Dream job not as glamorous as it sounds

A BRISBANE couple will begin their new life this week caring for a slice of island paradise on the Great Barrier Reef.

Karen Hofman and James Ware were chosen to be the new caretakers at the picturesque Low Isles following a merit-based tender process by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Authority field management project manager Stephanie Lemm said caretakers played an important role protecting and presenting the island's values.

View of the lighthouse at Low Isles.
View of the lighthouse at Low Isles.

"The couple … bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in reef tourism and engineering and are well suited to the role that involves maintaining the heritage and natural values of this beautiful coral cay," she said.

The hunt for new caretakers began in July after the previous couple, Jane Macdonnell and Peter Nolan, quit.

They took over from the previous caretakers, Wayne and Jenni Fox, who had the job for six years.

Karen Hofman and James Ware are moving into their new role as caretakers for Low Isles, offshore from Port Douglas.
Karen Hofman and James Ware are moving into their new role as caretakers for Low Isles, offshore from Port Douglas.

Ms Hofman said they were delighted to take up the role.

"We are very excited about this role as it is our chance to protect our patch of the Great Barrier Reef," she said.

"Conservation of the natural environment and the Low Isles heritage values will be our priority."

The authority appoints caretakers to the carbon-neutral island in the marine park to ensure its natural and heritage values are maintained.

Ms Lemm said, while living on a tropical island might seem to be a dream job, it's not as glamorous as it sounds.

"There's a lot of hard work and challenges that come with living and working on an island 24-7," she said.

"Given the location, they must also live and work in a very environmentally sustainable way, including conserving water and electricity."

The caretakers are also responsible for maintaining the heritage-listed lightstation buildings, liaising with tourist operators, cleaning compost toilets, managing weeds, and counting the number of pied imperial pigeons.