Embarking on extreme leadership

Portrait of a women
Casey station leader Chris MacMillian (Photo: Glenn Jacobson)
Portrait of man

A passion for leading teams in extreme conditions is taking two Antarctic station leaders to the icy continent for the first time.

In October, Simon Goninon will set sail for Davis research station, where he will lead a team of up to 100 expeditioners over the next 12 months.

With a background in policing and operations in the hospitality and tourism sector, Simon has wanted to work in Antarctica for most of his adult life, watching Australia’s icebreaker Aurora Australis sail up and down the River Derwent in his home state of Tasmania.

Simon will oversee a busy science program including research on the Sørsdal Glacier and the installation of an atmospheric measurement instrument or LIDAR.

Casey research station will be led by operations specialist Chris MacMillian over the next 12 months.

Chris has a background in search and rescue with the US Coast Guard and Australian Maritime Search and Rescue Authority.

She is a self-confessed weather tragic and is looking forward to seeing the colourful atmospheric lights of the aurora australis for the first time.

Her team will support scientists drilling ice cores at Law Dome over summer and retrieving equipment from the Totten Glacier which has been measuring ice speed and flow.

2018-19 Antarctic station leaders

Video transcript

Simon Goninon:
It's been a life goal for me for many years, so I've been quite conscious of just in the background filling in what I thought might have been gaps to prep myself and make myself a good candidate for the role. Just the appeal of the isolation and the remoteness and the beauty, and just how well-respected and cared for the environment is, is really something special. It gives me that rare opportunity to dive into that and be a part of it and contribute to that conservation. I'm really looking forward to getting everyone on station working together, that whole community sense, that's really appealing for me. I like to be a part of that kind of space, and I think everyone that goes down there just genuinely wants to work well and do their jobs well and get the right outcomes for the science projects that we're there to support. 


Chris MacMillian:
My name is Chris MacMillian and I'm going down to Casey station for the next 12 months. I'm lucky enough to be the station leader this year and so I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to work in the Antarctic for a whole year with a great bunch of people. I've always liked that operational type focus and purpose and making a difference in those type of jobs. I've never seen the Southern Lights - I've seen the Northern Lights - so I'm looking to enjoy that and also just the changing weather patterns that come through so quickly and Casey I understand is very very dramatic and the changes that occur, particularly in the winds, and experiencing all that and hopefully getting the forecast right to be able to do our operations as well.

[end transcript]