Macquarie Island has been managed by the Australian Antarctic Division, a government branch, since 1948. It is the most remote of Australia’s islands, a rugged place of snow and wild creatures. And it is about to be managed by an all-woman team for the first time.
This is, arguably, a milestone—but also a natural acknowledgement that women are still working outdoors in some of the world’s toughest environment, just like they always have.
Australia’s Herald Sun reports that 30-year-old Andrea Turbett (described by the newspaper as a “pint-sized wildlife ranger”) has been named ranger in charge. She’ll be working with station leader Jacque Comery, an environmental engineer. Two other women, Marion Davies, a doctor, and Anna Lashko, a ranger, complete the team.
Macquarie Island is situated 1,500 km from Tasmania. The place is eye-catching—a tiny oblong overflowing with seals and a multitude of birds, with night skies often alight with auroras.
A single hike can take in “elephant seal harems, rockhopper penguins peeking out through the cabbage, giant petrels feasting on seals, all four types of penguins and all four types of albatross,” Turbett wrote in a blog last year. “We experienced snow, strong winds, hail, horizontal rain, sunshine and lovely blue sky,” she said, testament to the island’s turbulent conditions.
The island is resident to only 40 humans at high season, but is full of birds (like postmen, the rangers must love penguins). Macquarie is the only place in the world where the Royal Penguin breeds. The largest colony, at Hurd Point, has about a million of the creatures.