Director retires

Australian Antarctic Division Director and former Chief Scientist, Dr Nick Gales, retired in November.

Dr Gales’ began his career as a veterinarian in Western Australia working with marine mammals, before moving into applied research working in Antarctica and undertaking a PhD on Australian sea lions. After periods running marine mammal research programs for the Western Australian and New Zealand governments, Dr Gales and his family moved to Hobart in 2001 where he took on a senior research role at the Australian Antarctic Division. Here, among other things, he established the Australian Marine Mammal Centre and led the Australian science effort in the International Whaling Commission; a role that culminated in acting as a witness for Australia in the successful International Court of Justice finding against Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program.

In 2011 Dr Gales became the Division’s Chief Scientist. He implemented the first phase of the Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan (2011–2021) to deliver a high-impact range of research outputs involving strategic partnerships between the University sector and publicly funded research agencies.

In 2015 Dr Gales was appointed Director, responsible for delivering Australia’s Antarctic Program. He was instrumental in the development and staged implementation of the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan which was announced in April 2016. In June of that year he was appointed as Australia’s new Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission.

Dr Gales said it had been a huge privilege to lead Australia’s Antarctic Program through a period of rapid change and growth (see Director’s Message). He plans to spend more time with his family and cruising the world in his home-built yacht.