Published: April 25th 2007April 25th 2007
Crystal cave Yanchep National Park. stalagmites and stalagtights, really pretty.
An unfortunate but predictable eventuality. I needed to earn some cash as nibbling into my savings would not last for long and so with a heavy heart we were off to Perth, to register with every job agency we could find. Alas there seemed to be no work for us rubbish! After a few days of hunting and “we’ll call you.” we did receive a phone call from one company they had a job for one of us the next day making industrial racking as it was described as more of a mans job (GRR) by the agency it was off to work for me.
Working for Dexion was pretty easy just like playing with an over sized mechano set. While I worked Zoe was left unemployed, until eventually she found work in telesales…. Sold her soul to the devil I said! Thankfully telesales was not Zoes cup of tea and so she left after 3 days unfortunately she had to complete the first week to get paid and only doing 3 there was no pay for Zoe. I really can’t blame her for quitting though, I wouldn’t even consider telesales it’s a soul-destroying job!
At leased something good
I took this by mistake, i couldn't get the camera to work as i wanted, but i think it's quite nice. Crystal cave again
came from it on her way back through Perth she spotted a job agency that we hadn’t seen and upon talking to the lady she could place the pair of us in work within a couple of days. The first job she offered was pruning roses down south or the second job was tractor driving on an olive farm further north. We had planned on moving south, as I had the idea of visiting Margaret River and doing a spot of surfing but the option of tractor driving however would open many more doors of employment for the future. So despite our (my) plan of traveling south for the surfing, the offer of being taught to drive a tractor was too good an offer to turn down (they were offering more money too).
We were put in contact with Drummond (a Zimbabwean / South African and pretty hard to understand on the telephone but a very nice man) who told us that we would have to wait for a day or two as the olive harvest hadn’t yet begun. So we waited at our camp site, living out the back of Jessie (our trusty steed) finding broken things to
This is what i wanted to do
OK maybe i didn't take this one, its a poster in the visitor center.
fix, two days passed and no word from Drummond then three days then four, I began to worry a little as I had left my job with Dexion and we didn’t have any money coming in. When we phoned Drummond he apologised for the delay but the olive harvest was delayed, but to tide us over he could offer us a place on a chicken farm cleaning out the chickens. Out of our need for money and a change of scenery we accepted the chicken job, as it was just to tide us over until the olive harvest started.
We woke early (well early for us 8am) to drive to Joondalup for our meeting with Drummond who was then going to take us for a medical but when he turned up he explained to us that we were to have a choice, work with the smelly chickens (Yuck!) or go to work on the olive farm. Well there wasn’t much of a decision in my mind!
Drummond had arranged a meeting with a friend of his (Dellis) who runs a bush stay in Regans Ford about 40km from the olive farm, as we didn’t have to meet Dellis
Zoe and I
Taking a stroll round the lake.
for another eight hours we had some time to kill and it was only about an hours drive north. We figured that there was Yanchep national park and a few little towns along the way, so we should pop in to see what they had to offer.
Yanchep national park was really nice with Crystal cave, which used to have an under ground river running through it but due to environmental changes, the drought and increased demand for water in the Perth area no-longer runs through the cave but runs deeper underground. However all the stalagmites and stalactites were still there to be seen and very impressive. Yanchep is also home to many different forms of wildlife, more Cockatiels than you could point a stick at (its much better seeing them in the wild in a flock opposed to in a pet shop in a cage), the kangaroos seemed pretty used to the tourists as they were pretty much oblivious to our presence and quite happy to pose for a photo or two. The Koalas however were a little less willing, hiding high in the tree tops and pretty hard to spot (small grey furry thing hiding high up
Aww... Cute and fluffy..
in a big grey tree usually asleep too).
