GUEST POST: Call to all backpackers in Australia: Do not work here!

November 10th, 2015 | | Accommodation

Im not stupid250“Do not work here.” I wish I had listened to the signs more carefully. But I did not. And three days later, 300 dollars less and with a damaged ego, I really wish I had. Call to all backpackers in Australia: Do not work here! There is a job advertisement going around by a woman named Hayley Adamson. She is a backpacker working for a blacklisted woman named Mayla with a company called Elite Harvesting. It seems legit, but trust me, it is not. The work takes place in Gatton, an hour and a half west of Brisbane.

I have been in Australia for four weeks now. I went from Sydney to Byron Bay and had the best time of my life. But I also spend a lot of money. So while all the new friends I made carried on with their travels to Brisbane, I thought it was a good time to look for a job, do some fruitpicking and earn some money before the summer holiday starts. I started looking online for jobs close to the area. I thought I found a good one!

I arrived in Australia as a member of Work And Travel Company, a reliable source that helps backpackers find work as they travel. I found the advertisement on their job portal, applied for it on Monday and got an email back the same day, while other job offers didn’t reply. It all still seemed legit, I emailed with my contact person Hayley Adamson, asking questions about the job, housing, equipment to use…

So I left to Gatton on Thursday. I said goodbye to my friends who stopped at Surfers Paradise and Brisbane, and I took the bus to Gatton. I was feeling very positive and motivated to go fruitpicking! But as soon as I arrived, I noticed things were wrong.

I called the number I was given and a woman with bad English answered, saying someone would pick me up in 15 minutes. I waited for an hour in the heating sun  while no one showed up. I tried calling the number again but no reply. Then the next Greyhound bus stopped and I was considering just jumping on the next one back to Brisbane. But then Alex jumped off the bus! Alex is a British girl who lives in Gold Coast, trying to get her Second Year Visa at the farm. We were both going the same direction so we started talkin. A German couple, Timo and Chalin, stopped and asked if we knew somewhere where there was work. We told them to tag along.

Fifteen minutes later a van stopped with a few cheerful backpackers inside. Alex and I got in and we drove to ‘the office’, a house in town. We heard a woman named ‘Mayla’ wasn’t there so we had to drive to her house. But before we went there we had to stop at Coles to get our groceries because there wouldn’t be time after. Alex and I hastily grabbed some stuff, not knowing what to expect.


To read the rest of this post please go to – Fruitpicking in Gatton – a scam story

Guest Post written by Ester (a recently arrived backpacker).

To watch the full video please go to – I’m not stupid

Do you think this is a positive experience for young people coming to Australia?  Could we do better?  Have your say

Sourced by Chris Harrison

5 Responses

  1. Macca says:

    This is so heart breaking, especially at a time when so much has been gained in stamping out the rogue operators over the last twelve months.

    One must look at the continued damage on social media the harm it has brought by only a few to Mildura and Bundaberg.

    On a brighter side the appreciation of backpackers was shown with an official backpacker welcoming event at Queensland’s Stanthorpe Civic Centre, on October 30.

    Southern Downs Mayor Peter Blunder said the idea for the welcome event arose from discussion by the Road Safety for Seasonal Workers and Backpackers Taskforce.

    Over the spring and summer seasons, the Southern Downs welcomes about 5000 backpackers for work across a number of agriculture industries.

    “We recognise the importance of the itinerant worker and backpacker industry as a growth industry in the region,” Cr Blundell said.

    “The welcome event is aimed at giving season workers who are staying and working in our region, local information on a range of matters such as road safety and accommodation, with various agencies and providers onsite, in an informal social setting, with a one-stop-shop approach.

    “It’s also about letting them know they are appreciated in our region and an important cog in our agricultural industies. These workers are beneficial to our region and our local economies.

    “Backpackers are predominantly young, and we want their stay here to be fun and memorable for the right reasons”.

    “We hope that their experience is a positive one and that they visit our region again in the future, and hope to promote the Southern Downs in a favourable light to other travellers.

    Council’s website now includes a Guide for Backpackers page and MY SDRC App has been adapted to include a “backpacker enquiry” option for all seasonal workers to select for assistance if needed.

    Access the Guide for Backpackers at

    The Southern Downs council is planning another welcome event for backpackers in mid January 2016.

    May be other regions could follow to rebuild their damaged reputation

  2. Robin says:

    This post was written quite some time ago and this woman is still doing the same thing to backpackers. DO NOT even bother going to Gatton. This woman controls a lot of he labour in farming there. My son and 3 of his friends who have a great work history in Canada took the bus there and she forced them to pay the 300 rental each up front for the first 2 weeks then took them to a residence that was a bed bug and substandard nightmare. When they advised her that it was not livable (I should mention there was no fire alarm or carbon monoxide detectors either)) she refused to give them their money back and no one in the community would help hem. The police said it was not an emergency and all 4 boys were forced to sleep in a bank because nothing was open when they managed to find a ride to the town. This woman is simply looking to rent property that is not up to standards and does this by making a promise of work (which I have ready is another issue -often there isn’t work and if there is she says she will pay by the bucket and the employees make below minimum wage). She is a repeat offender in substandard housing but continues to rent properties. When do authorities draw the line to offer employees protection? This has been going on way too long and clearly the fines she has received on 2 separate occasions have been meaningless. Well really if she stole $1200 in one night form 4 young men, can you imagine what she is making in a month. What’s worse, what if the boys didn’t have the means to go elsewhere? I wonder how many people are forced to stay in that situation. Come on Queensland, time to shut this woman down!!!!!!

  3. John George says:

    Sounds like Donmez ‘ sister! Maybe he is pulling the strings because he seems to have vanished from Mildura thanks God.

  4. Sean says:

    I nearly fell for this scam, she is now going by the names Peter or Rey. The messages I received seemed legit and I travelled out to gatton and called for a lift from the bus stop. Luckily I got her voice message saying her real name Malaya and I stayed on the bus and didn’t chance it. Watch out she can be using multiple names!