Founder - Mr Derek St John Emerson-Elliott QC, LLB
Derek Emerson-Elliott was born in colonial Singapore in 1939, the son of an English Royal Naval Officer. Derek then settled in Australia and later travelled extensively with his family after the war, living in Malaya, England, Singapore, South Africa and Portugal.
During the term of the 16th Governor-General, Lord Casey KG, GCMG, CH, DSO, MC, PC (1965 to 1969), Derek served as an Aid-de-Camp to the Governor-General. He was later admitted as a barrister in the ACT Supreme Court and solicitor in 1970 followed by the NSW Supreme Court. During his time at Canberra Community Law, he was appointed an adjunct associate professor at the University of Canberra.
Derek was informed of the MV Cape Don sitting idle in Sydney harbour in the early 2000’s which reminded him of the days when he was a young boy, travelling between Asia and Australia during school holidays to see his parents in Singapore, sparking fond memories of the ships he sailed on.
Derek enquired into the ownership of the vessel, which appeared abandoned. To his surprise the ship had been detained by the Government for unpaid port fees by its owner. Subsequently Derek made an offer for the ship and later paid her debt to become the proud owner of the MV Cape Don.
This selfless act ensured that the last of the Cape Class Lighthouse Tenders would live on as a museum ship in recognition of the men and women who served in the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service and their families. Derek later founded the Sea Heritage Foundation Pty Ltd to oversee the management of the ship with the MV Cape Don Society Inc. formed to undertake the restoration of the ship.
Chairman of the Board - CJ Manjarres-Wahlberg CRMgr, COHSProf, FLinstLM, FICPEM, FCLP, AFIAMCS, MRSN, SGFAS
CJ Manjarres-Wahlberg was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1978. Growing up with a love of military ships and aircraft and a strong family history of military service, he entered the Royal Australian Navy in 1996. He serving a combined 11 years active and reserve service in the Navy aboard three major fleet units deploying throughout the Asia-Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans. He served operationally on two humanitarian peacekeeping operations in the Southern Ocean Exclusive Economic Zone area and served underway aboard U.S. Navy and Royal Navy fleet units. His final two years of service was in a joint military environment with the Army.
Since leaving the military CJ has worked in a variety of safety, emergency management, and senior management roles. He has completed several postgraduate degrees, including at the Australian Catholic University in OHSE Management, the University of South Australia in Organisational Safety & Human Factors, Asset College in Strategic Leadership, Orion University in Maritime & Shipping Management and postgraduate programs from the University of Tasmania with the Australian Maritime College in Applied Science. His ability to work under pressure in dynamic environments has allowed him to work on several challenging projects ashore and at sea in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and Singapore.
CJ is a Chartered Risk Manager, certified safety professional, Fellow of leadership and management in Australia and the United Kingdom, Fellow of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, and current Chair of the International Special Interest Group of the same institute. In Feb 2022 CJ was appointed as an International Leadership Fellow of the Society of Leadership Fellows at the College of St George, Windsor Castle, England.
Additionally, CJ is a current panel advisor to the University of Wollongong’s O.H.S. Master’s degree, a committee member of the Construction Logistics & Community Safety-Australia program with Monash University, and is an active member of the Royal Society of New South Wales. He is a dedicated member of the Sea Heritage Foundation Board of Directors, providing strategic leadership and direction.
When he isn’t working or volunteering his time, CJ is studying an EDBA conducting research into unconscious safety behaviours and safety leaderhip in the high-risk maritime environment with SSBM in Geneve, Switzerland.
Paul Pokorny TMIEAust, MAIP, MIEEE, MMSA
Paul Pokorny has been associated with the MV Cape Don Society Inc. since commencing as a volunteer Electrician in 2011. Over the past few years Paul has also taken on the office bearer role as Secretary and for a time, Acting President.
In recent years Paul has also become a Director on the Board of Strategic Planning the Sea Heritage Foundation Pty Limited.
Professionally, Paul is Director and Engineering Manager of the NATA-accredited electrical testing laboratory company, Power System Support Pty Ltd since 2013, having spent the previous 15 years with the CSIRO/National Measurement Institute’s High Voltage Laboratory and the previous 20 years in a variety of technical and engineering positions in the electrical, electronic, scientific instrumentation and industrial production areas.
