Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pear-Picking at Shepparton, Vic

1: Yorkshire couple Tom and Louise
2: Echuca figurants
3: The campsite at the farm
4: The dining area
5: The brits
Turnbull orchards 22 Feb. 09 onwards

After 2.5 weeks picking pears, the pears ran out on that farm, and we were told (on the last day) that apples would start in about a week. Interesting experience picking fruit – I got pretty fast towards the end, picking 3 bins a day (a bin is approx 24 sixteen kg bagfuls). Ie 3 times 35$ per day – 90 dollars after the 13% tax. Not all that good for 7 or 8 hours of hard labour. Plus there were some days where we were basically used as cheap labour – clearing a sparse field of fruit – taking 8 hours to fill a bin … 35$.
A lot depends on the farm you work on, and the quality of their trees in producing dense fruit. Some other pickers I talked to in town were doing 6 bins per day… now that’s good money.
Anyway, I saved 200$ the second week, after food and other expenses. Not too hot – the same as what I make in a day of Outdoor Instructor work , though this is not regular work (and more than this on expeditions). Given a farm with better fruit, one can make reasonable money, but one needs to shop around and put up with some bad work.
It’s certainly a job you can just turn up and find work in a day, if they happen to be picking that week. Good to have as a fallback.

Felt good to be using my muscles – I enjoy such work in itself, quite apart from the money I make at it.

Earlier entry:

Loving the social life – Alex the older guy who worked for Optus. Lots of French bacpackers . Crazy parties on Fri nite.
The work is not too bad – have to watch lower back ache. I stretch using yoga child's pose several times in a day, and get rid of compression ache.
Getting faster. Nice to have a break from spoilt kids…

The main entertainment at Shepparton is going to the Mc Donald’s in Town (!), buying a coffee , apple pie, and surfing the net for free… not much else to do, except maybe fish in the river and canals, which is what the 4 brit backpackers do.

Pretty dull place. One Saturday, I drive to Echuca with a nice Yorkshire couple. Enjoy the sights, swim in the Murray.

4 brits together – all got a tattoo of Australia on their thighs…
They are from Sheffield and surrounds. 2 of them do Thai boxing, and will travel on to Thailand where they will do a month or more of training in a Thai boxing academy – they let you train at reduced costs if you compete in tournaments.


Cecilia said...

Shepparton - the entertainment capital of Oz! :)
Sounds like a boring place, but you managed to have some good times there!

Anonymous said...

Easy to get a job down there?