Expedition mechanic, plant operator and plant inspector

Expeditioner working on diesel engine inside a workshop
Diesel service (Photo: Greg Hemsworth)
Expeditioner working on the refuelling unit at Davis Loading vehicles preparing to go to Wilkins Runway Expeditioners attempting to free a Hagglunds from a slot in iceVehicles lined up in workshopExpeditioner servicing a Quad bikeLine of heavy vehicles in the snowExpeditioners changing the tyre track on a Hagg.Snow moving machine parked by a shed.Vehicle with a Herman Nelson heater connected to the engineThe vehicles are parked inside the workshop with mechanics conducting work.D7H clearing snowMechanic maintaining helicopter in Antarctica

Support from the mechanical trades is essential to the day-to-day running of the station, as well as the success of many field programs. Quads, snowmobiles, over-snow vehicles, heavy plant and machinery all play a role in supporting successful Australian Antarctic science programmes.

The tasks of the mechanical services personnel are many and varied and include the repair, servicing and maintenance of all mobile machinery and small plant and equipment. They also operate the power houses without which the stations could not function, and provide training to other expeditioners in vehicle operation.

As the expedition mechanic, you will maintain and operate a range of mechanical plant and equipment, and the station power generation facilities (mechanical side). Expedition mechanics participate in field trips, which may be for either scientific field work or operational programmes, such as automatic weather station maintenance.

Plant Operators are responsible for the safe operation and routine maintenance of a range of plant and equipment associated with construction and maintenance activities. Plant Inspectors co-ordinate the station mechanical section's operations in addition to performing the duties of an expedition mechanic.

What will you actually do on the job?

  • Operate and maintain (mechanical side) station power generation facilities.
  • Liaise with relevant trade groups regarding power house maintenance requirements.
  • Maintain a wide range of mobile and stationary mechanical plant and equipment (portable generators/pumps, 4x4 and specialised over snow vehicles, earth moving machinery etc).
  • Operate plant and equipment as required (cranes, loaders, bulldozers, fork lifts, excavators, rock drills, rock crushers, tractors and trucks) maintaining roads, site excavation, quarry work (rock crushing), snow clearing, building construction and maintenance.
  • Handle materials and cargo including resupply cargo and waste packaging for return to Australia.
  • Provide mechanical engineering services to various user groups.
  • Provide operator training/endorsement on vehicles and plant as required.
  • Manage fuel and lube storage.
  • Manage mechanical spares and consumable stock.
  • Support station operations as required.
  • Support field operations as required.
  • Assist in science programs when necessary.

As well as these specific job roles you will also be required to perform station duties rostered by the station leader to support community life, such as general kitchen duties, garbage clearance, water duties, and assisting other expedition members with official programs. You may volunteer for other duties such as firefighting, hydroponics and boating. 

Interested in working in Antarctica?

Jobs in Antarctica are advertised during a recruitment period towards the end of each year. Some positions are not available every year. For more information, see Jobs in Antarctica.

This page was last modified on 12 August 2010.