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    ACTION ABROAD: Canadian Pat Guay is working on Nathan Dart’s Lah East farm near Warracknabeal. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

AgLife: Canadian Pat is at home in the Wimmera

The word ‘home’ for Canadian Pat Guay often means snow, minus-15-degree weather and an approximate 160,000-person city to keep him company.

After travelling to Australia on a working visa, he quickly realised that calling a small town in the Wimmera ‘home’ would mean the polar opposite.

Mr Guay has been helping with farm work and harvest on Nathan Dart’s Lah East farm near Warracknabeal.

He said making the move from New Brunswick to Australia had been an interesting but nice change, including adapting to the heat and the unique slang. 

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“I’m from Moncton, New Brunswick, where there is about 160,000 to 170,000 people,” he said.

“And then here in Warracknabeal it’s about, what, 3000 people? So, small town lifestyle where you get to meet the same people around and around. 

“In New Brunswick we’ll get snow. The last snowfall was about 20 to 25cm, and then there’s minus-15 to minus-20 weather usually, compared with here… plus 20, plus 30, plus 40. 

“But, yeah, it’s nice – everybody is kind of laid back and gets stuff done.”


Nathan Dart, centre, loading lentils at his Lah East farm with workers Pat Guay and Ben Middleton.

ACTION ABROAD: Canadian Pat Guay, is working on Nathan Dart’s Lah East farm near Warracknabeal. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Mr Guay said he originally came to Australia on his previous boss’s recommendation, after ending a seasonal road-building job in Canada.

He said that in order to extend his one-year visa for a second year, he had to complete 88 days of farm work, leading him to the small wheatbelt town of Warracknabeal.

He said the thing that stood out to him most about Australian culture was the way people spoke.

“Just all the slang you guys have,” he said.

“The way that all the words are super short, you know, the shortening of everything. Australians don’t talk a whole lot – it’s brekky, facey – the less words you can put in a sentence the better it is. 

“At the beginning I was like, ‘what are people saying?’ and then you start to catch on. Like, ‘pass me the dead horse’ means tomato sauce. Back home it would be ketchup.”

Mr Guay said apart from travelling north to ‘chase the heat’ and heading to Thailand for a couple of weeks next month, he was largely unsure of his long-term plans, but would probably apply for a third-year visa in Australia.

“If I do another six months of farm work I can an extend another year, but after the third year, it will be all said and done here,” he said.

“So, I don’t know what that is going to bring to me. But we’ll go where the wind blows and see what opportunity comes up.”

– Lotte Reiter

The entire January 29, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire January 29,, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!