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People are constantly asking questions and looking for advice.  Over the years I have compile answers from governesses and parents and put them on the website.  No questions is to silly and if you look at the page more than likely the answer is there.  Some of these questions were put together over 10 years ago but amazingly the question and answer has not changed. 


Frequently Asked Questions


Questions about Governessing and Station Life

60 Platinum Tips for Governessing

An entertaining but serious list of tips about living in the outback governessing.


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Advice & Tips from parents and governesses

Often governesses are being partly cooked and cleaned up after.  If you boss does provide meals and you use the facilities within their house then please help keep it tidy.  If you see a job (I.E. wiping table or benches, putting away food, dishes)  then please do it.  In any living environment everyone need to do their part and it is not something that you need to be paid.


You are an employee not a member of the family or best friend.  That is not to say you won't be close to them and included on everything as if you were part of the family.  Treat the honour given to governesses with respect.

..GIVE THEM AND YOURSELF SPACE.. To keep a good relationship with you and the family you both need space, even if you or they say they don't need it.  To last the year or more you do.  In a normal 9 to 5 jobs you would not be spending all of your time with your employers.

The kids need a governess first and a friend second.  Be fun but strict in school time it pays dividends in the long run. 

In Home Care Educators are employed to care for the children.  This means if the educator is needed to get the children a meal, clean up after them around they house, do the children's washing or other task which is to do with the children's care then it is reasonable to include as part of their job description and they are being paid to achieve these jobs. Under In Home Care rules the educators are not employed to care for the adults or other people living in the community.

Be up front about your job description

Most situations in a working relationship come from an employer not having a honest description of the regular week or the employer not following the job description.  Write things down verbal agreements  



Can I be a governess?

To be a governess you need to be flexible and adaptable.  You will be living with a family who's beliefs might not always be the same as your own.  You have to remember that you are only there for a year or 2 at the most, but for all that I have worked for some fantastic families, I haven't always shared theIr parenting beliefs but they are not my children no matter how much I care for them and no matter how much I disagree or agree with the parents I have still gotten along with them. 

If you are interested in governessing on want to talk to other governesses about the experience then Join OUTBACK GOVIES yahoo group by going to the appropriate page on Governess Australia.   I have lived in the bush all my life and have completed my primary education through distance education and wouldn't change it.  If you get on outback govies there are girls for all walks of life from the city slicker to the country bumpkin like me.  One thing I do know is that over the years most ex-governess have kept coming back to visit.


Governessing is a lifestyle, the moneys not always great and the conditions can be dusty, but fun that seems to spring out of these moments is great and one thing that will come out of the experience is more knowledge of yourself and your strengths and talents.

Are families willing to take on someone in over 30?


Governessing in your 30's is the new "black" or at least that is what I keep spreading around.  What can I say I now fit into this age bracket.

Maturity - Life Experience - Stability - Committed

Employers love the stability of someone who is making a choice and fully understands that choice to come out governessing.  Someone with life experience that won't take off at the drop of a hat without notice.  Someone who won't panic but will seek help.

Age is no barrier it is an advantage. 

I have worked with governesses from 18 to 75.  One governess at 65 spend 3 years on a property living in a cottage with her husband who was slowing down.

Age + Life skills and experience.  As an employ this is an absolute MUST HAVE.

I have no experience in being a governess is this a negative?

I don't think you need to have any experience. You do need to have a passion for working with children, common sense, a lot of general knowledge (or at least know how to find the answer to any number of ridiculous question) and be very resourceful.

What qualities do I look for, so that I am treated well?

The qualities to look for is a difficult question to answer. My advice would be to find someone you think you will be able to relate to and someone with the same sort of values as yourself. I find it is really important to have the full support of the parents of the kids. If your ideas are totally different it causes huge problems. Also remember that socially a lot of what you do is linked to the station. If you enjoy going out to rodeo's, race weekends, bbq's etc then ask about how social they are or if you don't enjoy these do you have to go. Wages vary heaps-I would expect something around the $600 mark.

Needs and qualities depend on the individual who is looking for a job.  At the interview ask as many questions as possible.  If you can ask them to write it down so that you have a written copy of the job expectations and conditions.  Or they might have a contract with these in.  If you have any doubts then ask questions.  To be treated fairly it needs to be clear at the start exactly what is expected of you.  You need to respect their ways, it is most likely that you will only be at the job for a year or maybe 2.  If your ideas are to different and you don't feel you can be adaptable enough to live and work under them then don't take the job.  It isn't right for you.

What to ask about at an interview?

  • You need to ask about the students, their ages and any know difficulties.  If you are able to contact there teacher or previous governess for information.

  • Salary, ask about board, are holidays paid, what comes under your expenses and what is supplied by your employers.  Don’t make this your first questions as it tends to be off putting for employers

  • Hours of Work, (remember sometimes on a station it requires you to be flexible)

  • Accommodation

  • Meals, are they with the family,  is there any particular time that the family would like some privacy?

  • Mail, address, phone number, Will you have access to internet. What are the conditions on telephone calls.

  • Transport, if you don't have a car then how will you get to the station, will it be possible to catch a ride to social events. 

  • Expectations and conditions, Clearly find out what jobs and chores you will be responsible for both in and out of school, that are part of you wage.  Most employer expect you to help with dishes or around mealtimes as part of your board.  Find out what is expected and what's not.

  • More information about this is available on the Jobseekers page of the JobBoard link at the top of the page.

Should I change my car registration, voting etc.?

