Want To Be In Charge Of A Remote Tasmanian Island? It's Possible

Brilliance | Dec. 14, 2017

We have a proposition for you: move to a remote island off the coast of Australia and stay in a 19th-century light keeper's house for six months in return for being the island's caretaker. Oh, and you can bring your best friend or significant other to help out. Sounds like a dream, right?

The Job Description

Before you start filling out an application to move to Maatsuyker Island, off Tasmania's south coast, let's dive into the responsibilities of the role (sorry—this isn't a vacation). First and foremost, you need to find a buddy you can trust to help keep you safe and entertained. The light keeper's house doesn't have a TV, radio, or internet service (translation: no Netflix). According to an advertisement by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, they're looking for self-sufficient, healthy people that are "able to carry out caretaking services including maintenance of grounds, buildings, plants, and equipment." A former caretaker tells ABC Australia that you'll likely spend two to three days mowing a mile of grass every other week. Caretakers will also receive training and payment to make daily weather observations for the Bureau of Meteorology.

Let's talk about that weather... the park service graciously describes it as "wet and often windswept," while The Telegraph gives it a less flattering description: "think constant wind, cold and a little less rainfall than Scotland." This is because the island is affected by polar weather systems coming from further south. As you might imagine, the park service is looking for people who can handle the rugged terrain and who have experience "living and working for extended periods in a remote, isolated and climatically challenging locations with limited outside support." You'll be transported to the island (10 kilometers/6 miles off the coast of Tasmania) by a helicopter, including everything you'll need—including food provisions for at least three months. If possible, a helicopter will bring you more food halfway through your time on the island. Talk about some high stakes snack decisions. So why does Tasmania go to such great lengths to preserve this lonely island?

Here's Why It Matters

While it may get a bad reputation for its weather and rocky landscape, Maatsuyker Island is important in a number of ways. First, the light station itself holds heritage value. And, more importantly, the island is a significant natural habitat for breeding seabirds and seals, as well as a site of importance for the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. The islands were founded in 1642 by Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman.

So are you ready for isolation? Applications close January 30, 2017 for this year's program, but the park service searches for volunteers on a regular basis. Let the odds be ever in your favor!

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