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150 jobs up for grabs in Antarctica - and some pay more than $200k

"Esther Dewitt" (30/01/2020)


The greatest adventure jobs in the world have just gone up for grabs as Australia put out the call for more than 150 people to staff its Antarctic research stations. 

All rent and board is free at the four bases where chefs prepare your meals for you - and you get to be called an 'expeditioner'.

Wages are good, you get to learn new skills, explore the last great wilderness on earth - and you also get a special $60,974 per year allowance paid on top of your base wage while working in Antarctica. 

For example, a medical practitioner will earn a base salary of up to $199,031 a year - plus an additional $60,974 per year allowance.

The information technology officer earns a base salary of $74,469 - plus the same $60,974 per year allowance, while working in Antarctica. 

The Australian Antarctic Division wants skilled workers to sign up for anything from a summer job that lasts just four months to a full 15-month stint over the Antarctic winter.

If you are a chef, you could be off to Antarctica in the next season's intake

Christmas at the Davis Station: Staff must make their own fun at the isolated research outposts

Life on the Antarctic bases is never boring. Two expeditioners ice-biking at Casey Station

If you are a chef, a logistical supply officer, medical doctor,  IT officer, boilermaker welder, mechanic, carpenter or plumber - and you want to see a penguin colony - then your ship just came in.  

In summer, when access is easy, there can be up to 100 people on each of the four bases.

When the long winter night sets in, the stations are evacuated down to a skeleton staff of about 20 people - sometimes as few as 14 people - who must remain there, trapped, over the big freeze.

The small community must rely on each other to keep each other safe and maintain the station in the cold and dark.

Because of this isolation everyone needs to get along, so the Australian Antarctic Division investigates each applicant's psychological and medical suitability for the posting as well as their personal qualities more rigorously than an ordinary job.

The jobs are open to women and men who can make their own fun on the remote and isolated stations, get along well with others, learn new skills and keep spirits high.

Staff work hard at the bases, but there's plenty of down time to relax and play pool

Visiting a penguin colony is definitely on the agenda for the weekend

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Share 11k shares All the staff pitch in for kitchen duties like washing up, but qualified chefs prepare the meals

Breathtaking scenery that hardly anybody gets to see is in your backyard

There tends to be more men than women on the stations, with 82 percent of this season's workers being men and 18 per cent women - however this year Macquarie Island became the first Australian Antarctic station with an even split. 

The average age of staff is 43 years. 

Video footage from the stations shows workers enjoying life, celebrating Christmas, playing guitar and pitching in together for kitchen duties.

The relaxed lifestyle shows people kicking back with a beer after a hard day of work, playing table tennis or pool, cycling on the ice and mountain climbing.  

Workers get to see glaciers, emperor penguins, seals and antarctic wonders such as the aurora australis from their remote outpost. 

If you like outdoors adventures, this could be the perfect place to work

Nothing can be grown outside, but a thriving hydroponics greenhouse provides fresh salad

Workers eating at the lunch room in Casey Station. Staff tend to skew male with 82 percent men and 18 percent women registered this season

Fresh vegetables and salads are grown hydroponically in special rooms to ensure the food quality is high.

The majority of the roles now on offer are trade-based positions that keep the stations running.

Lady tradie Amy Chetcuti, an expedition mechanic, has returned from her tour of duty at Mawson and Davis stations where she was part of the team that fixed everything from excavators to generators.

'It's a long list when you look at the list of machinery on station and from a trades' perspective, you won't find a job like it anywhere else in the world,' she said in a media release.

An emperor penguin guards its chick. All workers can help contribute to Antarctic science

Mechanic Amy Chetcuti loved her tours of duty at Davis and Mawson stations

Mawson Station shoes the scattering of huts and buildings that make up a research base

Workers can also contribute to Antarctic science.  

'I was able to help with some of the science activities which included collecting air quality monitoring samples, conducting a seal survey and sea ice drilling,' Ms Chetcuti said.

'There are so many good things about living and working in Antarctica and it really is the experience of a lifetime.'