Greek philosopher Socrates, somewhere around 400BC, said ‘beware the bareness of the busy life’.
General manager of Eagle Drilling NQ Sally Forgan draws on that sentiment by adopting the ‘work hard, rest easy’ philosophy.
That’s more easily done in Charters Towers, where the surface exploration drilling company bases its operations, she says.
The ‘Towers’ is one of the oldest and most established mining regions in the country. As far back as the late 19th century, it was referred to as ‘The World’ and boasted its own stock exchange.
Ms Forgan said Eagle Drilling NQ called on that heritage and experience as a point of difference in delivering services to remote areas.
“I guess that’s the advantage of just having a small, family, private company, that there is a good culture, where you get in, you do a hard day’s work and come home safely,” she said. “Our senior people know our expectations and the standards we set.
“I guess 15 years ago, there could be still gentlemen working away during three months at a time and then having that small break off. I guess that those days are over, for our company anyway.
“For us, two weeks on one week off seems to be the standard …our crew’s really happy to work that because they can make good money in that time.
“People who know the drilling game and have been in it long enough, understand that the two and one roster is pretty good.”
Eagle Drilling NQ has 75 drillers and support staff on its roster, making the business one of the larger employers in Charters Towers.
One quality above all others stood out among drillers who adapted and enjoyed the lifestyle, Ms Forgan said.
“Some days can be pretty tough, and it can be tough being away from your family or just maybe a little bit disjointed from everyday life and seeing your mates and what they’re doing.
“But I think a sense of humour, that’s something that people can have in common with each other. They can have a joke and get on with their job.
“And a lot of young people entering the industry, they talk about being ‘passionate’. I give them all, ‘this job isn’t for everyone, but you can get so much rewards out of working if you’re passionate about doing a good job and working hard’.”
Channeling Banjo Paterson’s Clancy of the Overflow, Ms Forgan said Charters Towers was a centre that supported the demands of miners and offered rewards not found in the metropolitan areas from where so much FiFo was sourced.
“We really like where we live, I went to high school here and our family’s lived all through North Queensland. I’ve really begun to appreciate it in the last few years, especially.
“I guess the North Queensland region, the weather, the people … we lead simple day-to-day lives where our cups are filled, and we have everything that’s available to us.
“So there is this investment into, not only by our company, but seeing any project or business step up in the community. It provides jobs. It works in twofold. We get more infrastructure. It only gets better.”