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August 29, 2019

Q&A with Lyn Ferrari – Boart Longyear Australia’s Only Female Driller

When you ask most girls what they want to be when they grow up, drilling might not be their first career choice. Neither was Lyn’s. However, after 11 years with Boart Longyear, and as a BHP-Coal Division Driller, Lyn Ferrari hasn’t looked back.

Born and raised in Colac, Victoria, Australia, Lyn had an older brother and a younger sister, and always wanted to be different thanks to growing up with “middle child syndrome”. What once started as a desire to be a graphic designer and work in fashion design gradually changed to drilling. We sat down with Lyn Ferrari to find out more about her path to becoming a driller, her current experiences, and what it’s like to be the only driller in Australia working for Boart Longyear.

Boart Longyear: “When did you first decide you wanted to become a driller?”

Lyn Ferrari: “My Pop had a cattle farm in Beeac (just outside Colac) where he ran Murray Grey Cattle. When I was 14, my Pop taught me how to break the cattle in and I started showing them at local cattle shows where I won a few ‘Best in Show’. This led me to work for TeMania Angus, which led me up to Gyranda Station near Cracow in Queensland.

Gyranda specialized in Santa Gertrudis and just by chance, some Boart Longyear employees were drilling out on the station. The station employed a number of Jillaroo’s (female stockmen) and the Boart Longyear guys jokingly referred to the station as McLeod’s Daughters (which is a reference to a 90’s Australian TV drama about a farmer and his three daughters located on an outback property). The Boart Longyear guys challenged me to come out and give drilling a go – so I did! Eleven years later, I am still with Boart Longyear and still drilling!”

Boart Longyear: “What’s your most interesting experience drilling?”

Lyn Ferrari: “It’s amazing to me to think that you are drilling down sometimes hundreds of meters into the earth and pulling out core samples with fossils embedded in the core samples that are millions of years old. One of my most interesting experiences was as an offsider where I was sure we had struck gold, to the point where I noted down on the geo’s sheet ‘We found gold!’ only to find out later from my Driller that it was actually ‘fool’s gold’ otherwise known as Pyrite. I was very disappointed that day.”

Boart Longyear: “What’s the worst thing that has happened to you drilling?”

Lyn Ferrari: “One extremely cold (below zero) morning at Cracow, we were standing around the diesel salamander heaters trying to keep warm. I had bangs hanging down from under my hat when one of the Drillers said he noticed a burning smell. All of the sudden, we realized it was my hair smouldering. It took me a while to live that one down!”

Boart Longyear: “Where have you travelled to in your drilling career?”

Lyn Ferrari: “I have worked on Diamond Rigs – Underground and Surface Rigs, RC Rigs, and ‘super’ Sonic Rigs. Some of the places I have worked are Cracow – Newcrest, Lake Cowal – Barrick, Coolgardie in WA – Focus, Creswick and Horsham – CRC, Prominent Hill Surface – Oz Minerals, Olympic Dam – Underground and Surface – BHP and Whyalla – Arrium.”

Boart Longyear: “Who have you enjoyed working with at Boart Longyear? Who do you consider to be influential leaders in the workplace?”

Lyn Ferrari: “Neville ‘Hurricane’ Hodgetts and Jacko ‘Daddy’ Turnbull have been wonderful mentors and awesome bosses. In and out of work they are the ‘calm in the storm’.”

Boart Longyear: “Why do you enjoy working for Boart Longyear?”

Lyn Ferrari: “I really like the job, but I would have to say it’s the people I work with that keep me here. It doesn’t necessarily feel like work when you get to work with your mates every day. Being the only female driller working in Australia at present is also a motivation for me; it’s a privilege and I am glad I have been able to stick it out and prove I can stand the heat as much as the next fella.”

Boart Longyear: “Do you think drilling presents any unique challenges for women?”

Lyn Ferrari: “I’ve had amazing adventures working with the ‘BLY Boys’. I enjoy learning with the guys and due to the technology we employ to drill nowadays, it is more about using your brains than your brawn. There is nothing that a female should not be able to do. I go to the gym every day alongside the guys and look after my physical fitness. I feel this gives me the edge and keeps me fit and healthy to do my job. At my current job, the crew has all purchased Fit Bits and we track our steps each day on the rigs and compare our steps. It’s not unusual to come in with 20,000+ steps per day!”

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