Count Penguins, Post Office Jobs in Antarctica: British Heritage Trust's Dream Job Offer: The U.K. Antarctic Heritage Trust is hiring staff for its post office, museum and conservation site: A British trust based at Port Lockroy, now converted into a post office and museum, recently announced vacancies for a very offbeat job in Antarctica.
What is arguably the world’s most offbeat post office, is looking for people who can spend five months in the thick ice-covered continent and count the penguins living there. Apart from this very peculiar responsibility, the job role also expects people to maintain the museum and the artefacts and gift shop that this edifice fosters.
Port Lockroy was the first permanent resident of the British in the Antarctica Peninsula and was established in 1944. The base, located on Goudier Island, became defunct in 1962, after which, in 2006, it was converted into a museum and a post office. The job vacancy was announced by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, a British charity.
As per the announcement released on their website, the candidates need to have a good level of environmental awareness, physical fitness, and adequate knowledge of minimum impact living. In the five-month period of the job, the staff, apart from managing the post office and museum, will also count the population of the Gentoo penguin colony and look after them in order to protect them.
The selected batch of candidates will undergo one week of training in Cambridge in October before setting their journey for Antarctica later this year. The staff will work and live there till March 2023.
Official Website Notification: The U.K. Antarctic Trust is hiring a seasonal team (Post Office Vacancy)
Why is there a post office on an Antarctic island?
Port Lockroy was the first permanent British scientific research base established on the Antarctic Peninsula, and originally operated between 1944 and 1962.
The U.K. Antarctic Trust, a British charity, took it over in 2006 and has been running it as a conservation and tourist site ever since.
Today, Goudier Island is home to a small post office, an Antarctic museum and a gift shop, all run by a rotating staff of four to five people.
While it remained closed last year due to pandemic health measures, it's usually open to the public during the Antarctic summer between November and March, when it welcomes thousands of tourists who arrive by cruise ship.
"They're able to come ashore and learn something a little bit different," Inglis said. "So rather than the wildlife in the landscape that most Antarctic landings will offer, it's an insight into the human history down in Antarctica."
The U.K. Antarctic Trust says it receives hundreds of applications every year from all around the world.
The charity says it's currently hiring three to four people to work as base leader, shop manager and general assistant, with a monthly salary of between £1,250 ($2,041 Cdn) and £1,800 ($2,939 Cdn) per calendar month
Applications from outside the U.K. are welcome, though the charity warns candidates "will be asked to provide documentation at the interview stage to prove your right to work [in the U.K.], which may include passports, indefinite leave to remain, visas, or any other supporting documents."
Inglis - who lives in Ballater, Scotland - says she first learned about the job while listening to an interview on the radio in her car.
She says she was immediately intrigued, as she'd always wanted to spend time in Antarctica, but since she's not a scientist, opportunities were limited.
"For me, it was an opportunity… to get down and to do something that was just so different," she said.