Australian Antarctic Station Leaders 2016-17

2016-17 Australian Antarctic Station Leaders

Video transcript

Paul Ross – Casey research station leader

I’m actually quite humbled by the experience and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s my first time on the continent and it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for dozens of years.

I was attracted to apply because I’m interested in complex leadership situations. I’ve spent the last 31-odd years with Victoria Police. Probably the last 10 years, I’ve mainly been involved in the emergency management and the operation of complex police operations in terms of public order and crime investigation.

Some of the challenges we might be facing will obviously be the isolation, the distance from Australia, how the expeditioners might react to that isolation. That may be a little bit challenging.

The summer period for Casey this year will be quite busy with a fairly tight aviation schedule, so it’ll be a challenge to ensure that occurs within the season and that we can deliver on the programs that the Antarctic Division is committed to.

Kirsten Le Mar – Davis research station leader

I’m almost tragically excited as we’re heading south. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been down south and this is my dream job. It’s like my career’s come full circle and now I can go and take other people down there, take care of them and let them have an extraordinary time.

This has been a bit of a long term project. I’ve always wanted to be station leader. I went down as a scientist 21 years ago to Davis, to work on Weddell seals. Antarctica’s quite addictive, so I have spent quite a lot of time down there; spent about 12 years doing tourism.

Some of the challenges that’ll come up in the winter will be people being isolated and lonely, missing members from home, even just getting on and being compatible with your co-workers, and living and working in your work environment. Probably working in cold environments as well, so just physically managing the environment.

There are many components that attract you to Antarctica. There’s the physical beauty; it’s quite extraordinary, this blue icy landscape where people just don’t belong. The wildlife is extraordinary. The penguins are just magical.

[end transcript]

Casey research Station Leader Paul Ross.
Casey research Station Leader Paul Ross. (Photo: Eliza Grey)
Davis research Station Leader Kirsten Le Mar.Outgoing Davis Station Leader, Alison Dean and new Station Leader Kirsten Le Mar during resupply.

A new leadership team is taking the helm at Australia’s Antarctic research stations, Casey, Davis and Mawson.

The role of Station Leader at Casey research station will be filled by career policeman Paul Ross during summer, and engineer Jacque Comery over winter.

Paul has spent more than three decades in various roles with Victoria Police including serious crime and corruption investigation, and emergency management.

Jacque was the station leader at Macquarie Island last season (2015/16).

At Davis research station biologist, Kirsten Le Mar, will lead the team over the next 12 months.

Kirsten started her career studying seals at Davis station and penguins on the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island more than two decades ago.

She has also worked as an expedition leader in both the Antarctic and Arctic regions.

Former Davis station leader, Alison Dean, is heading across to Mawson for the summer, ahead of Kat Panjari taking the role over winter.

Kat comes from a background in local and state government in Victoria and Western Australia.

She has led teams responsible for a range of public health and community services, project managed large community infrastructure projects, managed emergency recovery programs and brokered urban renewal projects in disadvantaged communities.

The Station Leader on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island for 2017 will be former police officer Kyle Williams.

Kyle brings nearly 20 years of diverse experience to the role having undertaken leadership roles in the Australian Army, Federal and State Police, Victoria's Anti-Corruption Commission and in the corporate Adventure Trekking industry.

Hear from the Station Leaders in the video below about their upcoming Antarctic adventure.