“This is an amazing place” – Tom’s Story

My name is Tom, I was born and raised in NZ, and I’m a pilot by trade.

I ended up here in 2014 pretty much by complete fluke, it could have been anywhere. My job is one where if you actually want to get into an airline eventually, you are accepting that you are moving anywhere.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Dowdle

There is a big down turn in NZ; there’s a big supply but not enough demand for pilots. So, I didn’t particularly want to move here and the original intention was to go back to NZ. But I just fell in love with Brisbane, and I think there’s a very small chance that I’ll move back now that I’m settled.

I’m a survey pilot. What we do is we survey mines. We have cameras and what’s called ‘lighter’ attached to the plane, so we take photos and an all bunch of measurements of what’s below.
They expand or make alteration to the mines every month, and their blasting engineers use the aerial photos and the data collected to establish where to put the detonation and extend the mine.
I have no passengers, no freights; it’s a very niche operation for a pilot. You fly lines over the mines for a long period of time.

The first time I saw the State Library I was on a friend’s boat in the Brisbane River and we went past it and I thought: “What is this place?” I saw the beautiful room (the Red Box) at the front overlooking the river, it sticks out of the building and it has this crazy view. I went to Google Map and saw it was the State Library. Now I’ve got this exam coming up and I had to start studying. I’ve been to my local library but I didn’t like it that much, and then I remember seeing the SL on the river and I thought: ‘Well, I’m gonna go there!’

The plan is to be in the library pretty much every day, until the exam. I’m really influenced by my environment: if I’m around a lot of people studying I feel a lot better than when I’m alone, and I’m doing a lot better job. So I come to the library to help my productivity.

The exam is about testing your knowledge of planning a flight. So they’ve got these big maps of Australia and they are just looking at how you can successfully, or not successfully plan, a flight from A to B with the correct amount of fuel based on certain weather conditions.

I haven’t used any of the resources available so far, just the desk and a power point for my computer. But there is so much knowledge here! This is an amazing place, I can just tell. The standard of this library is just so much higher than anything I’ve had back home, and the view and the architecture is amazing. The library helps me to do a lot more than at home, but even when I get this exam out of the way I will keep coming.


As told to State Library Staff

Fed Pani

Visitor and Information Services