Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…impressed by The Sun

This week I’ve read in quite a few places about plans by the South Australian government to get travellers to stay in their area by offering a variety of odd and tempting jobs – from tasting beer and judging ‘beach babe’ contests to remodelling homes for fairy penguins.

This story spread far and wide. I first read it on the Metro on the way to work, a friend had read it elsewhere and told me about it and then a quick search showed it had made itself as far as the Guardian and the BBC.

A few of the headlines included:

“Koala catchers, beer tasters and shark taggers wanted by Australia” (Telegraph)
“Fancy koala catching? Australia needs you for new holiday jobs” (Daily Mail)
“Australia tries to lure Brits with odd jobs including being a kangaroo poo collector” (Mirror)
“Wanted: Koala catchers from UK” (Sun)
“Odd jobs bid to lure Scottish workers to Australia” (Herald)

The plan worked and with my visa in hand I went searching for these jobs, only I couldn’t find them anywhere. There was nothing on the South Australian goverment’s website to suggest any of these dream jobs existed but keen to do something a bit different with my time down under I sent an e-mail to their vacancies department. I have to admit to being slightly saddened when I read their very polite reply this morning which included the line “We believe that this has nothing to do with the South Australian Government”.

It struck me as odd that they didn’t know anything about it and reading through those articles again I saw that they all very definitely said that the SA government was involved. From the headlines above, I read:

“The South Australian government has launched the campaign…”
“The jobs are being promoted by the South Australian government in an attempt to lure young British workers to its shores.”
“The jobs are being promoted in a push by chiefs in South Australia…”
“The Government of South Australia say other jobs include shark taggers and a grassless golf course greenkeeper.”
“…as the Government of South Australia highlights some of the most unusual roles going unfilled…”

It seemed strange that all of these places – and many more besides – would come up with the same story with similar jobs available (some did have an extra couple, so it did seem as if there had been some sort of press release behind all this publicity).

I’ve chosen to mention the five publications above deliberately because sites like BBC didn’t give a byline to their writer, and I wanted to e-mail the journalists. Thanks to Journalisted I found e-mail addresses (or probable addresses, at least) for all five and got in touch. I wasn’t sure if I’d get any responses but so far, about four hours after I’d sent the messages, I’ve had two replies and one out of office saying the guy from the Herald is on night shift so won’t be in the office until later.

The guy from the Mail got back to me with what looks like a copy and pasted line from his press release, but the link goes to a site that I don’t think is very useful. What impressed me the most was the response from the Sun journalist, Jane Hamilton.

Jane responded to me within three minutes, shocked at the SA government response because it was them who gave her the information and she also offered to pass on my e-mail address to the people in charge of the campaign. Not long later she replied again to wish me luck on my trip and within the hour a nice lady from the government of South Australia had been in touch with me regarding the jobs with lots of information for me.

As a pseudo-snob I admit I wasn’t expecting someone from The Sun to come to my rescue, especially someone who’s been there for so many years, but she’s done them proud and I’m very thankful for her help.

Update: Chris from the Herald did get back to me later on with a useful link or two. He also invited me to keep in touch in case I got an odd job over there so he can run a story on me. Looks like you might not be getting rid of me completely.

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Filed under: australia, ,

One Response

  1. Lynsey May says:

    ha, well done that woman. I want to see photos of you with fairy penguins one of these days Oliver.

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