Bendigo trio have the coolest jobs in town

CENTRAL Deborah Gold Mine tour guide Peter Dumont was one of the very few with nothing to complain about in yesterday’s blistering heat.

Mr Dumont is used to his “office” being a constant 17 degrees, having spent 13 years taking tours down the mine.

“It’s so beautiful and so cool down the mine,” he said.

“At level two the temperature sits at around 13 or 14 degrees.”

Mr Dumont said that on 40-degree days the mine was always busy with tourists.

“On really hot days you can’t get people out of there,” he said.

“The temperature is one of the first things they comment on, especially when it’s hot outside.”

Mr Dumont said he enjoyed conducting tours in the mine and “telling people about the history of Bendigo”.

While it is a cool place to go in summer, the mine was a good place to escape the cold in winter, he said. 

“The mine keeps a pretty constant temperature so when it is five degrees outside the mine will remain at 17,” Peter said.

“In wintertime there are more cold breezes along the passages but generally it keeps a constant temperature.”

Also finding refuge from the heat at work yesterday was co-owner of ice distributor, 2 Cool Ice, Taylor Bell.

While Mr Bell said driving around in the ice truck was not pleasant in hot weather, relief came when he got into the minus-10 degrees ice chamber set up in the back.

“When I have to get in the back to retrieve the ice it’s great, especially when it’s so hot,” he said.

Mr Bell said there was always someone who commented on his “cool job” when he stopped to get fuel.

He said while his “job was awesome in summer, it sucked in winter”. 

“It’s not very nice in winter, especially at 7am in the morning when you arrive at work to open up the ice chamber,” he said.

 “You have to rug up in jackets and jumpers to keep warm.”

At the factory, Mr Bell said the ice was stored in a 40-foot-long shipping container, which contained nine pallets, each pallet holding 286 bags of ice.

“Over the weekend we hope to deliver around 4000 bags,” he said, 

Owner of JL King and Co Fruit and Vegetable Merchants Michael Deene said his workers ate their lunch outside “to warm up”.

Mr Deene said some staff at JL King spent their entire work day in the salad room, where the mercury sits at a chilly zero degrees.

“When it is hot outside these are the best days to work here,” he said.

For 20 years Mr Deene has been distributing fruit, vegetables and salad across Victoria and said if his air-conditioner broke down at home he would consider heading in to work to cool down.

Cold Rock Ice Creamery manager Peter de Wys believes he has one of the coldest jobs on the planet – making ice-cream.

Mr de Wys said the ice-cream was made in stainless steel pans that were placed in a blast freezer, at a temperature of minus-35 degrees.

“When we go into the blast freezer we have to wear a thermal jacket and thermal gloves,” he said.

“It is important to make sure your extremities remain warm.” 

He said staff were only allowed to be in the blast freezer for short periods of time. 

“Lots of the staff that come in to start their shift come into the store then pop into the freezer to cool down,” he said.

Mr de Wys said he made about 600 litres of ice-cream twice a week.

He said the store had been busy during the summer period. 

The manager of Feed of Fish Strath, Jacob West, said he loved his job and not only because it was a cool place to take refuge. 

“There is always someone coming in for a chat,” Mr West said.

“In this hot weather you can guarantee someone will hang around.” 

While the store sits at a comfortable 16 to 18 degrees, a freezer in the back has a constant temperature of minus-18 degrees and the cool room zero degrees. 

“We are in and out of the freezer all day and our stock is displayed on ice, so it is quite cool,” Mr West said.

“It sucks in winter, though.”

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