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admin | Category: Shipping Container Dimensions | 30.06.2014
Shooting the vast Australian outback had been my goal ever since I first arrived in Sydney. After a more than 6 hour flight from Sydney, from one corner of Australia to the other, I touched down into a landscape exactly as I had imagined. But the high wages mean sky-high rents in outback towns in the Pilbara region – something we quickly discovered when we drove into the Aboriginal “dry town” of Roebourne, where alcohol has been banned due to high rates of domestic violence.
In outback towns which before the mining boom struggled to exist, we met workers from around the world — French, South Africans, Germans, Koreans, New Zealanders, and of course lots of Australians. Wages may be very good, gardeners earn AUD$30 an hour, cleaners $25 to $30 an hour and semi-skilled workers around $100,000 a year, but it’s not easy money and the living is definitely not easy. With little accommodation, groups of 10 to 15 people live in 3 bedroom houses for $2,000 a week rent. High rents and a lack of accommodation means lots of mine workers operate on a fly-in, fly-out scheme with companies paying for monthly flights between the mines and Perth, the closest city at more than 1,500 kilometers south (932 miles). Life in the mine camps can be “soul-destroying” said a woman who works on a gas plant and asked not to be identified.
We met her as she and a friend enjoyed “the staircase to the moon”, a spectacular natural phenomenon when the full moon reflects on the low tide in the Burrup Peninsula – just one of the natural rewards for enduring the harsh outback life.
After spending five days driving in the long, empty outback and talking to mine workers like Monish, I realized that the dream of a better life is an integral part of Australia’s mining boom – but it’s a dream that takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

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It is sad to see this once lively and socially active town, being reduced to a place were people mainly work and sleep and social life is going down the drain. Photographer based in Sydney, covering the very busy Australian news environment, plenty of sports and business. The land was littered with red iron ore rocks, clear blue skies stretched with an immensity you only feel at sea, and trains, huge trains, hauled iron ore from the mines to be loaded onto ships bound for China. But with more than AUD$400 billion in new resource projects on the drawing board, miners are struggling to find people who want to live and work in this harsh environment, despite offering wages in the six figures for truck drivers and construction workers – more than Australian doctors and lawyers earn. After hours of driving, we found a bed in Roebourne in a dirty hotel room for $230 a night, with a can of insecticide in case of a midnight attack by some weird Aussie pest. All of them came to the outback with different dreams, but the same objective: earn the money to make those dreams come true. Thousands live in mine camps where shipping containers have been converted into rooms with tiny bathrooms. With an international airport located within 2 hours drive at Port Hedland, some workers fly to the Indonesian resort island of Bali for the weekend.
Waking up in a mine camp means your workplace is at your doorstep — handy for the 10 to 12 hours shifts.

He arrived in Karratha two years ago, with a diploma in building and mechanical drafting, and now gets paid $35 an hour in an aluminum welding factory, for a 40 to 45 hour week.
His words echo that of Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan who said in his May 10 budget speech: “We believe in the Australian promise that if you work hard you won’t be left behind”. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Some even fly to Ireland to spend a fortnight with their loved ones after 12 weeks of non-stop work.
Monish will soon fly home to meet his wife, after his parents helped select some candidates, and will bring his new wife to Karratha where they will start a family. Service clubs such as Rotary, Lions etc can’t get new members because of the 12 hour shifts people have to work.

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