The Chronicle

From operationa­l deployment to train driver – what a career


FORGET the glass ceiling, I’ve discovered a young woman who has made it cellophane.

Long before Mrs and Miss became Ms and women used their given names rather than those of their husbands and quotas were floated, there existed a group of Australian high achievers called citizens.

Women and men who minded their own business and just got on with the job.

One such individual is Jandowae’s Monica Wilson who celebrates her 48th birthday on Sunday – she has much to celebrate.

Monica graduated from Downlands College and headed for the bright lights of Brisbane.

In 1996 she joined the Australian Army Reserve for the mandatory weekend a month. She liked the military and embarked on training to become a member of the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police; she once was awarded “student of merit.” on a number of courses.

In 1999 she went full-time and headed to Townsville for garrison duties/field activities.

She became quite handy with the F88 Austeyr, the ADF’s standard individual weapon, and Browning 9mm pistol, and thus my interview was conducted with an enormous amount of courtesy!

That year an overwhelmi­ng majority of East Timorese voted for independen­ce from Indonesia and chaos followed delivered by the Indonesian military and Timorese militias.

Monica found herself right in the middle of it as part of the Internatio­nal Force East Timor (INTERFET) deployment, a multinatio­nal mission led by Australia to stabilise the country.

She told me the country and

people were beautiful and the abundance of bougainvil­lea and beaches provided a veiled disguise to the otherwise tragic mayhem.

The following year she returned home and took up duties at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney.

In 2004, parenthood called and she said farewell to the defence forces and returned to Queensland. She is now the proud mother of three young ladies aged 14, 16 and 18.

Parenthood was no obstacle and Monica joined Rio Tinto, working in

Gladstone and Paraburdoo, primarily in the emergency management and safety areas.

Toowoomba beckoned and she told me the main reason was the abundance of wonderful schools for her children.

After five years in the constructi­on business, she applied to Aurizon for a trainee locomotive role and became qualified in December 2017.

She completed hundreds of trips across Queensland carting commoditie­s including coal and wheat.

In recent years she’s also worked for Pacific National and Greyhound Resources, and these days she is manager of operating practices with Watco WA Rail and part of its management team.

Army reserve, military police, operationa­l deployment, train driver – what a career and I know she’ll hate me for saying this, but I think being crowned Jandowae Showgirl in 1993 was pretty impressive too!

 ?? ?? HIGH FLYER: Monica Wilson at the wheel of a Watco engine.
HIGH FLYER: Monica Wilson at the wheel of a Watco engine.
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