We’ve been working flexibly for some time, but what does your day look like when your office is almost 100 metres off the ground, often in the middle of nowhere? Here’s why Repairer Constructor Aaron Wallace does it.
“What’s our actual job title? Good question!” Aaron tells me from a field in country New South Wales. For Aaron, the title isn’t why he does the job. For him, it’s about the adventure.
Aaron travels all over the state with a crew of other riggers and technicians, climbing our cell broadcast towers daily to perform regular maintenance, repairs and upgrades.
“Every Thursday we get our marching orders for the following week – and then on the Friday we load up our gear,” Aaron tells me, his words punctuated by the sound of the cool winter wind whipping through country NSW.
“Our toolbelt changes a lot,” he adds, “but everyone has a basic pouch.”
“Whenever we pack our gear, it’s always safety first. We always have to stay 200 per cent attached,” he explains.
When he’s not driving gear around the state, Aaron’s winching heavy telco equipment into the air to mount on our towers. It’s a job that involves a lot of risk, so there’s a lot of safety nous that has to go into it.
At all times, Aaron and his team stay connected to the tower by two or three points on their harness. We’re talking professional climbing gear here.
And while thinking about all of that, Aaron has to navigate the vertical ascent with transmitters, power equipment and more.
“More and more stuff is going up our towers as the tech advances,” he tells me. It used to be that the hut sitting next to the tower contained all the gear, and the tower just held a broadcast antenna. “Not anymore,” says Aaron.
“We found that the closer the tech is to the actual antenna tower itself, the better the results are. So now a lot of things have moved out of the hut and up the tower.”
The higher you get, the weirder it is to see certain things, Aaron says of his experience climbing towers.
“There are quite a few weird stories I can tell at BBQs,” he laughs.
“The other week when the cold snap came through and we were in the Bathurst/Mudgee area it was actually snowing for the first time in years. As we drove to a job, we noticed all the trees had fallen down on our route. So we got out and used our winches every 200 metres to drag fallen trees off the road so people could get through!
“We even saw a family stranded in a hole and we dragged them out while they were waiting for the fire brigade.”
And there’s plenty of wildlife that use our towers for a different kind of connection to home.
“There’s a nest up almost every tower,” Aaron explains. Some of the coastal towers around Forster and Port Macquarie are really special, as you get to see loads of Osprey and their little babies. They’re hesitant at first but you can see them getting fed by the mother bird if you hang around long enough.”
“Some of the boys have even seen snakes up the tower!”
Aaron has been climbing towers for over eight years, and he says he wouldn’t give it away any time soon. He loves his aerial office, and the chance to see the world outside his window.
“Why do I do it? I just love the lifestyle of the job.
“A lot of people don’t like working away, but I love the outdoors. Camping; going rural. I love to travel around, and I’m a physical worker. Not so good on computers, me! I like to get out and see everywhere and climb it.”
You can see Aaron at work in our new campaign below, titled Australia is Why.