This week at the station

This week at Macquarie Island: 17 May 2013

It's all about Tom in the field

MIPEP hunter Tom celebrates his birthday in the field this week. Let us have a look back at the style Tom brings to his working day on Macquarie Island.

Employed as a hunter, Tom spends his time searching for signs of the last rabbits on Macquarie Island. A number of skills are necessary to be an effective hunter on an island such as this. Firstly, it is imperative that you start the day with an accurate assessment of the weather conditions. Tom has discovered that it looks like it is snowing. "Perfect conditions to keep us from overheating walking up that hill" he cries. (He doesn’t cry – that was just a figure of speech - well maybe a little bit, but he says he had been cutting onions for a lasagne that evening). See the first photo below – Tom not crying, just assessing the weather.

Tom wearing a hat looking unhappy and wet standing outside in the rain. In the background is tussock and a mountainin
Tom outside Waterfall Bay hut. The day kicks off and Tom is…
(Photo: Stephen Horn)
Tom walking with his back towards the camera, making his way up the snowy caped Plateau. Tom is wearing his red pack.
Tom on the plateau looking south above Lusitania Bay
(Photo: Stephen Horn)
Tom standing on the top of a snowy hill wearing his yellow jacket,red pack and holding his walking stick. In the forefront is a one of the detection dogs called Flax he is a yeloow labrador retriever.
Tom and Flax. Fortunately Flax the Labrador is here to guide Tom…
(Photo: Stephen Horn)
Tom wearing his floppy hat and yellow jacket, sitting down with his feet proped up on his bags while he eats lunch
Tom is happy that he put extra chilli in the chilli sans…
(Photo: Stephen Horn)
Tom, Karen and dogs Fin, Ash and Flax working climbing up a hill
Tom, Karen and dogs Fin, Ash and Flax working above Hurd Point
(Photo: Stephen Horn)
Flax the dog in the forefront having a nap amongst the flowers and Tom standing in the back ground wearing his yellow jacket, back pack and holding his pole.
Tom and Flax
(Photo: Stephen Horn)

Lighting the candles for our chef

And so began our secret mission - birthday celebrations for our mischievous and talented chef! The difficult part was keeping Chef Tony out of the kitchen and unaware of any type of preparation. Our fearless station leader Mark began the proceedings by making contact and corresponding with The Norwich City Football Club. Chef Tony is a hardcore Norwich supporter. As their number one fan, he gets up at one, two, three, even four AM to listen to a match.

The next phase was made possible by Greg, our comms guru, who downloaded BBC Radio Norwich to listen to for the day, the FA Cup final and Quadrophenia to watch that evening.

The decorations and cake arrangements were taken care of by Patty who waited in the shadows hiding next to the toilets for our chef to go to bed! Finally, and after a great deal of waiting, 0130 arrived! The decorations were able to go up and the making of the birthday cake began, with the finishing touches finally placed on the cake at 0700. In the morning, noises continued in the kitchen. Chris awoke to make the chef breakfast in bed and at 0830 the chef was stirred from his sweet slumber to bacon and eggs, toast, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.

A notice was placed by our 'Fearless Leader' that Thursday 9 May was now formally 'Norwich Day'! A day off for all in celebration of the chef's birthday.

In the evening we gathered around the bar to watch the chef open his presents a pro-street toy car, a new kiddies drink bottle, an amazing handcrafted wooden mug made by Dave and the present Mark had worked so hard to acquire - a happy birthday letter from the manager of the Norwich Football Club, Mr Chris Hughton, and a happy birthday letter from the captain of the Norwich Football Team, Mr Grant Holt.

We continued the celebrations with a delicious BBQ, beverages, good tunes, a Norwich chocolate mud birthday cake and a movie to finish the day off.

Happy birthday chef Tony! You're one in a gazillion!

