September, 30 2012
Port Hedland
Annet van der Voort
Photography

Denis

 

I’m a Refrigeration Mechanic. I do all the maintenance and service of air conditioners, cool rooms, and fridges. We have around two thousand air conditioners, including all the rooms, and about six cold rooms, they feed 800 – 1000 people a day here.  They run in this area, all year round. There are one or two weeks in the winter when they get turned off.

In the summer they will run 24/7. There are twenty of us in the maintenance team. I’ve been on site for a year tomorrow. I start at 6.30am, we do some prestart stretches, we figure out what jobs there are to do, if there is a breakdown we sort them out. We check the fridges, we’d be in serious trouble if the air conditioner breaks down, you’d know about it. We knock off at six o’clock, I go for a jog or walk, maybe to the pool, we sit outside the room, have a chat, then go to bed about eight or nine o’clock.

Before this job, I travelled around the mining sites and Aboriginal communities - employed through a private company that was subcontracted to BHP Billiton. I could travel fourteen hours straight, way out into the Gibson Desert, which was enjoyable but very nerve wracking when you’re driving on your own. I learnt a lot about traditions, about the way people live, it’s very interesting. I liked being on the road.

I’ve been doing FIFO for two-and-a-half years now, I have a house in Perth, it’s a house I’ve been doing up for a while.  I’m originally from Killarney, probably the most beautiful place in Ireland.

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