Clayfield to Cloncurry – Brisbane girl goes west to discover her brilliant career

  • Posted 30 January, 2023
  • Media Releases

30 January 2023

Cloncurry is a long way from Clayfield, but right now there’s no place former St Rita’s College student Molly Stanistreet would rather be.

As a senior geologist and finalist in this year’s Exceptional Young Woman in Queensland Resources award, Molly, 29, has spent her 20’s carving out a brilliant career in mining on Australia’s east and west coast.

Armed with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in geological science from The University of Queensland, Molly began her ‘girls own adventure’ at an underground gold mine in Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, followed by another underground role in an even more remote part of the state.

She’s now back in Queensland, where she commutes from Brisbane on an 8:6 roster for MMG’s Dugald River zinc mine, 65 kilometres outside Cloncurry.

It’s a career Molly loves and highly recommends to other young women with an interest in science, maths, technology and maths (STEM).

“Mum was a medical scientist, so I was very fortunate to have exposure to a female role model in the science industry at home,” she said.

“Dad used to also cut out newspaper articles about women in STEM and put them on the fridge to inspire me.

“I think it’s important for girls with an interest in the sciences to have influential role models to mentor them throughout their careers.  That’s what led me to reach out to my old high school St Rita’s and volunteer to attend its Year 11 Career’s Day. I now regularly speak at this event and present to Year 8 science classes during their geology module.

“I love talking to the students about how I use what they’re currently learning at school in my career every day.

“St Rita’s is now also a partner school with the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy, which means people who work in the resources sector come into the school and run STEM-related workshops to introduce students to some of the incredible careers in mining.”

On March 8, Molly will join other finalists at the 2023 Resources Awards for Women at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. 1000-plus people are expected to be in the room, with hundreds more watching online.

This year’s finalists across seven categories hail from all corners of the state including Weipa, Mount Isa, Biloela, Blackwater and Brisbane.

The RAW awards are held annually in conjunction with an International Women’s Day breakfast, hosted by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ).

This year’s event is sponsored by Anglo American and the keynote speaker is women’s leadership activist Fabian Dattner.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the calibre of this year’s applicants reflects the increasingly high level of female expertise embedded in the state’s $94.6 billion mining and energy sector.

In three out of the past four years, the winner of Queensland’s Exceptional Woman in Resources award has gone on to win the national title in Canberra, cementing Queensland’s reputation as a destination of choice for high-achieving women in mining in Australia.

Mr Macfarlane said resources companies are making great progress towards creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

“There is always more work to be done, but our industry goal is to have 30 percent female participation by 2026 and to keep setting higher targets from there,” he said.

WIMARQ co-chair Sally Rayner said the resources sector wants and needs more women to join its workforce.

“Women bring skills and experiences that research shows make our workplaces safer, more productive and more positive environments for people of any gender to work in,” she said.

“As an industry, we also want women to have equal access to the diverse and well-paid job opportunities that resources companies offer.”

Award categories


Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources award
Exceptional Young Woman in Qld Resources award
Exceptional Woman in Qld Resources Technological Innovation award
Exceptional Tradeswoman/Operator/Technician in Qld Resources award
Inclusion and Diversity Champion in Qld Resources award
Exceptional Female QMEA Student award

Company category

Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance in Qld Resources award