2014-15 Station Leaders

Station Leaders 2014-15

Video transcript

Ali Dean: I'm Ali Dean and I'm going down to Casey as the station leader.

I've worked in the Antarctic for quite a few years now, first as a geologist so going down over the summer months, using the stations as a staging post and preparing for trips to remote localities. So I was looking for clues on the geological history of Antarctica.

During those times on station, I became fascinated with multi-faceted, really active places with a lot of interesting people and that's probably what led me to eventually try station leadership.

This will be seventh winter as station leader in Antarctica and I'm just as excited about this trip as I was about that first one.

The Australian stations are extremely important for facilitating science because the Antarctic is such a hostile and hospitable place. There are science projects that run automatically through the winter and these are usually monitored by station personnel. For example, ultra-violet radiation is measured constantly, as are a lot of greenhouse gases. So this information is sent back automatically by satellite to scientists in Australia.

The encroaching winter itself - it can be a challenge. I enjoy the darkness but it is difficult to sleep for a lot of people. For a lot of people, that separation from family. 

What draws me back to Antarctica is I love the place. It is unique. It is one of the wild places left on Earth.

Ivor Harris: My name's Ivor Harris and I'll be going down to Macquarie Island station for the coming winter. 

My position on station will be station leader which is a role I've been lucky enough to be selected to do three times previously.

I've got a broad background in the biological sciences but also in the military, curiously. I originally qualified as a vet but had the opportunity to follow my scientific interests which are more in the direction of infectious diseases and microbiology.

The station leader is responsible for management of the station in a broad sense, allocating station assets in support of science projects and other field projects and of course, maintaining the community.

The people that go to Antarctica to work, go there because they really, really want to be there. They're selected as being very, very capable and experienced at their roles and as a general rule, it's a very easy job to manage the community and look after people because they're great people.

Narelle Campbell: My name is Narelle Campbell and I am heading off to Davis this winter.

My career has led down a number of paths. I've now been south three times and I'm coming up to my fourth time.

What I am looking forward to most this coming season is again experiencing Antarctica, it’s the wildlife, it’s the scenery and the community. Watching a community gel together, work closely together, have fun, but it's actually nice to see the community work together and get along and become very good friends.

Steve Robertson: My name is Steve Robertson and I am the incoming station leader at Mawson station.

I am currently a sergeant with the Victoria police so I've worked in busy metropolitan police stations in Melbourne. I've worked up in country police stations and remote police stations as well. I have also worked in a lot of proactive units, working with youth, disadvantaged kids, African communities and the gay and lesbian liaison role within Melbourne itself.

The role of the station leader for me is two-fold I guess. You've got your science, and in order to support the science you've got your infrastructure: your diesos and so on, and so forth. But in addition to that, you've got the other part of the role being the community and my role is to make that gel, make all of that gel - the science tick along but at the same time making sure that the people are ticking along as well as this cohesive community.

[end transcript]

Davis Station Leader Narelle Campbell in Antarctica.
Davis Station Leader Narelle Campbell. (Photo: Todor Iolovski)
Macquarie Island Station Leader Ivor Harris on Macquarie Island.Steve Robertson (centre) doing some community policing in Melbourne.Ali Dean at Davis Station.

Australia’s new Antarctic Station Leaders have recently headed south to take up their positions on the icy continent and Macquarie Island for 2014-15.

Ali Dean will be the Casey Station Leader for 2014. She has previously worked at Davis in 2010 and 2012. Prior to joining the Australian Antarctic Division Ali worked for the British Antarctic Survey as a geologist and then as a Base Commander at King Edward Point and Bird Island on South Georgia (2005, 2006 2007) and at Rothera on the Antarctic Peninsula (2008). Ali has also worked for the Northern Territory Geological Survey as a geologist in the Australian outback. She lives in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Ivor Harris is the Macquarie Island Station Leader for 2013. Ivor has been a Station Leader at Casey (2003) and Mawson (2006) and at Macquarie Island for the summer of 2010-11. He has worked as a veterinarian, laboratory animal scientist, microbiologist, TAFE teacher and Army officer. Ivor is currently a scientific manager with the Australian Army Malaria Institute in Queensland where he has coordinated major malaria surveys and elimination programs in countries including East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. 

Narelle Campbell will lead Davis Station in 2014. Narelle was the Station Leader at Mawson in 2008, Casey in 2010 and Macquarie Island in 2012. She has 23 years experience in print media, covering logistics, sales and marketing in senior management roles. Narelle has degrees in social science and counselling and has worked as a volunteer for Missionbeat in Sydney, providing support to homeless people. Narelle is a keen traveller and has walked the Kokoda Track and completed high altitude climbs in Nepal, India, Africa and Chile.

Steve Robertson will spend his first winter in Antarctica as Mawson Station Leader. He has 20 years experience working with Victoria Police and is currently a sergeant. Steve has worked in country and metropolitan police stations, as well as in proactive units working with disadvantaged youth, African communities and as a gay and lesbian liaison. More recently he has been conducting training in firearms and defensive tactics. He visited Macquarie Island on a resupply voyage earlier this year and experienced the ‘true essence’ of Antarctic adventure and working as a team. He is looking forward to seeing his first emperor penguin.

Hear more from the new Station Leaders in the video below.