Could this be the best job in the world?

St Bees Island managing director Phil Webb.
St Bees Island managing director Phil Webb. Shakira Sellen

IMAGINE a workplace where one of the only rules is "don't stand too long under the coconut trees".

For the person lucky enough to secure the role of St Bees Island caretaker, that's one of the only tips "manager slash beach bum" Phil Webb is likely to offer, along with a strict adherence to 'island time' and an appreciation of glistening, aquamarine ocean views.

Mr Webb has lived on the 1500-acre St Bees, the lesser-known neighbour to Keswick Island, for almost two years with owner Agnes Jackson and her son Dean.

The perfect spot for an afternoon beer.
The perfect spot for an afternoon beer. Shakira Sellen

Much of that time has been spent refurbishing the dilapidated former resort, first built in the 1930s, which runs on generators and solar power.

While Mr Webb said the caravan offered to the future caretaker wasn't the job's biggest selling point, it did sit almost on the beach and boasted ocean-facing windows.

And like the windows of each of the four buildings on the secluded island, they framed a breathtaking picture.

St Bees is best known for having one of the healthiest koala populations in Australia and is frequented by researchers from the University of Queensland.

"Once we looked down at Homestead Bay and two koalas were just walking across the beach," he said.

"But you don't see them regularly. You usually have to go for a bit of a bushwalk."

Wildlife lovers may also be enticed by the whales, dolphins and turtles that can be spotted during the hour-long barge ride from Mackay.

But it was the leisurely pace of life that first attracted Mr Webb to the island, which he describes as a lot more "natural" than the luxurious resorts at Hamilton or Daydream.

He moved from the Gold Coast, where he'd owned a racing car team, to begin overhauling the resort.

Previously he'd managed a golf course in the Blue Mountains, but said St Bees outdid it when it came to views.

He suggested caretaker applicants should be a 'jack-of-all-trades' who could commit to a bit of work each morning, but stressed he wasn't a hard task master, and that they'd still have plenty of time for fishing and even a game of beach-golf at low tide.

Anyone interested in the job should phone Mr Webb on 0425 258 115 or email

Topics:  career caretaker employment island jobs travel travel-australia work

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