Anzac spirit alive in Antarctica

Casey Anzac Day service
Expeditioners at Casey research station hold a service for Anzac Day (Photo: Stuart Shaw)

25th April 2017

As the sun rose across Antarctica, Australian expeditioners braved below freezing temperatures to hold a dawn service to commemorate Anzac Day.

Services were held at each of Australia’s Antarctic research stations, Casey, Davis and Mawson and on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.

Casey research station expeditioner Clint Chilcott, said Anzac Day is a chance for the station community to reflect on the sacrifices of the men and women of the Australian Defence Force.

Mr Chilcott, who was in the Australian Army for 18 years, led the service at Casey which was attended by the 22 expeditioners living at the station this winter.

“With the wind chill, it was a brisk −28°C temperature at Casey this morning, as the expeditioners gathered around the flagpole for our dawn service,” Mr Chilcott said.

“We lowered the Australian flag, listened to several readings and held the traditional two minutes of silence.

“Personally, Anzac Day offers an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of those who served before me, to remember the people I served with and to be thankful for the soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen who are still serving today.

“It is because of the commitment of our service men and women that Australians have the many opportunities we do, including the ability to live and work in a place like Antarctica.”

The service at Casey station was followed by brunch, games of two-up and an eight ball competition.

Dr Rob Wooding, the Division’s General Manager of Support and Operations, said the Australian Antarctic Program has a long association with the Australian Defence Force.

“Since it was founded in 1947, the Australian Antarctic Program has enjoyed a close relationship with the Australian Defence Force,” Dr Wooding said.

“Anzac Day offers us an opportunity to acknowledge this contribution and for our expeditioners to pause and reflect in their own way.

[Video]

Anzac Day at Casey research station

Video transcript

I spent 18 years in the military. I was in the Australian Army as a communications technician, and I was operationally deployed on a number of occasions. The most significant of those were to East Timor and to Iraq. 

For me, Anzac Day is a chance to reflect on the sacrifices made by all of those people that served before me, to remember the people that I served with, and to be thankful for the soldiers, sailors and airmen who are still serving today.

This year at Casey, we'll be marking Anzac Day with a gunfire breakfast followed up by a dawn service, and then after that, hopefully a couple of games of two-up. For me, it's a special occasion to recognise; to come together as a station community, and to take a step back from our everyday lives to appreciate the sacrifices that have gone into making Australia the country that it is today, and providing us with the opportunities that we have such as working here in Antarctica. 

[end transcript]