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In the first and second videos on this page, take a guided tour of Davis station and look at life as an expeditioner over winter. What happens if you get sick? What do you eat? Where do you live and what do you do for those long winter months? Graham Cook, Davis Station Leader for 2011 and Tony Bojkovski, electrician and cameraman, will take you on walk around an Australian Antarctic station and introduce you to the team that keeps it running during the short days and long nights of the winter season.

In the third video, learn about life on Macquarie Island, with the help of some friendly penguins.

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Tour of Davis Station (Part 1)

Video transcript


Welcome to Davis Station. My name’s Graham Cook. I’m the station leader here. Most people call me Cookie. We want to take you and show you a little bit of Davis station and tell you a little bit about what we do here in Antarctica.

Davis supports a lot of science programs during the winter and an awful lot during the summer. The rest of the station work involves a heap of tradesmen and tradespeople. We have a doctor here, we have a chef here and a little support crew which includes me to keep the place running. The trades team this year is working on a new living quarters which hopefully they’ll have finished by the end of winter and we’ll be able to move into it in the summer. Along with that there’s an ongoing maintenance program that keeps all of us busy. There’s twenty-four of us here for the winter. In the summer that number grows to about a hundred so the first ship will come in around November and bring another seventy or eighty people with it. Enough of me talking anyway. Let’s go have a look around the station and meet some of the crew.


Good morning over there with the video camera. This is not a real patient. We are not doing a real operation. These people are expeditioners. They’re ordinary lay people who’ve taken it upon themselves to do some surgical and anaesthetic training and help the doctor down here. Everybody has to take multiple roles and these guys do a great job. We’ve actually have had a minor theatre case only recently and today we’re having a rehearsal on how to handle instruments, how to set up the patient, how to set up all this machinery and as complicated as it looks, these guys are on top of it. I’m very proud of them, very nice to work with them. I’m the doctor. My name’s Lloyd Fletcher and we’re pretending this patient’s having an appendectomy at the moment. We’ve got instruments set up here and Jenny’s our theatre sister, theatre nurse. Jen over there is our scrub nurse. She runs around and gets things. And we’ve got Doug, and Justin, and Shane and they’re doing anaesthetics and setting up all the operating, operating all this equipment. Pretty good team, huh?


Hey I’m the chef here at Davis and I cook for the twenty-four expeditioners over winter.


G’day folks. I’m Cliff. I’m down here as general trades. I do a bit of everything.


Davis field to Davis this is VLZ one.


Yeah VLZ , VLZ Davis go ahead, over.

Yes I’m Doug McPhee. I’m one of the communication techs on station here. We look after the radios, telephone systems, satellite systems, computer systems. Basically anything electronic on site to keep them up and running.


Hi, I’m David, the refrigeration mechanic for this winter. I’m here primarily to build the new cool room s and set it all up for the new living quarters.


Hi, I’m Jenny and I am part of the meteorology team down at Davis station. I am a weather observer. So what we do is we collect and collate all the weather data which then goes in to forecasts so we can tell people what the weather’s going to be tomorrow., whether it might be windy, whether it might snow. We also let off weather balloons which collect data from the atmosphere telling us how cold it is and how much water there is in the atmosphere so we can tell what sort of clouds there are about and that will let us know again what the weather might do tomorrow and the next day and the next day.


Hi everyone, I’m Andy. I’m the building services supervisor on Davis station this year. We have a number of infrastructure programs going on including the new LQ and my job is to supervise all the relevant trades in performing their duties.

[end transcript]


Tour of Davis Station (Part 2)

Video transcript


Hello. My name’s Jen McGhee and I’m a plant operator here at Davis station. I drive pretty much all the heavy equipment here on station. I.T.s, the crane, trucks, JCBs, the dozers, and I clear snow, move large shipping containers around, help with building, do a little bit of recycling, and staying for winter I don’t do a lot of plant operating but I’m helping build the new L.Q. and other station duties.


G’day, I’m Jimbo. I’m one of the carpenters here at Davis station. One of my main projects this year has been working on this new L.Q. which we hope to have completed by the end of this season. I’ve been working on it with a whole heap of other trades and other guys who have put in a good effort over summer so let us show you around. This is the lounge area, this is our new cinema, this is the new kitchen and mess that we’re still working on at the moment.


Hi. I’m Kerri. I’m a weather observer and we’re out at the snow gauge and it’s snowing at the moment, but at the moment there’s very little snow.


Hi. I’m Rick. I’m a carpenter. Over here they call us chippies. I’m a wintering carpenter for Davis 2011 and one of the projects we have on this year is to put in a mezzanine floor in this store room.