Paul has a Bachelor of Science (Maths & Physics) from Macquarie University, he is an accomplished violinist, being Concertmaster of the Strathfield Symphony Orchestra and Balmain Sinfonia, also playing with the Bourbaki Ensemble and The Metropolitan Orchestra along with regularly performing with chamber groups and musical societies.
Paul has and continues to play a significant leadership role with the MV Cape Don Society over the past 10 years as 2nd Electrical Engineering Officer onboard and continues to work selflessly as a dedicated member of the Board of Directors.
Board of Directors – Rick Hamilton JP
Richard (Rick) Hamilton has dedicated his life to the service of others. He was an operational Paramedic with the New South Wales Ambulance Service for 42 years before retiring as a Chief Superintendent.
Rick was instrumental in the development of the NSW Ambulance Service Rescue Paramedic traniing program, co-authoring the NSW Emergency Services Rescue Manual (1st Edition). He spearheaded the “Trauma Ted” knitted teddy bears program which provided comfort to children in distress which were also part of a relief package sent by NSW Ambulance Service to New York after the September 11th terroist attacks on the world trade centre and to patients involved in the Bali bombings.
At the 2000 Sydney Olympics Rick was the venue commander at the Sydney Olympic and Para Olympic Games. In 2005 he project managed a helicopter head injury response team which introduced a high-level medical team for traumatic head injury patients.
Rick last major operational work with NSW Ambulance Service was the design and introduction of the current ambulance ivery and layout of the updated Ambulance fleet in New South Wales.
Rick also performs the duties of Ships Safety Officer and Superientendant onboard. In this role Rick co-ordinates all maintenance onboard working closely with the MV Cape Don Committee while providing sound leadership and mentoring for volunteers.
Board of Directors – Richard Stevens MBA
Richard is currently a director of a risk firm providing global service lines. He holds an MBA from York Business School and was a Professional Associate with Macquarie University’s Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism. He was also a Visiting Program Lecturer with Charles Stuart University’s Graduate School of Policing Management. In 2021 he was appointed a fellow of the Institute of Emergency Management and Civil Defence and is the Secretary of the International Special Interest Group.
He has a background in state law enforcement, emergency services and civil defence, specialising in chemical, biological and radiological management. He has both trained and operated with tactical policing, military and health units, and is part of a UN certified disaster assistance team. As such he has attended Japan’s 3-11 disaster, and also managed a commercial response and evacuation to the Nepal earthquake delivering corporate risk services, he has developed large commercial security, emergency, health and medical services for many international hotel chains in a number of countries.
Additionally, he has assisted with several other civil security deployments and emergency risk events globally. Most recently, he has been involved in health and medical information technology services within the South East Asian Pacific area.
Richard brings a strong background in risk mitigation to the board.
Board of Directors - Brandon Cliff
Brandon has over 20 years experience working across Finance and HR Functions for Global and Australian organisations in the Listed and Public Sectors and has significant experience in Utilities, Medical, Rail and Logistics and Financial Services where he has been a key leader in Organisational and Finance Transformation programs. Brandon has deep experience in leading operations, outsourcing, implementing appropriate systems for financial management and reporting, assisting management with budgeting and cost control.
Advisors to the Board of Directors
Captain Melwyn Noronha – Maritime Affairs
Melwyn is a master mariner (class 1) who has decades of commercial seafaring experience on a wide range of cargo ships. He joined the team in 2015 as General Manager Technical Services and Industry Policy. In addition to providing a wide range of policy and maritime advice to industry, ministers and officials, Melwyn is familiar to the industry having organised and run a wide range of Shipping Australia committees, briefings, functions and events. A former shipping and ports administrator at state and federal government, Melwyn also brought a wealth of policy and administration experience to the team. He is also a graduate of the Australian Maritime College.
Paul MacDonald M.A. – Community Engagement
Paul McDonald is an experienced educator and manager in the creative arts. He has proven skills in education and training, professional development, strategic planning, operational management, budgeting, resource mobilisation and corporate governance.
Pauls practice is informed through research and the delivery of community participatory programs. He completed his Masters of Art - Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, in 2016, with Distinction, at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. He has since been invited back to deliver a series of guest lectures about his artistic and business practice to M.A students of this course. His photographic work has been published both nationally and internationally and his work has been exhibited in over 25 countries.
Paul has lectured at the Australian Centre for Photography, Raffles College of Design and Commerce, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, Macleay College of Journalism and various private organisations and councils. He was awarded lecturer of the year at Macleay College of Journalism in 2019.