This week at Casey: 10 January 2020

This week at Casey we look at tractors in Antarctica and the role of the Supply Officers on station

Antarctic Tractors

Sir Edmond Hillary drove his Ferguson TE20 to the South Pole and back during the summer of 1958 wearing flannelette and with no FTO (Field Training Officer) in sight. Ever since, tractors have played a vital role in all areas of operations in Antarctica. 

The humble tractor, in its normal habitat on the farm, tackles pretty much every task there is. This indirectly provides food (the life blood) for all the Australian stations in Antarctica. In Antarctica, tractors tow vital equipment thousands of kilometres around the vast icy continent and also double as a mode of transport. 

The tractor in Antarctica has come a long way from the Massey Ferguson 35 with its 40 hp, 3 cylinder engine, and canvas cab. The new generation of Challenger tractor MT865E ‘Saturday Sailing’ has just made its first track marks on the icy continent after a ride down in the C-17 Globe master. With its 500 hp engine, heated seat and just about everything else you could wish for, this is the first of 5 new tractors that are being delivered to Casey this season for the new traverse program. http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2019/australias-artistic-antarctic-tractors-head-south

The station also has a range of case quad track tractors that are used to keep the air link to Australia open through Wilkins Aerodrome as well as intra-continental flights through Casey ski landing area. These tractors are used to transfer fuel, tow land planes (a grader for tractors), push snow and proof roll the runway, which is a vital part of the process to make sure the runway is as safe as possible for a plane to land on.

With that said the tractor has changed the way we do things for the better. It has expanded our scientific capability on all our stations, with greater distances achievable in a safer, more comfortable manner. If only these new machines could come with a coffee machine and the ability to fix themselves.

Sincerely,

Team Dieso

PS Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

Man on a tractor on the ice
Sir Edmund Hillary on his Ferguson tractor heading to the South Pole…
(Photo: Geoffrey Lee Martin/Antarctica New Zealand)
Tractor being unloaded from C17 aircraft
The first Challenger Traverse tractor making an entrance, emerging from the C17
(Photo: Chris Burns)
Tractor beside the Antarctic Circle sign
First trip across the Antarctic Circle
(Photo: Chris Burns)
Interior view of the tractor cab
The Challenger cab with all the creature comforts
(Photo: Chris Burns)
The tractor parked on the snow
Saturday Sailing parked up with the Terrabus
(Photo: Chris Burns)
A view of Casey Station and the sea
Looking down on station from the plateau
(Photo: Chris Burns)
Tractor towing a fuel tank
A Challenger towing the Wilkins fuel tank into station to be refilled
(Photo: Chris Burns)

Green Store Operations

The Green Store is the hub for freight arriving at and departing Casey station. It all starts with an Econ. An Econ is a request by the user for transport of items to and from station. Once an item has been accepted by a Station Supply Officer, its dimensions and weight are checked off, and is approved for transport. We can then determine the best means of transport off station back to Australia. Generally, this will either be by the RAAF C17 Globemaster III or the Aurora Australis resupply vessel.

The Green Store is a very busy area during summer where we consolidate all freight for the flights and organise freight for the Aurora Australis resupply, which comes once a year. The vessel brings in all cargo required for the remainder of summer and the winter season. These items range from fresh food to machinery replacements. Hottest commodity that comes into station by far is the precious mail bag! Although it can be a busy place to work, we never forget to take some time out and have fun. Just last week we had our Casey Green Store sausage sizzle.

Antarctica is an incredible place to live and work, not just because of the amazing landscapes and animals, we also have a great crew here. If you have the opportunity, I urge you to come and experience this way of life.

Aaron Sgro, Station Supply Officer

C17 Globemaster III aircraft on the ice
The RAAF C17 Globemaster III at Wilkins Aerodrome
(Photo: Aaron Sgro)
The sun rising over the ice plateau
Sunrise on the way up to Wilkins with cargo for an early…
(Photo: Aaron Sgro)
An Adelie penguin at Shirley Island near Casey Station
One of the neighbours heading back to its mate
(Photo: Aaron Sgro)
Two men standing next to a forklift in a warehouse
Aaron and Tyson with forklift waiting for cargo
(Photo: Aaron Sgro)
Large group of people at a BBQ in the operations building
Casey Green Store sausage sizzle
(Photo: Aaron Sgro)
A group of people standing next to the bus, watching a plane land
The welcoming committee
(Photo: Aaron Sgro)

Raising money for bush fire relief

The bushfires at Kangaroo Island are devastating, and I wanted to raise money to help those affected. Everyone seems to be playing a part. A mate I work with is from Kangaroo Island so I just wanted to help out. On Sunday I started a GoFundMe page offering to shave my head, and in less than a week it’s nearly reached my target of $5000! I’m sure a lot of people would like to see me get a haircut.

Alex Correia, Casey plant operator

A man with long hair in front of four other men standing by a field hut
Alex Correia to shave off hair for bushfire fundraiser
(Photo: Alex Correia)