Happy Birthday Tony printed out in green and yellow and stuck onto the Mess window outside there is a mound of tussock and dark sand
Happy birthday chef!
(Photo: Tny Mortimer)
Chef Tony standing in front of the bar that is decorated in the Norwich city football logo and green and yellow letters that say happy birthday
Chef Tony
(Photo: Tony Mortimer)
Mark with his arm around Chef Tony, Dave and Greg behind the bar that is decorated in the Norwich city football logo and green and yellow letters that say happy birthday
Mark, Chef Tony, Dave and Greg
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Chef Tony in his yellow Norwich city football jersey holding the handcrafted wooden mug Dave made for him and in the other hand a gift bag and his toy car.
Birthday boy
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Chef Tony giving his thumbs up as he reads his happy birthday gift from Mark his birthday drink bottle on the bar and Mark the station leader looking at him.
Thumbs up from the chef
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Chef holding out his birthday letter from the Norwich city football team to show
Looky looky
(Photo: Barry Becker)
All the crew behind the bar that is decorated in the Norwich city football logo and green and yellow letters that say happy birthday
All crew celebrate
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Chef sitting at the bar with two letters wishing him a happy Birthday from the Norwich City Football club, one from the Manager Mr Chris Hughton and one from the Captain Mr Grant Holt.All the Macquarie crew are standing around him.
Chef with two letters wishing him a happy Birthday from the Norwich…
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Barry and Craig at the bar that is that that is decorated in the Norwich city football logo and green and yellow letters that say happy birthday Tony
Baz and Craig
(Photo: Tony Mortimer)
Greg in the forefront withtony behind him, Dave in the background behind the bar, Dr Clive sitting behind the bar  and Chris next to the bar that is decorated in the Norwich city football logo and green and yellow letters that say happy birthday Tony
Fellows at the bar
(Photo: Tony Mortimer)
White board with writting on it saying Norwich, a day off for all, special events for the day;Football in the square after lunch,BBC Radio Norwich on Slushy FM,Quadrophenia in the mess after dinner,BBQ in Greenstore for dinner, SPA on and also it's Tony's Birthdays
Norwich Day
(Photo: Tony Mortimer)
Josh blowing kisses holding up a piece of stake next to Clive with they barbeque meat.
Josh and Clive barbecuing
Aaron sitting to the left of Chef Tony who has his diiner with steak and chips and Josh to the right of Chef.
Aaron, Chef Tony and Josh
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Chef Tony holding his Birthday cake that has the Norwich City Football team logo on it sparklers and candles
Chef and his Norwich birthday cake
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Chef Tony holding his Birthday cake that has the Norwich City Football team logo on it sparklers and candles
Cake
(Photo: Barry becker)
Chef Tony blowing out the candles on his Birthday cake that has the Norwich City Football team logo on it sparklers and candles
Blow out the candles and make a wish
(Photo: Barry Becker)
Birthday letter from the Norwich City football Captain Grant Holt
Birthday letter from the Norwich City football captain Grant Holt
(Photo: Mark Gasson)
Birthday letter from the Norwich City football Manager Chris Hughton
Birthday letter from the Norwich City football manager Chris Hughton
(Photo: Mark Gasson)

Heritage recovery excavation

On Monday of this week I took part in the beginning of an important Parks and Wildlife heritage project organised by Chris Howard, the Parks and Wildlife ranger. Over this year, the plan is to carefully recover buried artefacts located within the station square corral, the same location featured in the station news story from 22 March. Over many years, these important heritage items have almost been forgotten with beach sand and grass now covering most of them.

The job will be to remove the sand and grass from around some of the objects and to relocate them to a safe dry storage area. The job needs to be done with the utmost care as many of these items have become fragile. Some, like the old wagon  will be too fragile to remove and will require specialist help. After removal, the artefacts will be cleaned, photographed and catalogued and some will be painted with a preservative to help to slow further rusting.

These artefacts are of historical importance to Macquarie Island's history and for the moment, assisting with their recovery and maintenance is my task. So we commenced the day with a systematic plan where we divided the area into a grid. Chris took photos of the area prior to starting our dig. It wasn’t long before we started unearthing items that we photographed. It’s quite an odd feeling looking at something that is considered heritage and that is old! So very old! Some may not be very old at all, but we’ll leave it to the specialists to work that out.

So many questions pop up in your mind like, what was this used for? How old exactly? Who made it? Did it have an impact on the island, the animals the people here? In what circumstances did this item find itself here, so far from anywhere?! The morning ended with us uncovering a fair portion of the grid. The items uncovered are pretty large and will be removed from the area at a later stage.

I feel pretty honoured to be taking part in bringing back to the present a little bit of Macquarie Island history. Once we have become better informed on each item found I will write an update with all the interesting details.

