The recently appointed leaders of Australia's most remote workplaces have started their new jobs at the Australian Antarctic Division in Hobart.
A university professor, two Army officers and an executive chef have been selected to lead teams of scientists and support staff at Australia's three continental Antarctic stations at Mawson, Davis and Casey and on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.
Jeremy Smith is an Associate Professor in Biogeography at the University of New England at Armidale, NSW. He was the Station Leader at Macquarie Island in 1996 and this time will go to Davis, the busiest station for Australia's Antarctic scientific research program.
Meg Dugdale, Station Leader for Mawson, is on leave from the Australian Army where she was until recently a Visiting Military Fellow at the Australian Defence Force Academy and a Senior Instructor at the Australian Technical Staff Wing of the Australian Command and Staff College. A communications engineer with a Masters in International Relations, her military service includes command of a contingent of 117 combined services personnel in both the UK and Germany.
Paul Cullen has been the Executive Chef at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart, where he was responsible for all aspects of the catering operation, which included a team of 50 staff. He has some 20 years experience in the hospitality industry and has worked in a range of positions throughout Australia, but his posting to Casey is likely to be the most challenging yet.
Robb Clifton, who will be the station leader for Macquarie Island, has recently returned from climbing Big Ben, the 2745m active volcano that towers over the remote Australian territory of Heard Island. He has recently left the Australian Army where he served in the Special Air Service Regiment. He has a BSc in Computer Science and is currently studying for a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Management.
The four Station Leaders will meet their teams at an intensive five day training program in Tasmania's central highlands early next month and will travel to their new posts in November. They will spend the winter of 2001, the fifty-fourth year of Australia's modern Antarctic program, in charge of between 15 and 20 men and women at Australia's isolated Antarctic outposts.