On Thursday 15 April 2021 the SA DSTG Alumni Group held it first activity for 2021 at the Mawson Lakes Hotel Conference Centre. Over 30 alumni members attended the event which proved to be a success.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first alumni activity since the inaugural meeting of the revitalised DSTG alumni. That meeting was held on 19 July 2018 on-site at DSTG Edinburgh and via video link to Melbourne, and included a keynote presentation by then CDS Alex Zelinsky on the current roles and future directions of DSTG.
The recent April 2021 event included a presentation by CSEID David Kershaw on current DSTG directions and activities. David gave insights into DSTG’s increasing engagement with other Australian research organisations, academia and industry to strengthen its capability to deliver science and technology to support Defence clients. This was followed by presentations on two of DSTG’s STaR Shot programs: “Disruptive Weapon Effects” given by STaR Shot Leader Nathalie Colineau, and “Resilient Multi-Mission Space” given by STaR Shot Leader Rod Smith. All presentations were well received by the participants.
DSTG SA Alumni Group convenor Warren Harch also addressed the gathering, advising members that the DSTG Alumni – SA Working Group is still quite active. The group, comprising Bevan Bates, Warren Harch, Steve Pendry and Mark Taylor, meets regularly and provides minutes of the meetings to DSTG to maintain continuity. Warren noted that the group continued to meet regularly via video conference during the height of the COVID-19 crisis. So, despite external appearances, things are still being progressed albeit more slowly due to COVID constraints.
Warren sought an indication of the level of interest from members in regard to some potential future alumni activities, such as:
- establishment of a ‘men’s shed’ type activity to undertake restoration of historical DSTG artefacts for museum display;
- the potential for alumni members to engage with DSTG through mentoring and other unpaid support activities; and
- members contributing their stories to a DSTG wiki /blog (the blog was to provide a mechanism for DSTG staff to seek input from alumni members on past activities that might inform current work). While there are several formal publications on the history of DSTG most are ‘big picture’ summaries of major projects and accomplishments which do not track in detail the formation and demise of laboratories, divisions, branches and groups and even some of the minor sites. By drawing on the memories of alumni members, the wiki could also provide a means to develop a detailed time-line of the evolution of DST organisational structure and site histories.
All members are encouraged to contact Warren Harch if they wish to offer comments on these potential activities or suggest other potential activities for the alumni to pursue.
The DSTG Alumni – SA Working Group would like to thank CSEID David Kershaw and Kathy Marzocca (SEID) for their support in planning and running the event, and thanks to Nathalie and Rod for their presentations on two of DSTG’s STaR Shot programs which were greatly appreciated.
~Warren Harch (DSTG Alumni – SA Working Group Convener)