Leaving Yanchep we traveled up the coast to explore the sea-side towns Yanchep (itself), Two Rocks, Guilderton, Seabird. Nothing much really to these towns just some small houses, some beautiful coast line a lighthouse at Guilderton and some inviting sand dunes. The sand dunes looked a little too tempting with 4x4 trails running all over them, we just couldn’t resist trying out Jessies four wheel drive. As I grew more confident with all the extra traction the four wheel drive low range gave the sand got softer, and as I went for a gear change suddenly she stalled! I hadn’t been quick enough with the gear change and the sand sapped our motion to a stop. Normally not a problem on hard ground but on the really soft and dry sand getting going again proved tricky. Zoe was beginning to panic and so was I. After about ten minutes or so we had managed to get ourselves turned around but the soft sand just sapped the motion from our wheels, every attempt to free ourselves was stumped by the same piece of extra soft sandy hill. After realising that we were
Kangaroo with joey in her pouch. (yanchep)
not going to get out that way we deflated our tyres and attacked the little hill from another angle doing a quick turn we scrambled for traction and were over the hill and out of the little sand pit. Without stopping or trying to change gear we headed for firmer ground and the way out. We arrived back at the entrance to Guilderton at the gas station hearts still racing as we inflated our tyres back up to normal pressure. Lesson learnt! Don’t stop on soft sand, change gear fast and have another 4x4 with you to pull you out should you get stuck! And don’t get too cocky!
Our first off road lesson over and still a little shaken we headed further north to meet Dellis at the Regans Ford roadhouse. We met Dellis a little before dark, after a quick hello we were off to “Soulhaven Bushstay” (Google it). Dellis’s little Suzuki didn’t seem the ideal car for dashing down the dusty unmade road grounding out at almost every bump in the road. We arrived at Soulhaven crossing the top field we had to wait for the Kangaroos to decide weather or not they wanted to play
chicken with the Landcruiser or not.
The next day Drummond arrives with the paperwork for employing us and all the forms for taxation (boring) but then explains (unofficially) that if we are to tick certain boxes we get taxed at a lesser rate, 13%! BRILLIANT!! After Drummond take us to the olive farm for a look round and a quick tutorial on driving tractors and forklifts. We also meet our new boss Jim (he’s really nice and so unbelievably chilled) who lets us go practice driving. The tractor is not like driving a car with five gears forward and one reverse, oh no it has one lever for really really silly slow (very low ratio), slow (low ratio) and normal tractor speed (high ratio). Then you have a normal five speed gear box, but each gear has three in-between gears that you control with a switch on-top of the gearlever and then you have a lever for forward and reverse. So in total you have forty-five gears forward and forty-five gears backwards. Sounds complicated but really you only use fifteen or so gears, you can still pull away in 45th gear if you want. Driving a forklift is harder
Forklift L plates
Drummond teaching us how to drive a forklift
than it looks with one lever for forward/neautral/reverse, with one hand on the wheel you control three levers up/down, tilt and side shift. Trying to co-ordinate all of them and not impale things as you are steering is a challenge in it’s self. This will take some mastering, then there is reversing with a trailer to learn too… Hmm…
Or first twelve at “Dandaragan estate olive farm” wasn’t a bad first day if you discount us both getting our tractors stuck (Zoe jack-knifed trying to reverse and my trailer wheel fell down a hole) but that is what the low ranges are for rev the guts out of it and it pulls itself out. Then I discover why there is a tilt on the forklift, as I lifted a box of olives (about half a ton) my forklift caught the stack next to me and the box I was lifting just jumped off my forklift and plummeted to the floor spilling every olive across the floor… OOPS! Infront of the boss too. Just as well the boss is so nice. He simply explained to me why I had dropped it and how not to do it again.
How to drive a tractor... Seb the bosses dog came to say hello too.
is going well, we are both enjoying it but the long hours do take a toll and we do end up pretty grumpy. At leased the pay is pretty good and all the people are really nice. I will update you all when there are some good stories from “Dandaragan Estate” olive farm. Best be off now Zoe is cooking dinner and we have to be back at work for seven am. I am sure there will be another update soon.