British Man Begins Australian Island Dream Job

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Briton Ben Southall said he'll miss
his mom's Sunday roast as he began what's been dubbed the "Best
Job in the World" - a six-month contract to serve as caretaker of
a tropical Australian island.

The 34-year-old former charity worker bested nearly 35,000
applicants from around the world for the dream assignment that
started Wednesday to swim, explore and relax on Hamilton Island in
the Great Barrier Reef while writing a blog to promote the area.

He was selected for the 150,000 Australian dollar ($120,000) gig
by officials from the tourism department of Queensland state in
early May.

Southall said he hit the ground running on his first day on the
job after returning to the island from England where he spent
almost two months.

"Now that I've got back out here, all of a sudden it's really
hit me again ... it's going to be very full on," he told Nine
Network television.

Southall said his mother cooked "a good roast" for the family
on Sundays. "That was just one of the things I said was going to
obviously be missing out of my routine," Southall said.

"What I'll actually be doing is donning the apron, sticking the
tongs in my hand and sticking the shrimp on the barbecue," he
added. "So I can adapt particularly well - don't worry about
that."

He said he saw his role more as an ambassador than a caretaker.

"I've really got a very full itinerary, flying away to
different parts of the Barrier Reef to go and explore it, to go and
write about it, and then to try and sell it to the rest of the
world," he said.

Southall was selected on May 6 among 15 other finalists after
four days spent on the island for an extended interview process,
which required applicants to snorkel, gorge themselves at a
beachside barbecue and relax at a spa.

The finalists also had to demonstrate blogging abilities, take
swimming tests and sit through interviews.

The job is part of a tourism campaign to publicize the charms of
northeastern Queensland, and officials say it already has generated
many millions of dollars in publicity. It became a viral marketing
hit, spreading across the world via YouTube and social networking
sites such as Facebook.


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