Stark contrast

Published on LSIS James McDougall (author and photographer)

Topic(s): Exercise CASSOWARY, HMAS Maryborough (P95)

Seaman Communications and Information Systems Courtney Stark operates HMAS Maryborough's ten inch light during a recent deployment. (photo: LSIS James McDougall)
Seaman Communications and Information Systems Courtney Stark operates HMAS Maryborough's ten inch light during a recent deployment.

For Seaman Communications and Information Systems Courtney Stark, working in retail and hospitality just wasn’t cutting it for her anymore.

After moving to Melbourne, Victoria, from Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, in 2014 and cycling through a small number of jobs that were leading nowhere, Courtney felt unchallenged and uninspired.

Reflecting on her godfather’s stories and photographs of his time in the Navy on board HMA Ships Success, Hobart and Perth, the call for a new career was realised.

“They were always such good stories, full of adventure,” Seaman Stark said.

“So one day I said to myself “why not?”, and I rang the Defence Force Recruiting phone number, and joined Recruit School in March 2018.

“It has been simply the best thing I'd ever done.

“My friends back home were really surprised and it was the last thing any of them thought I would do!” she said.

Seaman Communications and Information Systems Courtney Stark poses for a photograph with members of the local dance troop after HMAS Maryborough's arrival to Kupang Naval Base, Indonesia.

Seaman Communications and Information Systems Courtney Stark poses for a photograph with members of the local dance troop after HMAS Maryborough's arrival to Kupang Naval Base, Indonesia.

Seaman Stark said that she really wanted to experience Patrol Boats and when the opportunity arose she was glad that she took it.

“I'd been working in Defence Network Operations Centre in Canberra and it came up in conversation that there may be a chance for a trip on a Patrol Boat.

“I filled out the expressions of interest, and next thing you know, I'm flying to Darwin to join HMAS Maryborough for Exercise CASSOWARY 2019!

“I have really enjoyed this trip, my first trip on a Patrol Boat and Kupang, Indonesia, is my first overseas port.

“It’s an amazing place,” she said.

“The crew on HMAS Maryborough has been great. I love the close knit team and the camaraderie - they’ve all made me feel welcome.”

Seaman Stark will be returning to Canberra after this trip but not for long.

“I am absolutely thrilled that I will be joining NUSHIP Supply in January 2020, and to be part of a Commissioning Crew of a new class of ship to the Royal Australian Navy.

“What an adventure, bring it on!

“I’m so happy I joined the Navy, if I was ever going to do something cool with my life, this would be it!” she said.