Station leader changeover and field hut maintenance

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This week at Mawson: 6 April 2012
Well we are finally starting to settle in to Mawson which is now without a doubt our home for the next 12 months. The last voyage is on its way back to Hobart taking the Davis and Casey summerers home after they have hopefully had a great season and completed their assigned tasks.

A bit of excitement for the weekend was the arrival of two Squirrel helicopters, one carrying Bob Jones our incoming Station Leader.  No doubt the outgoing Station Leader Mark (Fearless) is looking forward to some Queensland sunshine and a few avocados on his return.

During my short time at Mawson it’s been really busy with the re-supply, a successful refuelling of the station, some uphill learning and familiarising ourselves with our new surroundings.

Some of the team have been focused this week on a project to install a new building to house equipment for ARPANSA (unfortunately another acronym referring to Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency).  We’ve relied on the good weather windows and have been using the crane to lift and transfer 4 containers onto their concrete footings, then welding and sorting the internal components of each container.  I’ve noticed many of the new buildings around Mawson are of similar construction, the containers being insulated internally and then clad with colour bond outside.

I was fortunate to be part of a field trip to stabilise and level Rumdoodle Hut after the constant battering by wind over the last few years had moved it considerably off its footings.

On arrival in the Hagglunds, Chris and I immediately set to work leveling the hut with a normally uncooperative hydraulic jack, which almost without fail decides not to operate in the cold, but fortunately it hung in this time. The next task was to replace the bent ‘acroprops’ supporting the verandahs.  We used a special ‘Antarctic level’ (a glass on the table inside the hut) to make sure it was pretty close to perfect. The Hagglunds and a winch were used to secure wire ropes to large boulders and then we tensioned the ropes with turnbuckles.  Hopefully our fellow expeditioners don’t have to repeat the restoration in the near future and they can just sit on the deck and enjoy the view.

Cheers, Scando

(Wayne Scandrett)

The green field hut stabilised and levelled with refitted guy wires and props.
Rumdoodle hut stabilised and levelled
(Photo: Wayne Scandrett)
AS350 squirrel helicopters landing on Mawson landing pads
Helicopters landing to drop off the new station leader
(Photo: Wayne Scandrett)
Outgoing Station Leader Mark Williams preparing to leave as pilot refuels helicopter in background.
Outgoing Station Leader Mark Williams preparing to leave
(Photo: Wayne Scandrett)
Field hut before maintenance showing broken guys and bent acroprops
Rumdoodle hut prior to maintenance work
(Photo: Pete Hargreaves)
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