Writer reveals the funny side of FIFO
The fly-in fly-out lifestyle led by many in the Pilbara is unusual, and a new book gives an irreverent insider’s account of what really happens on-site.
Comedian and former FIFO worker Xavier Toby has recently published Going Out Of My Mined, a non-fiction work based on his time as a FIFO worker on a Queensland coal mine. It is a follow-up to his 2014 book Mining My Own Business.
Toby, who also has an engineering degree, said he started FIFO work several years ago to pay back debt.
“I was only out there for six months, which is a tiny amount of time compared to how long most people spend there,” he said.
“And while I was out there I chatted to lots of people and took note of my surroundings.”
FIFO life also turned out to be a rich source of comic material.
In his book, Toby considers its oddities such as people named Donk and Jokka and swearing as punctuation.
He said his second book was more reflective on the wider implications of the FIFO lifestyle, which he described as a “five-star prison”.
“You have a cell … a donga — your meal times are set and, because of the hours you work and restrictions on travel, you can’t really leave,” he said.
“But people are trading time for money. So it’s an agreement they go into. It’s not ‘is this good, is this bad?’ — it’s complicated.”
Toby is presenting a comedy show about his FIFO time at the Perth Fringe Festival this week.
Comedian Xavier Toby has a new book out about his time working FIFO.