What is your job?
I’m a marine surveyor with Crawford & Company. I’ve been based in Sydney for the past six-and-a-half years but am excited to have headed back home to WA to expand Crawford’s marine business in the west. No minute is the same. I could find myself investigating damage to large industrial machinery, and then jump in the car to look at a flooded container of retail goods.

How did you get into this line of work?
When I was at law school, I selected shipping law as one of my elective units. Thanks to my shipping law professor, Dr Kate Lewins, I developed a passion for all things shipping. I found it was one of the only areas of the law where you really had to get a good understanding of the industry to appreciate the varied complexities and challenges associated with maritime law. About a year after I graduated, Kate let me know about a claims job for a transport liabilities insurer in Sydney, and I moved to Sydney from Perth. After about three-and-a-half years in insurance, a recruiter contacted me thinking I would be a good fit for a role as a marine surveyor. I took a punt and have never looked back. Undoubtedly my best decision.

Where did you grow up?
Dad was a produce farmer so I grew up in and around Guilderton which is about ninety minutes north of Perth. My most treasured early memories are always riding on the back of the farm ute at dusk in the summer while Dad was on an “irrigator run” and getting drenched while riding under the irrigator sprinklers. We also built three different go-carts, each one greatly improved on the previous. This, along with camping, fishing and four-wheel-driving every long weekend meant a real love for the outdoors that continues today.

What is your favourite movie?
The Shawshank Redemption – I find there are so many hidden messages and always find myself saying “What would Andy Dufrayne do?”

What was the last book you read?
The Guardians by John Grisham. It was that much of a page-turner that I finished the 310 pages in one five-hour flight to WA last year (it made for an interesting in-flight meal experience when I couldn’t put it down). This book was brilliant and a follow on from Grisham’s non-fiction work on the Innocence Project which helps obtain justice for wrongly convicted death-row inmates. There were so many twists and turns. I love books that keep me guessing.

Is there a social cause you feel strongly about?
I have a special heart for finding ways to help others who are less fortunate (most recently this involved me exploring various community groups and opportunities to donate a large volume of personal belongings in preparation for my relocation from Sydney). I think we take so much of what we have in our lives for granted and look down on those who don’t have the same comfortable existence. It is a truly life-changing thing to experience the genuine joy in the lives of people who receive real signs that you care for them.

Are west Aussies truly different?
Having been in Sydney for the past 10 years and now happily back home, I can say hand-on-heart that west Aussies really are different. The number of times I have asked for a beer in a glass size that the bartender doesn’t understand and have had to find other slang words or phrases to use that don’t make sense “over east”, well, I’ve lost count. I’ve often said that in NSW I found myself always having to be a sophisticated version of me. Most of all, west Aussies approach life in a much more relaxed and laidback way that in just a few short days I am starting to feel “normal” again.

Can you play a musical instrument?
Music is a great passion and I started piano lessons with my grandmother at a young age and still play today. I’ve also been known to pick up a guitar and bang a few drums. I also sing – and not just in the shower.

Where’s your favourite holiday destination?
Where I am right now – Albany WA. The weather in summer is always nice, the fish are always biting, and the beaches are amazing. Scotland would come a close second.

You have friends coming for dinner – what would you cook?
That’s easy. My signature 12-hour lamb shoulder on the bone with a potato and celeriac mash and minted peas. That would go in the centre of the table, and each guest would be supplied with only a fork – because eating meat should be a shared experience.

Name an Australian who you particularly admire?
The late Dame Ruth Cracknell. Her talent for the dramatic arts has been unmatched.

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This article appeared in the February 2021 edition of DCN Magazine