Governess / Nanny

Essential Info

Working as a Governess is a challenging but highly rewarding job and a good gap year choice for anyone looking to move into Childcare or Teaching. You will first and foremost need to enjoy working with children, so bring loads of patience and energy. The only formal requirement you may need is a ‘Working with Children’ check.

A Governess (Govie) is a person employed by a family to supervise their children’s education. This is their primary responsibility, however there may be other duties they are expected to do, depending on the employer. It is important when you begin a job as a Govie that you ask exactly what you will be expected to do besides the schooling, for example, will you have to supervise the children outside the classroom and if so when, will you be required to do any housekeeping type duties in the family home etc.

There are quite a few grey areas when you are employed as a Govie and knowing the employers expectations and deciding what you are prepared to do before you start is crucial to a happy working environment.

Where you live will depend on the employer and the facilities available, large pastoral properties usually have separate staff accommodation and you will live there with the other station staff, you will all eat in a communal kitchen and often have your own Recreation room.

On smaller places the employers might have a room for you in their house, in this instance you will need to help out around the house, clean up after yourself and if there are small jobs that need doing, don’t wait to be asked, just do them.

Schoolroom Responsibilities

  • Supervising the children’s daily work
  • Keeping the classroom neat and tidy
  • Packing up the Set or Unit worth of schoolwork to post
  • Ensuring the children attend and participate in assembly and all lessons
  • Reading through set work and preparing future lessons
  • Organising a timetable to keep schoolwork on track

Tips and Advice

  • Your kids need to be doing their own schoolwork, not getting answers from you.
  • Try and maintain some personal time and space, working and living in the same environment can be mentally draining and you shouldn’t always be ‘at work’.
  • Be flexible, your employers may have different beliefs or values to you, learning to work around your differences will make for a much more rewarding experience.

 What do I need to ask the employer in an interview?

  • Children’s ages, any learning difficulties, can you contact the previous govie/teacher?
  • Working hours, will I be expected to supervise the kids outside of work hours?
  • Is  there any extra work expected of me, if so what and when ?
  • Salary, does it include board, holiday pay?
  • Meals, are they with the family?
  • Living quarters, with the family or separate?
  • Is there Internet available for personal use, is there a Telephone for personal use, do I need a phonecard?
  • Social life, do they attend campdraft’s, rodeo’s, local Show’s etc? Will you be able to get transport to these events?
  • Do I need a ‘Working with Children Check’?


Why should I try a career as a governess?

Being a Govie is a lifestyle not just a job, you will learn more about yourself in a year than you would have thought possible and you will meet people in the outback that will be your friends for life!

Am I too old?
No, many families are looking for an older governess as they have more life experience and often will stay longer than a young person.

Do I need experience?
Some families require experienced govie’s but many don’t, what you do need is a passion to work with kids, a lot of common sense, a good general knowledge and an ability to find out anything you don’t know, resourcefulness is important.

What will I get paid?
Wages are from $300 per week and while this may seem like a small wage, remember that your rent, utility bills and often board, are included, the weekly saving (if you were living in a town or city) is at least $300.


For more information and to connect with other Govie’s go to
Also see the blog, Nanny Interview Questions at for relevant and frequently updated blog posts!