This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2006 Travels October 4


There was a lot of the usual paperwork and tidying up of loose ends. As more people were working on site, there was much more detail of the work being done. It really was amazing how fast things were progressing. There seemed to be new company employees and various subbies arriving on a daily basis. At times, it took some effort for me to sort out who was who and what they were here to do, not to mention whether they were supposed to appear on my paysheets.

Resize of 10-02-2006 01 plant RV1

Quantity of plant on site indicative of work really ramping up

Put in the weekly pay sheets. John had worked 77 hours, I’d worked 73. This meant that, in a week, we had earned nearly as much as one of us did in a whole season in our previous casual jobs!

R asked me to phone Darwin and chase up progress on some bar fridges he’d asked be sent down. These were destined for some of the men’s rooms, so they could keep their after-work drinks cold at Fly Camp as there was no refrigeration provided for such things.

The company semi/road train would be coming on a run from Darwin soon, with some buildings. An issue had arisen over this, because of differing rules between WA and NT. The truck would be a few cms outside WA regulations on length or height – in amongst R’s furious diatribe about it, I didn’t quite catch which one! That meant one trailer would have to be left at the NT/WA border, the front one brought all the way down here, the prime mover would then have to go back to the border for the second trailer. That meant an extra 3,500kms or so of fuel used and extra days of driver time. All for the sake of a few cms. However, they had managed to wrest one concession from the authorities – the second trailer could be brought into WA as far as Kununurra and left there, rather than beside the road at the border! Our federal system of governance often does not make sense.

Amongst the stuff John had to buy on his Hedland trip today were four bottles of Bundaberg rum! A BB order – think he is working very hard to keep the men happy.


A happy picture of us; would be a while before there was another of those……

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2006 Travels October 3


Found out today that I was supposed to be keeping a Document Register – containing every document of relevance to the project, including emails and the like. Now they tell me!

With fortuitous coincidence, the remote technical guru had finally managed to get my computer and the printer talking to each other, so I would be able to make print copies of my emails to date, for said Register. Seems the problem lay in the fact that he thought one of the machines was a different model to what it actually was! Really? He supplied them. I wonder at the competence of supposed experts.

Resize of 10-02-2006 06 crane placing dongas

Craning SPQ’s into position

I had to phone a fencing company to arrange for fencing to go in around the end of the kitchen complex to make a secure yard. I wasn’t really sure why.

Had to email HO to arrange  for $1000 petty cash for RV2, to be collected by John from a bank. K phoned to ask me to do that. Seemed he did not have an office computer set up down there, or he maybe did not have the skills to do his own communicating.

John had a Hedland trip.

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Taking some shape…..

Back at Fly Camp I had to make up 6 rooms. Would make damn sure that the time taken to do this went onto the tally of hours worked! Not fun when one was hot and tired and hungry.

Now that work on RV 2 was ramping up – we had eight workers down there today – the South Point Fly Camp was also getting short of room. With BHP’s current ban on trucking dongas down there, could not add any rooms on the company’s behalf, like had happened here. The guy that ran that camp had already given up waiting for K to notify him of our workers who would be arriving and wanting rooms – he’d already had some unexpected arrivals – and had asked me to try to keep him updated, as I did here!

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2006 Travels October 2


I had lots of paperwork to do this morning, catching up on what had occurred on site yesterday.

Had to write up an incident that happened yesterday, and contact the transport company involved, about it. There was a delivery of two donga buildings on one of the usual two trailer road trains. The driver managed to reverse into one of the buildings, after it was unloaded, and put a decent dent in the side. A dinged donga!

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Dinged donga!

John had a trip to Hedland. He had to return the sheets he bought there last week, because the beds in the new dongas  were king single size and the ones he bought did not fit. I had discovered that the hard way, when I tried to make up some of the beds. He was rather lucky, I thought, to be able to get eight sets of king single sets in the town!

I could now make the new dongas up properly, when they were needed.

Negotiations were under way with the housekeeping lady who did the cleaning and room work for the dongas provided by FMG for the Fly Camp, to also do the cleaning and bed changing for the company’s dongas here. I really did not want to be coming back from twelve hours in the office and then having to do that stuff. Turnover through the rooms could be quite quick, as subbies came and went.

Now that H was working for us, his wife would be coming up here too. It was likely that there would be some work for her too, in helping to set up the rooms in RV1.

Today was another big step in the project’s progress. A crane arrived from Hedland and began to lift in the accommodation  dongas for the first Pod – all 24 of them. Our equipment could not do this job without breaking up the newly laid cement paths. The cementing machinery could not do its work with the dongas in place. Catch 22! Hence the crane.

Resize of 10-02-2006 02 forklifting donga

Using the forklift to take a SPQ donga from the lay down area to the crane – driving blind?

R was really furious. He’d been down to check progress at RV2, where K was in charge, and discovered that the layout lines had been pegged wrongly. This would have created major problems had it not been picked up. I supposed K was the best they could do, but he really did not seem to have much in the way of organizational skills. R would have to do a lot of checking on him.

With SPQ dongas in place, I would eventually have to go round the site and record the exact location of each one, on a diagram, with its ID number. But that was a fair way off yet.

This afternoon, there was a steady build up of really dark storm clouds, that came in from the north west.

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Storm coming from the west

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Looking very ominous…..

Then there was quite a nasty dust storm across the camp.

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We all sheltered inside the office and waited for it to pass. The associated wind was strong enough to make the office donga really shake.

Back at Fly Camp, after work, there were more storm clouds building in the distance and some lightning evident.

Resize of 10-02-2006 13 Fly camp storm coming

It hasn’t finished yet….

Someone who knew the region had told us that we were coming into the storm season now. The delay in being able to start the project meant a greater chance of being impacted by storms.

Resize of 10-02-2006 15 Fly camp storm coming 3

Really clearly defined storm front passing over Fly Camp