Broccoli Fields Forever

Ask me 12 years ago if I thought I’d be working as a broccoli harvester when I’m 30, and I would simply have laughed at you! But there I was, aged 30, working on farms in Northern Tasmania as a broccoli harvester. Loving it.

I got into it totally by chance, but through my insistence and “get up and go” attitude, which has paid off a number of times in life. If someone calls me lazy, I’ll walk to the nearest shop with them and force them to buy me a dictionary to check the definition of “lazy.” 

As somebody I can’t remember once said “you don’t just sit in a rocking chair and build a revolution” (maybe they didn’t even say that, but it fits). Daniel and Neil had left me in Devonport, they had no dreams of doing any harvest work or manual labour here in Tasmania. So as The Beautiful South once said “I’ll sail this ship alone.”

Manual Labour and Harvest Work are common jobs for travellers and new Australian migrants to do. For those, like myself initially here on a one year visa (my first “Working Holiday Visa”), by doing this type of work, you can extend your visa. For most “Working Holiday Visa” owners, this gives you an extra 12 months on your initial 12 months, meaning you can stay in Australia working for 24 months or 2 years in a row (or in two separate spells each of 12 months). 

After this you have to become a resident or a student to work (or do it illegally cash in hand), and can only spend 6 month periods in Australia if you are a non resident.

I really didn’t think I’d like Australia that much to stay longer, never mind wanting to spend my days working on remote farms and fields. But life takes you where it does, and it took me here…to the wilderness of places such as Wesley Vale. I mean where the fuck is Wesley Vale???

Basically it’s a farming area 12 kilometres or so west of Devonport. It has a local shop and that’s about it. It’s barely a village or a hamlet – it’s simply just a farming area. And it was there on a spanking hot Saturday in February 2010 that I started my new job as a broccoli harvester. I guess you could call it broccoli picking, broccoli farming, broccoli cutting, but I reckon the best way to describe it is broccoli harvesting.

I met a lot of new friends on the broccoli job, mainly the Australians, French and Taiwanese. It was some experience and I cherished every minute. My days on broccoli will be covered further on other entries on here, including being lucky enough to work on the world’s first broccoli harvester.

When I worked on Broccoli – February – May 2010

Broccoli Fields I worked on – 

Pulp Road, Wesley Vale
Chaplin’s Field 1, Moriarty
Chaplin’s Field 2, Moriarty
Radford’s Field, Wesley Vale
“the field on the hill”, Wesley Vale
“the field on the hill”, Winspears Road, East Devonport
“the 4 paddocks”, East Sassafras
“the other paddock”, East Sassafras
“a smaller paddock”, East Sassafras
Woodside Farm, “the big one”, Poatina
Lake House, “the really big one”, 20 kilometres west of Poatina
Formosa Farm, Cressy
Wallabada, Cressy
(They didn’t all have names, or I couldn’t remember all the names)

Types of Broccoli I worked on –

Fresh Market Broccoli
Iron Man
Atomic
Processed Broccoli

Rate of Pay – $17.89 per hour (Just under £10 sterling) to begin with (on Level 1) and then a rise to $18.15 (Just over £10 sterling) when I was on Level 2

(*this is a very good rate of pay, considering that a year before I earned £38 a day for an 11 hour shift on the cross channel ferries! I can earn more than that in just 4 hours of broccoli cutting)

Normal Hours – 7.30 am – 5 pm (includes 2 x 15 minute breaks and 1 x 30 minute lunch break)

Nationalities I worked with – Australian, Taiwanese, Japanese, Hong Kongese, English, Italian, German, French, Canadian

Who I worked with – Greg, Shaun, Christi, Alison, Simon, Hayley, Daniel, Jenny, Paul, Jesper, Francesca, Marina, Phil, Felicity, Jay, Cameron, Mango, Leona, Vivien

Broccoli boxes filled by me – 350 – 400

Broccolis picked, cut, de-leafed and boxed by me – 150,000

Key Songs –

QUEEN – WE WILL WE WILL BROCCOLI

THE BEATLES – BROCCOLI FIELDS FOREVER

DAYS LIKE THESE
(featuring the line…
They make the music that we play
Sound oh so sweet
And my mother always made me eat broccoli
And now look at me
I’m as strong as can be
So put some spice in my sauce
Honey in my tea…)

GETTING A LIFT ON THE BACK OF A TRACTOR ON MY FIRST DAY OF BROCCOLI CUTTING, AT PULP ROAD, WESLEY VALE, FEBRUARY 2010:

GETTING A LIFT ON THE BACK OF A TRACTOR AT THE BIG PADDOCK IN EAST SASSAFRAS, MARCH 2010:

ONBOARD THE WORK MINIBUS (WORK DIRECT) SOMEWHERE IN THE FIELDS NEAR EAST SASSAFRAS/MORIARTY, MARCH 2010:

HAVING A BREAK FROM BROCCOLI PICKING AT POATINA, APRIL 2010:

HOW TO CUT BROCCOLI, IN FORMOSA FARM, CRESSY, APRIL 2010:

BROCCOLI CUTTING AT LAKEHOUSE FARM, POATINA, APRIL 2010:

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About Jonny Blair

I'm Jonny Blair, a travelling Northern Irishman. Since leaving my hometown a decade ago I have managed to visit over 100 countries and over 600 towns or cities across all 7 continents. Along the way I have worked in countless jobs! Join my journey on Don't Stop Living - a lifestyle of travel as I provide you with tips and inspiration to live your travel dreams! Safe travels! Follow me on Jonny Blair Google Plus
This entry was posted in Australia, Broccoli, Cressy, Devonport, East Sassafras, Farming, Jobs, Longford, Moriarty, Oceania, Poatina, Tasmania, Wesley Vale. Bookmark the permalink.

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