From hard hats to high tech

Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), CPOIS Damian Pawlenko (author)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling

Topic(s): Weightlifting

Seaman Electronic Warfare Davina Hughes at Fleet Base West, Western Australia. (photo: CPOIS Damian Pawlenko)
Seaman Electronic Warfare Davina Hughes at Fleet Base West, Western Australia.

A former civil construction labourer’s career has evolved from reconstructing roads to identifying hostile or friendly ships over the horizon.

Seaman Electronic Warfare Davina Hughes was part of the construction team that built the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, before joining the Royal Australian Navy almost a year ago. 

She said that Navy is much more exciting and rewarding than her previous work.

“Even though I was a part of building Australia’s newest international airport which I’m quite proud of, I was doing the same work every day which became repetitive and boring,” Seaman Hughes said. 

“During my time in the Navy I have learnt and experienced things I thought I never would and the greatest thing is knowing I will continue learning and experiencing throughout my career.”

She said favourite memories so far were graduations – from Recruit School graduation and her Electronic Warfare training, where she received the Warfare Community Medallion for continuously showing Navy Values. 

“As an Electronic Warfare sailor, you will employ high-tech systems to intercept, identify and analyse threats to your ship then take actions to defeat them,” Seaman Hughes said.

“The greatest perk of the job is the opportunity to do something that no one else can do in civilian world while travelling.

“Every day is a new exciting, challenging adventure.” 

Whether its work or play, she does not ‘shy-away’ from heavy lifting and holds the Queensland and Australian records for under 16 Snatch, Clean and Jerk and total of 146 kilograms. 

“I started weightlifting when I was 14 and was scouted through a school program by the Queensland Weightlifting Association,” Seaman Hughes said.

“My future goal, now that I’m in the Navy, is to begin training and start competing again which all depends on future postings of course.

“I want the Navy to be my lifelong career, to experience as many different deployments as possible, progress up the ranks and I may even consider commissioning later in my career.