Patty Villegas

a grassy tussocky area where an excavation will take place. Chris is leaning down on the right hand side getting equipment ready
Area of excavation
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Chris is laying out string to make a grid over an area where an axcavation will take place in the area there is tussock grass and left over old artifacts
Getting started
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Chris and patty standing at the edge of the area of excavation, the area has been quarden off into a grid with pink string
Patty and Chris
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
The pink grid made from pink string breaking up the area for excavation, the area is made up on uneven ground tussock and there are 3 large boiling pots sitting to one side
Grid
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Chris bending down trying to lift an artefact which has been uncovered there is dirt all around him
The excavation begins
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Patty on her knees excavating on the sight uncovering wood behind her there is a wheel next to the tussock grass.
Diggin it up
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Patty and Chris looking down into the ground to see what theyíre uncovering in the forefront there is an old boiling pot full of water in the background you can see the ocean
Working away
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Patty and Chris excavating  uncovering  artefacts the area is made up of uneven ground tussock and there are 3 large boiling pots sitting to one side full of water in the background you can see the ocean
More digging
(Photo: Patty Villegas)
Excavation  uncovering  artefacts the area is made up of uneven ground tussock and there are 3 large boiling pots sitting to one side full of water in the background you can see the ocean
The uncovered
(Photo: Patty Villegas)

FA Cup bonanza

This week it has been a week dominated by things soccer. First we had Chef Tony's birthday which had a soccer flavour as seen in our second story this week.

On Saturday the 132nd FA Cup final was played at Wembley Stadium between Manchester City and Wigan Athletics. At the ground were 86,254 avid football fans who witnessed one of the best games for the ages.

Here at Macca our super comms tech Greg painstakingly uploaded the game in three hour-long segments (each segment taking several hours to upload). Live kick-off was at 4:15 am local Macca time on Sunday morning. The plan was to view the first segment at 1500 on Sunday. This meant no one was allowed anywhere near a paper or internet article about the game.

We watched it on the big screen in the mess. From the start it was obvious that the game was going to be played at a frenetic pace.

Those of us who watched were kept on the edge of our seats, cheering loudly any time the ball came near either of the goals. Wigan (the underdogs) showed from the very start that they were worthy of a place in the final. The game did not reflect the team's standing in the Premier League (Man City 2nd and Wigan 18th).

At full time the scores were deadlocked at 0 - 0. Then in the first minute of injury time, Wigan's Ben Watson, who came on as a substitute, headed a cross from a corner kick into the back of the net. The crowd at Macca went wild.

Against all odds, Wigan had won the 2013 FA Cup. They say the game was similar to the 1988 final when Wimbledon overcame Liverpool.

Another interesting statistic out of the game - Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta became only the 3rd player in history of FA Cup finals to be sent off after receiving a second yellow card in the 84th minute. 

All that watched the game agreed that it had been one of the best soccer matches they had seen. 

Several expeditioners watching the FA Cup final projected onto a big screen in the mess
Watching the FA cup final - Macca style
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Several expeditioners watching the FA Cup final projected onto a big screen in the mess, with Tony (chef) standing in front of the screen, cheering
Tony was excited
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
View of several expeditioners watching the FA Cup final projected onto a big screen in the mess
The crowd were on the edge of their seats - well almost!
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)
Several expeditioners watching the FA Cup final projected onto a big screen in the mess
Engrossed in the game
(Photo: Barend (Barry) Becker)

Regards from Ranger Chris

Someone noticed that Chris, the ranger, hadn’t put an article in the station news. Many of us have been helping on some of the Parks projects, like track work and the new heritage project. An email sent to Chris’s work email address came back with an ‘out of office' reply that may help to explain what he’s up to.

G'day,

Sorry - one of the joys of working in such a remote and beautiful location is that the southern wall of my office is about 35 kms away. It can take a couple of days to get back to check emails. I'll certainly respond to your email once I'm back at my desk.

Kind regards,

Chris

 

Panoramic view from a Docotors track looking towards the northern part of the island with the ocean on both sides the sky is cloudy and grey and in the distance you can make out the station.
The view from Chrisís office window up on Doctors Ridge
(Photo: Chris Howard)
This page was last modified on 16 December 2010.