Kalian Barnes graduated from the University of Tasmania last week with a bachelor degree in Marine Engineering (Naval Architecture), with first class honours.
“Kalian spent most of his life here in Batemans Bay, attending Batemans Bay High School and working locally for some years before embarking on university life at Launceston, Tasmania,” his parents Ian and Lin Barnes said.
Not a bad achievement for a young man who had packed his possessions into a car in January 2013 and headed south with no particular destination.
According to the University of Tasmanian, Mr Barnes could not have predicted he would “end up in Tasmania helping rebuild a fire-ravaged community and embarking on a career as a Naval Architect”.
He arrived to the community of Dunalley, which had been devastated by fire a few weeks earlier.
“When I entered the charred remains of what must have previously been a beautiful landscape, the devastation of the fires was vastly apparent,” Mr Barnes told the university.
He joined charity Blaze Aid helping landowners clear debris and rebuild.
“One of the landowners at Bangor offered Kalian full-time work and that’s where he stayed for five months, helping replace 40 km of fence line, rebuilding a shed, repairing damaged equipment and returning the farm to operational levels,” the university said.
“The landowner noticed Kalian’s affinity with the ocean and suggested he apply to the Australian Maritime College to study maritime engineering. That night, Kalian researched the degree online, decided university was for him and enquired about naval architecture the next day.
“Four years later, and Kalian has now graduated from AMC with a Bachelor of Engineering (Naval Architecture), First Class Honours.”
His degree included a third-year exchange at the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) in Canada, which has a strong maritime engineering stream and where former AMC principal Neil Bose is now the Vice-President (Research).
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