Female marine technicians are rarely seen serving in Huon-class minehunters. Two female ‘stokers’ are currently bucking the trend - both serving in HMAS Diamantina.
Drawn to a technical trade after doing mechanics at high school, Seaman Marine Technician Amelia Ambrose found herself loan-posted to Diamantina just in time for the ship’s East Asia Deployment.
“I joined Diamantina to get my marine systems technician (MST) competency,” Seaman Ambrose said.
“It’s the first stepping stone as a marine technician, so you can operate systems independently,” she said.
Seaman Ambrose said it had been a nice surprise and an advantage to have another female marine technician to work with.
“I really like having another girl stoker embarked. I think girls learn differently. The boys would show me, whereas my ‘sea mum’ would also talk me through the process and explain why.”
‘Sea mum’, Able Seaman Marine Technician Helena Siyangkabuth, who has spent the past year in Diamantina between completing courses, is equally grateful for having another female ‘MT’ embarked.
“The girls in my cabin are great, but I couldn’t talk to them about my work problems. The work we do is very different,” Able Seaman Siyangkabuth said.
“Sometimes I just have to look at Millie (Seaman Ambrose) and she understands exactly what I am thinking.
“I was told last year by the guys that I was quiet and reserved, and now with another female MT on board - I have opened up and chat a lot more,” she said.
Seaman Ambrose said the loan-posting to the Diamantina MT department for the deployment had meant her career was off to a good start.
“I learned so much on this deployment. The boys really helped me get through and get my MST,” she said.
Colleague, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Luke McLellan, said both sailors had been a welcome addition to the department.
“I really enjoyed having them on the ship. They are switched on and keen to give anything a try,” Leading Seaman McLellan said.
“They’re the right people with the right attitude, who get along with everyone.”
The two women said they were attracted to the marine technician category because it gave them a job where they could work with their hands and solve problems.
“It just interests me to work with machinery,” Seaman Ambrose said.
”I like physically solving problems. I’d hate to sit behind a desk,” she added.
Able Seaman Siyangkabuth said she was also enjoying her time on Diamantina, particularly the opportunity to get involved in aspects of mine warfare and electrical technician work.
Both are keen to forge strong career paths towards the charge role within the mine warfare stream.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20193103.