2014-15 Antarctic Station Leaders
James Moloney Davis Station Leader
My name is James Moloney. I’m from Melbourne, Victoria, and I’m going to Davis station for season 2014-15 to fulfil a role as station leader. My background is predominantly working in aid and development internationally, primarily with a public health focus. I’ve been working with the UN and deployment registers such as RedR.
I think what attracts me to Antarctica is, as one author called it, ‘a sense of adventure authenticated by real purpose,’ and I think Antarctica is quite unique in that it offers an operating environment for a very privileged, very professional group of people to undertake work that has real significance.
So, some of the major projects we have going on this year. We’ve got a sizable contingent of skilled tradespersons going down to undertake both a capital works and maintenance project. We have an expanded aviation program comprising of both fixed wing and rotary aircraft. We have quite a number of scientific projects which we focus both on terrestrial sites, near ocean, marine and atmospheric.
The challenge I’ll face I think will largely relate to the operating environment itself, and the challenges that are inherent in that for a group of people that are living and working together in close surrounds for an extended period of time.
Bill DeBruyn Casey Station Leader
My name is Bill DeBruyn. I come from Melbourne, and this year I’m the station leader at Casey for the summer period. My background is, I was a crown policeman for 41 years specialising in emergency management, logistics and major events, skills that readily transferred across to what I’m doing as a station leader. I’ve been three previous times and they’ve all been at Davis, so I’m pretty familiar with Davis and this year it might be a bit of a shock going to Casey. I love going back, a lot of people give you a lot of reasons but I just love the place, I love the work, I love working with the people.
Casey this year has got a very full program, we’ve got the Navy doing some sea bed mapping, we’ve got a lot of biological work, we’ve got wildlife work, we’ve got a very large dive program under the ice, which is quite exciting, looking at the ecosystems. We’ve got some deep field science happening which we’ve got to support with aircraft, so yes it’s a very very full program. No matter how many times I’ve gone down, every year’s been different, with different challenges, different pleasures, different rewards. I go down and it’s a blank canvas for me, and we’ll paint it as the season progresses.
John Leben Mawson Station Leader
My name is John Leben, I’m going to be the station leader for Mawson research station, for 15-16. My background is I joined the Australian Army when I was 15, and I stayed in the Army for 23 years, after which I joined the Country Fire Authority of Victoria. I applied to be a station leader, as it goes back to 30 years ago speaking to ex-expeditioners in the army who had been down for water transport and their experiences they’d had, so it’s been a dream since that time.
The major projects this year on station are the continuing research into Adelie and emperor penguins which we’ll be supporting, particularly over the winter period when there are no research scientists. What attracts me to Antarctica is the environment. It’s unusual, it’s not the same as you get in any other part of the world, and it’s one of the last frontiers that are available to people in the world.
Jacque Comery Macquarie Island Station Leader
My name’s Jacque Comery, I’m from Canberra in the ACT and I have the great privilege of going down to Macquarie Island as station leader. I’m an environmental engineer and my work experience in that role has been quite varied. I’ve managed large infrastructure projects and also worked on multi-disciplinary environmental programs as well. I’m also a scuba diving and first aid instructor. I’m definitely really excited for the opportunity to live and work in a team in one of the most remote places on the planet and to experience the environment, the weather and all of the wildlife on a daily basis is just going to be amazing.
The major projects that we’ll be supporting on Macquarie Island this year are the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service monitoring of albatross, giant petrels and a number of vegetation communities as well. We also have ongoing monitoring of scientific equipment, taking both meteorological and atmospheric measurements and we also monitor the tide gauges and also some seismic equipment. I think managing a small team of only 14 of us over the winter will present its challenges and the need to keep the team cohesive and strong and functioning is one of the most critical parts of my role as station leader.
Change is in the freezing katabatic wind with Australia’s new Antarctic Station Leaders heading south to the icy continent and Macquarie Island for 2014–2015.
Four new leaders will relieve wintering expeditioners and bring a renewed sense of purpose to Australia’s Antarctic program as the busy summer season swings into action.
James Moloney will be the Davis Station Leader for 2014–15. James has worked in a variety of roles supporting United Nations and non-governmental projects throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Bill DeBruyn is taking on the Station Leader role at Casey over the busy summer period. Bill is returning to Antarctica, having previously led Davis station in 2008–09, 2012–13 and 2013–14. Earlier this year Bill retired as a Superintendent from Victoria Police after more than 41 years of operational service.
John Leben will be Station Leader at Mawson for 2014–15. John has been an Operations Officer with the Country Fire Authority of Victoria for 14 years. Prior to this he spent 23 years in the Australian Army.
Jacqueline Comery will be leading the team at Macquarie Island. Jacque is an Environmental Engineer with 12 years’ experience managing infrastructure and environmental projects. She has also worked in outdoor recreation roles including in the ski fields of Australia and Canada, and teaching scuba diving across Asia.
Hear more from the new Station Leaders in the video below.