Living dream: new Station Leader for Macquarie Island 2 March 2021

Australian Antarctic Division

This season’s Station Leader for Macquarie Island research station is Derek Stevens.

The sub-Antarctic posting is the first for Derek with the Australian Antarctic Division.

He started his career as an officer in the Australian Army followed by a career in engineering and construction in Australia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia Pacific.

Derek said his background had also provided a good grounding in leading, motivating and coaching teams.

“The biggest thing to keep the community together is a sense of identity, you know it’s the sense of identity and shared purpose and us agreeing how we work and relate and behave as a team,” said Derek.

“It’s just making sure we have a nice strong team culture that we build up in the good times and is there to help us when inevitably, things get a bit rougher at times throughout the year.”

Derek experienced a taster of life on Macquarie Island during last year’s resupply mission, which he said “was fantastic to help me prepare for this season.”

“I think the main thing for me is just the uniqueness of the experience,” he said.

“I think the big attraction is it’s pretty hard these days to find something which is different and unique, and Macca definitely fits the bill.”

Although he’s Australian, the New Zealand town of New Plymouth on the west coast of the north island, is home for Derek.

He says a sub-Antarctic or Antarctic posting is something he has been thinking about “for a long, long time.”

Now, with his team trained up and well acquainted, it’s time to depart for their new island home.

“It’s an amazing environment, just the wildlife,” said Derek.

“Just the immense depth and variety and the sheer numbers of the wildlife and being able to follow that through the seasons.”

“We’re lucky to have the ranger team and the wildlife rangers that come with us. And we’ve already started getting briefed about what we’re going to see on a month-by-month basis. I think for all the expeditioners, it’s one of the things they enjoy the most.”

Derek and the team will depart from Hobart on the French icebreaker L’Astrolabe, this weekend.

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