There are some pretty cool jobs at DELWP. Abby Smith is the Senior Forest and Wildlife Officer for the Port Phillip region.
A former tradie, her “dream job” now sees her working with animals on a regular basis, and she describes it as being like a police officer but in the wildlife space.
“I worked as a tradie for some years and completed a Landscape Gardening Trade… I was the only female in the class and on job sites I had to use the men's toilets.”
What is your background?
I have a very eclectic background, having previously worked in Zoos, Aquariums, RAPCA and in Wildlife Conservation in New Zealand and animal management at a local council level.
The theme of this year’s IWD is Balance for Better, what does that mean to you?
Women in all aspects of work can add difference and balance but I think that that works both ways.
How would you explain your job to a stranger at a dinner party?
I often say that I am like a police officer, only for wildlife, and it is a very diverse job.
We work with all sorts of wildlife on the spectrum, from something as small as a gecko to something as big as a whale.
Can you talk me through your journey to get to this point in your career?
I have always been intrigued by wildlife, even as a three-year-old.
I did work experience as a vet nurse at high school and then worked at the Melbourne Zoo for 10 years, five of which was as an elephant trainer.
I went to New Zealand for four years and worked with the rarest wading bird in the world, then came back to Victoria to work for the RSPCA before returning to my studies whilst working at Melbourne Aquarium with the penguins.
After that I worked with local councils in local laws and animal management.
I then landed this dream job !
Why do you think International Women’s Day is important?
To lead and inspire young girls and women to believe that they can do anything that they dream to.
Any highlights, key achievements, struggles or interesting stories from your career that you’d like to share?
As a young woman I worked as a "tradie" for some years and completed a Landscape Gardening Trade, which was a four year apprenticeship. I was the only female in the class and on job sites I had to use the men's toilets!
I have all sorts of licenses, such as Heavy Machinery , Firearms, Bobcat, Boat License and Heavy Combination Truck license. I was often stared at as a 21-year-old driving all the guys around.
Page last updated: 05/04/19