Confessions of a FIFO WAG: Inside the ‘secret society’ where women fed-up with being cut off from their partners struggle with tragedy, romance and their unique family lives – and NO topic is off-limits
- FIFO WAGS support network set up for the wives and partners of FIFO miners
- From sharing stories to advice on parenting and relationship, no topic off limits
- Perth mum Alix Andriani has shared an insight into being married to a FIFO miner
Help is just a private message, phone call or shoulder to cry on away for the wives and partners of fly in fly out miners battling with the loneliness and separation that comes with the role.
Perth mum Alix Andriani set up up the FIFO WAGS website and Instagram page to provide to support for other partners of miners, which has grown to almost 1,800 social media followers across Australia in the space of 15 months.
Many members catch up for girls’ lunches and dinners while others connect online.
From sharing jokes and photos of their families and recipes, to opening up on personal tragedies and offering advice on parenting and relationships, no topic is off limits.
Alix Andriani (bottom right) set up up the FIFO WAGS group in August 2019 to provide a positive, supportive network for the wives and partners of fly in fly out miners
‘I respond to every private message I get,’ Ms Andriani told Daily Mail Australia.
‘A lot of the wives and girlfriends don’t have friends who are FIFO WAGS, especially for those who are new to it.
‘I wouldn’t describe the group as a secret society. It’s women supporting women.
‘The group became more urgent after COVID-19 hit as some haven’t seen their partners since because of interstate and international border restrictions.’
The page is filled with posts of helpful advice on Ms Andriani and other FIFO WAGS cope with life, from the arrival of a new baby and child care to tackling personal challenges such as IVF.
She set up FIFO WAGS to offer a more positive and supportive alternative to other online groups set up which she says focused more on the negatives.
She has since inspired the creation of a separate Queensland-based group called FIFO Retreat, where members catch up at retreats and offer frequent online support to each other.
Alix and Phillip, pictured with their sons Ace and Axl, treasure every moment they spent together as a family when they get together every third week
Alix is proud of her husband Phillip. The couple are pictured at a happy reunion on a family day held at Telfer mine last year
Ms Andriani’s husband Phillip spends two thirds of the year working 1725 kilometres away at the Telfer underground mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region on a two weeks on, one week off rotation.
It’s a life she and her sons Axl 5, and Ace, two-and-a-half, have known for the last four years.
She has put her hairdressing career on hold to look after the family and support her husband’s career.
‘I’m very proud of my husband – he’s very ambitious and has worked very hard to get the career level to he’s progressed to,’ Ms Andriani said.
‘He’s a hands-on dad the week he is home, where he does everything from school pick-up to driving the boys to swimming lessons and soccer practice, along with changing nappies and putting them to bed.’
FIFO WAGS based in Perth often have girly catch-ups over lunch and dinner
FIFO miner Phillip is a hands-on dad to Ace and Axl (back) the week he’s home in Perth
‘The boys are used to it and don’t know anything else.
‘We miss him a lot when he’s away so it’s nice to have him for the week he’s here as it’s quality time we spend together as a family.
‘Before he used to work six days a week as a tradie and didn’t have that family time together.’
While being a single parent for two thirds of the year can be challenging, Ms Andriani, who’s expecting her third child, says she’s too busy to feel lonely.
Alix says she and her husband Phillip (pictured with their boys Ace and Axl) has no regrets about their lifestyle, which is spent apart for two thirds of the year
‘It can be hard as things are more likely to go wrong or break down when my husband’s away,’ Ms Andriani said.
‘But I have a tight-knit group of neighbours, along with my mum, dad and brother around who can help.
‘Life is so full-on and hectic during the day I fall into bed each night.’
Ms Adriani hopes her husband will eventually progress to an eight days on/six days off rotation.
The FIFO WAGS group was set up to provide a support network to help miners’ wives and partners cope with the challenges and separation they face
Perth mum Alix Andriani (pictured) has been a FIFO WAG for the last four years
Ms Andriani admits it takes a special person with exceptional qualities to be the partner of a FIFO miner.
‘It takes a different type of person to make it work as it can be hard’ she said.
‘You need to be strong, fiercely independent, do everything with a smile while being 100 per cent supportive to your partner’s ambitions.’
The tight-knit FIFO WAGS group has grown to almost 1,800 followers across the country
Alix and her two sons Ace and Axl are pictured at home in Perth during lockdown