Hi, I’m Tony. I’m one of two electricians on station. We look after everything electrical around the station. This is our main power house behind me. We look after that together with the diesel mechanics. That supplies our electrical supply throughout the station. This is our main electrical panel. These are our four diesel generators.


Hi. I’m Brian. I’m the met tech. I fix weather systems and hydrogen systems for the bureau and also do weather obs.


Hi. So I’m David Tulloh. I’m here as an electrical engineer supporting the science group. Most of my work is supporting the atmospheric physics. In here, we’re, this is, got two radars in this one. We’ve got MST radar which has six large amplifiers, takes up most of my time, and a smaller digital amplifier set up for our media radar.


G’day, I’m Craig. I’m one of the comms team and we’re just putting a new radar in this Hagglands we just got down on the ship.


Hi, I’m Rob. Hi, I’m Cory. I’m Brad. We’re the diesel mechanics on station. We look after all the machinery, the generators for the electricity, basically everything else that moves.


Hi. My name’s Shane. I’m one of the plumbers here in Antarctica. We’ve got many jobs on station. We look after all the water, hot and cold, we got waste management, the heating and air handling and one of our most important jobs here is making water. What we have here is a desalinisation plant, where we pump water from a salt-water lake out back and we pump it through a whole heap of filters where we then pump it through up to our storage tanks up on the hill where we’ve got one and a half million litres of storage.


Apart from the normal job, the maintenance work and the building work and the science work on station, the winter team in particular is very involved with a heap of jobs that support the community, jobs like being on the fire team. We need to protect ourselves from fire in the event of one and that can happen and it has happened in the past. We have a medical team that patches people up if they happen to hurt themselves, with the doctor guiding them. We have a search and rescue team that’s on call in case one of us falls over in the field and needs some support.

Look, if we’re not out in the field enjoying the outdoors, there’s a lot we can do inside as well. We’ve got pool, darts, a gym – very well equipped gym, library and a spa and a sauna. Thanks for joining us folks!



[end transcript]


Life on Macquarie Island

Video transcript

Station leader Mark Gasson:

Hello. My name's Mark Gasson. I'm the station leader at Macquarie Islands subantarctic station. I work for the Australian Antarctic Division. Macquarie Island is one of four Australian Antarctic bases and it's 1542 kilometres south of the Australian mainland.

[Pulls down map] This is our island here. It's about 35 kilometres long and about 5 kilometres wide at its widest point. It's surrounded by the southern ocean and is covered in the most incredible wildlife: seals, penguins and birds. It's amazing! There are 25 of us here on the island and my job is to keep them all safe and happy. Today we're going to meet some of them.

[Slideshow begins with Mark Gasson voiceover]

Gregory Bird, comms technician: tall, detached, handsome.

David Brett, carpenter: fast, slick, likes orange.

Lionel Whitehorn, station mechanic: expert in his field, loves barbecue sauce.

Arron Tyndall, MET technician: accomplished musician, dance champion.

Tony Mortimer, chef: loves football and movies.

[Mark Gasson resumes talking]

Here we are in our communications building with Greg and Tony. Wow! What's all this stuff Greg?

Gregory Bird: Well this is the satellite tracking equipment and underneath here are all the files servers. Endless amounts of file servers and lots of space! Here we've got our indication switches and some monitors to tell us what's going on. When the expeditioners go into the field, they put their name on the board and I'll issue them each a GPS tracker so we can keep track of them while they're out there performing their duties.

Mark: Here we are in the carpenter's workshop with Dave the carpenter. Dave, what do you do?

David Brett: Well my basic and primary role is maintenance so I keep everything ticking along when anything breaks, as far as carpentry goes, I fix it. I do a lot of new work if anything needs to be made I make anything, sort things out about the place and make sure it all goes pretty well.

Mark: Here we are in the mechanic's shop with Lionel the mechanic. Lionel, what do you do?

Lionel Whitehorn: Well I'm the mechanic on station and I look after the two main power houses and all the rest of the machinery. If there are any breakdowns I have to improvise to try and get things going with what spare parts and what skill I've got.

Mark: Here I am in the Macquarie Island weather station. Aaron, what do you do?

Aaron Tyndall: I work for the Bureau of Meteorology and we measure the weather conditions here at Macquarie Island. We measure the temperature, the wind speed, the wind direction and how much rain falls in a day.

Mark: This is our kitchen. This is Tony the chef. Tony, what do you do?

Tony Mortimer: Hello Mark. Because we work with such interesting and diverse people, I get to cook morning tea, lunch and dinner for everyone.

Mark: Excellent.

Tony: It is.

[Camera operator laughs. Fade to short clips of people working and other activity around the station.]

[end transcript]