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Charity worker wins 'world's best job'

A British charity worker Wednesday won "the best job in the world" as caretaker of a tropical island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef Great Barrier Reef, largest complex of coral reef in the world, c.1,250 mi (2,000 km) long, in the Coral Sea, forming a natural breakwater for the coast of Queensland, NE Australia.  after an unprecedented global search.

Ben Southall will spend six months swimming, snorkelling and sailing around the tourist paradise of Hamilton Island There is more than one Hamilton Island:
  • Hamilton Island (Queensland), Australia
  • Hamilton Island (Ontario), Canada
, earning 74,021 pounds for blogging about his experiences.

The huge worldwide interest in the post -- 34,000 people submitted personal applications for the job -- has delighted tourism chiefs in Australia's state of Queensland, who say it has given them invaluable publicity.

Southall, 34, beat 15 other finalists who had been whittled down during a process that began in January, when interest was so great that it crashed the website of Tourism Queensland.

"I really didn't think I stood a chance to be honest," he told AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. .

"There were some great people there and I was very, very surprised when my name was called out at the end."

The judges said impressed from his initial application, when he jumped into a freezing British lake to demonstrate the lengths he would go to in promoting Queensland's tropical waters to the world.

"(The) campaign has had people from all corners of the globe talking since its launch in January and has become arguably the most sought-after job in the world," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh Anna Maria Bligh (born 14 July 1960) is an Australian politician and the current Premier of Queensland. She has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly since 1995, representing the electorate of South Brisbane.  said.

"I've spent the past few weeks watching in amazement the lengths candidates have gone to."

The 16 finalists, hailing from 15 countries, were flown to Hamilton Island earlier this week where they competed to impress a four-person selection panel in a process that was part job interview, part reality television show.

With more than a dozen camera crews from around the world looking on, they demonstrated their swimming skills in the island's resort pool, snorkelled the reef and were pampered pam·per  
tr.v. pam·pered, pam·per·ing, pam·pers
1. To treat with excessive indulgence: pampered their child.

 with gourmet food and luxury spas.

Southall, from Hampshire, has worked as a tour guide in Africa and most recently has been a charity fundraiser, running marathons and climbing mountains in his spare time.

One of the charities for which he has raised money is named after a friend who died in the December 26, 2004 tsunami that swept the Indian Ocean Indian Ocean, third largest ocean, c.28,350,000 sq mi (73,427,000 sq km), extending from S Asia to Antarctica and from E Africa to SE Australia; it is c.4,000 mi (6,400 km) wide at the equator. It constitutes about 20% of the world's total ocean area. , killing more than 220,000 people.

is in the Whitsunday Islands The Whitsunday Islands are a collective of continental islands of various sizes off the coast of Queensland, Australia, situated between Townsville and Mackay and some 900km north of Brisbane.  archipelago and is just two square miles in size, much of it tropical forest.

Located on the same latitude as Honolulu and Mauritius, it has a year-round tropical climate A tropical climate is a type of climate typical in the tropics. Köppen's widely-recognized scheme of climate classification defines it as a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above 18°C (64.4 °F). . Main activities are tourist-related -- snorkelling, fishing, scuba diving scuba diving

Swimming done underwater with a self-contained underwater-breathing apparatus (scuba), as opposed to skin diving, which requires only a snorkel, goggles, and flippers. Scuba gear was invented by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Émile Gagnan in 1943.
, waterskiing and windsurfing.

Tourism chiefs estimate the promotion has garnered an estimated 54 million pounds in free publicity.

Organisers received a phenomenal worldwide response to the competition and their website crashed again Wednesday when the winner was announced.

State Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor said he was sure Southall would draw a loyal online following after he takes up the position on July 1.

"His ideas for how he will make the role his own, plus his initiative and ability to rise to a challenge, impressed the selection panel and secured his place," Lawlor said.

Southall's win surprised betting companies, which had tipped a sky-diving Taiwanese interpreter as favourite after she eclipsed her rivals in an online poll to snare snare (snar) a wire loop for removing polyps and tumors by encircling them at the base and closing the loop.

 a wildcard See wild cards and wildcard mask.  spot as a finalist.

The Briton, who plans to share the luxury beach residence with his Canadian girlfriend Bre, said he would continue his charity work.

With visitor numbers down in Queensland amid the global economic downturn, he was also mindful that it was the bottom line that counted for the tourism chiefs who will pay his wages when he reports for work at the beach.

"Ultimately," he said, "it's about drawing as many people as I can to these great areas of Queensland."
Copyright 2009 AFP European Edition
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Publication:AFP European Edition
Date:May 6, 2009
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