he convulsed and collapsed due to suspected heatstroke. The team and I did our best to save him, but I knew it was already too late. He was rushed to Townsville via air ambulance, sadly he died at 4:50am the next morning. I don't want to really say any more, as there's still no report from the autopsy. I will reveal the full chain of events in the future though. It really hit me for six and I still struggle to talk about that tragic day.
Wentworth started well, the motel we stayed in for the first week was nice and we worked straight away. However, I knew from day one that this was not going to be a big money farm like the ones in Queensland. I ended up quitting, partly because I wasn't really getting along with my team, and partly because I was still traumatised from what happened in Queensland. I really needed to get out of the intense watermelon picking environment. I sort of blew a fuse and walked off the farm to hitch-hike home. The person who I thumbed a lift off, actually offered me a job on a vineyard. Talk about a lucky break!
Melbourne has not been easy, it's drained my finances and I've struggled to find a full-time job. The hostel I'm staying in isn't ideal and I've had a couple of CVS episodes since I've been here. I've been so nervous about breaking into my savings, that I've considered going back to a farm. On the plus side of things, I am happy to be back in the city and there plenty of Asian food for me to try.
I am using some of the popular social media platforms, so if my story interests you, or even if you want to connect, pop by and say hello. You can subscribe to my Youtube, like my Facebook page, tweet me on Twitter, pin me on Pinterest and follow me on Instagram for all the latest blog posts.
The Hand That Bites