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Jake, Joel and Jaymee from Norship

Norship was pioneered in 1984 by three people with the intent of supporting the local fishing community of Cairns in North Queensland. Today the team has grown to 200 employees with more than 37 years of maritime expertise in project management, construction, disposal, refit and maintenance solutions.

The shipyard services up to 600 vessels each year for customers in the defence, commercial and private sectors.


Jake O’Brien joined the Norship team around 13 years ago—his first introduction to the maritime industry. Jake currently works as a senior boilermaker working on Navy and Australian Border Force patrol boats.

“Before joining Norship I was working in the mines,” Jake said.

“I was made redundant due to the Global Financial Crisis, being a contractor, so I returned to my hometown in Cairns and soon after joined the Norship crew.

“I have lived here ever since, marrying a local girl who I share two beautiful children with.”


Joel Hardaker is also a senior boilermaker at Norship, joining the company around five years ago.

“Wanting to open up more career options, I became DNV certified specialising in aluminium,” Joel said.

“Being DNV certified meant I could work on defence vessels like Patrol Boats.

“I joined the Norship team because I like working on boats and wanted to get more experience in the shipbuilding and repair industry.

“I’ve been able to learn new skills and gained certifications that will hold me in good stead for the future.”


Jaymee Rowe joined the Norship team seven years ago with a ship and boat building trade qualification. Working his way up to fabrication supervisor, Jaymee now manages new builds, repair and maintenance projects along with composing welding procedures, sourcing materials and providing quotes.

“I applied for a position at Norship because it was a family-owned business and had waterfront access,” Jaymee said.

“Being able to work on vessels from a wide range of industries, including defence, has allowed me to develop a diverse range of skills.

“It’s been great to be able to pass on these learnings to support our apprentices and the team through mentoring and on-the-job training.”

These are just some of the faces of defence industries in Queensland. This sector provides thousands of jobs for Queenslanders, so we’re helping it grow even stronger.

Last updated: 16 Nov 2021