  • I never have. I have always kept it at my parents address because I consider myself a travelling worker who lives at my work... my home is actually my parents house

  • I'm from SA and this is my second yr in qld.. If I get asked about it I just say I'm here for work and my residential address is in SA. Tell them I work ten weeks on two weeks off

  • Not unless you plan on staying in the area. I'd suggest changing your address on the electoral roll though, or at least calling them about postal voting.

Questions about life on station ...


How much spare time does the governess get? What do people do for recreation and in their spare time?

  • Depending on the job.  Some work from 8am to 3pm and then their time is there own from there.  Others as part of there job have longer work hours.  It is something that needs to be talked about at the interviewing stage.

  • Most school days will finish around 3pm and from my experience the time between then and dinner (or if you're needed to help in the kitchen) is your own, as well has having weekends to yourself.

  • I start at 8.00 and finish at 3.00 my time out of hours is mine after that.  My weekends are free, however we do go out and help if the others are working.

  • A lot of my weekend time gets spent in town at the pub mostly and there's always plenty going on if you don't mind a bit of a drive.  Go to events like gymhanas and rodeos.  The Govies from the area are usually in the process of planning weekends and social activities.

  • We go horse riding, go for walks, go to gymkhanas and race meetings, go to the pub, get together to chill out and watch a lot of TV, DVDs and videos.

  • I myself spend a lot of time on the computer, reading, walking, and helping out on the station.  If you have a car then you might be able to visit a neighbour or local town if there is one close. I am always welcome to join in on the mustering or the activities for the day.

What happens to you if you get sick out there? What medical treatment is there?

  • You will be either taken to town or the Royal Flying Doctors will be called.  If the station has a Flying doctors medical kit then upon ringing the flying doctors and explaining the they can often prescribe medication then and there and recommend the correct medical action. The Flying Doctors often have clinic at nearby stations and small towns on a regular basis. Talk to your boss about it.

  • There is usually a hospital/doctor/nurse in the closest town for medical needs, and the flying doctors for emergencies.  You will generally find that a lot of people on the station have a first aid certificate.

How do you cope with the isolation? Is it difficult?

  • By not isolating myself.  I contact and get involved with other governesses.  Join local committees and get to know people in the community.  I also use the phone, fax and email to keep in touch with old and new friends. I throw myself into my new life and make emotional connects to the people and places near me.

  • At first it may be a bit difficult, especially if you're not fully prepared for what you're getting into.  If you have a good idea of where you're going and what's around it probably won't be as bad because you won't expect to have trips to town every week or whatever.  Once you make some friends in the area it becomes much easier and having a good govie network is also a great advantage because you can talk to others in the same situation.

  • Yes it is difficult, you will have great days and you will have days where you feel so cut off you could die and no one would know

  • I have been brought up in isolation so I love it. Some people have trouble with it simply because they miss the city lifestyle. But you make new friends who will help you in anyway. A really good idea is to have lots of contact with other govo's because you aren't on your own.
    Some days it is really hard and you just want to be in a place were there is lots of people but there is always people to talk to out here.

  • You do get used to it.  You really do have to give it a fair go.  Don't expect to decide in a week.

What advice can you give a typical city girl interested in the job?

  • Read as much as you can on this website.  Join Outback Govies facebook group and ask questions there and at your interview ask as many questions as possible.  Forewarned is Forearmed. 

  • It is a fantastic experience for anyone who's interested in the job and what it entails.  It really helps if you can get in contact with someone who has worked at that property before to get some information about it, rather than just showing up not having any idea.  Don't expect it to be a breeze straight away, you have to get to know each child individually and be able to talk to them on their level.  Once you have that mastered you'll be right, they'll be your best friends - especially if they know you have surprises for them every so often!  

  • Well I am from the city too, but wanted to live in the outback and I guess that if you want to do it and are prepared to make the most of it would surely be worth it.  A strong personality and a positive frame of mind would be needed because it would be unfair on the children if you decided that the outback wasn't for you and wanted to give it up.  People out here tend to be lovely and friendly and if you like to get in amongst it all and soak up the whole experience it is definitely worth doing.

  • Have a good support network at home, keep in touch with friends, call home often, get to know the family but keep a professional distance, get to know the locals, you will only have a year, every interaction is crucial, they will want to get to know you but will be shy.  if the going gets tough call someone, get to know the other governesses, try not to bitch about the other govo's, love the environment, realise its not forever, don't marry a ringer

  • Give it ago. Talk to someone that has done it before. When making inquires about a job ask lots of questions.

  • Bring something that you like to do with you, have lots of photos and you need to have lots and lots of patience to work with the children.

  • I am from the Sunshine Coast and I have never looked back.  Just prepare yourself as best as you can and come into it with an open mind.  There are always people who are willing to help you.

Do the governesses usually have to get involved in the everyday farm work? I.e. with animals etc

  • Depending on the job and person.  For some govo's it is part of there job description and for others it's fun and something to do to fill in the spare time.  Personally I love it.

  • Mostly no, but the option is there if you're willing to have a go at it.  Sometimes duties like feeding chickens and animals in the house yard may be expected of you.

  • No but I do because I love that type of work too.

  • All places are different. People expect different things. I know the company I work for the govo's are required to help the cook for example after tea the dishes. Also the gardens around the schoolhouse. Also I help with the animals.

My boss has asked my to stay with the kids on the property for two nights while they are away. What questions or information should I find out before they go?

  • Phone Numbers of them, RFDS or doctor, nearest neighbour or person to help if no other workers.

  • Where the basic medications are and weight of children should a emergency arise and you have to administer medications.

  • Is there anything outside the house and kids that needs to be monitored? dogs, pets, house water, etc.

  • Do they have any house rules the kids will "forget" about? Things the parents say often get distorted when the kids tell it...