NEW harbourmaster John Fallon is used to an extraordinary amount of change.

Before coming to Gladstone, he was harbourmaster for the Cook Islands, a job he described as a one-man operation.

He said while he was harbourmaster at the Cook Islands, he used to oversee the movement of one ship a week.

Fast-forward to 2010 when he accepted the role of assistant Gladstone harbourmaster, and it was a whole different ball game.

"I knew it was going to be busier with all the coal coming out of Gladstone at the time, but I basically went from one ship per month to about 60-70 a week," Mr Fallon said.

"It was certainly what you'd call a steep learning curve in that time, but the good thing is having gone through that I'm now prepared for the job."

He said he had learned a lot from ex-harbourmaster Mike Lutze on how to adapt to rapid change, but acknowledged there was a massive hole to fill.

"He just had this massive bank of knowledge; he's a legend in the Gladstone area," Mr Fallon said.

"What he doesn't know about Gladstone and the port isn't worth writing about.

"When people rang him up, he knew the answers immediately.

"When people ring me up I'm going to have to research the answers."

He said most of that knowledge would come by simply sitting in the chair.

But he was looking forward to learning from others how to best operate the port.

"From our perspective, we operate the port in a safe manner but there's always ways to improve," Mr Fallon said.

"We're looking to all corners of the globe for tips.

"You can't assume that what you're doing is best practice, so you always have to be looking to see how other busy ports manage their traffic."


  • Entered Navy in January 1969
  • Harbourmaster of Cook Islands from September 2002-2010
  • Accepted position of assistant harbourmaster in 2010

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