The strongest blizzard this season hits the Casey, station doctor Elise celebrates her birthday with a ‘brain’ cake, we make darts look easy and get to know Steve ‘Muscles’ Middleton.

Station update

The week at Casey has been dominated by two things, blizzards and darts. But first…

Doc Elise celebrated her birthday on Saturday, with possibly the most impressive cake of the season prepared by Chef Andrew. Station nearly starved to death waiting for Elise to cut the cake, with utmost, and actual, surgical precision.

Station was slammed on Sunday night with the strongest blizzard of the season so far. Sustained winds above the high 90 knots and low 100 knots prevailed from midnight until the 5 am, with our maximum gust speed not dropping below 100 knots between midnight and 7:30am. The maximum wind speed recorded was 115 knots. We stayed on travel condition black, with no outside travel permitted all night, leaving Zac, Watto and Rick to closely monitor the building control systems from the Red Shed, as alarms were tripped in buildings throughout the night.

By midday winds dropped enough for us to survey station and take stock of the damage. Our ANARESAT dome sustained panel damage, and doors and machinery panels here and there were blown off. We have taken advantage of the milder weather this week to finish off repairs, ready for the next blow.

A force of nature of a different kind blew into town on Monday evening in the form of the Casey darts team. Much like our ANARESAT the Davis squad was decimated by the dominating power of Team Casey with Scottish and Mark taking the first game 418–0. Jimbo got his swagger on and together with Sealy wearing a game face like no other, game two also went to Casey with a score of 258 to 192. Game three, well you guessed it, went to Casey with the unstoppable boy band teaming of Stu and Linc winning 363 to 139. 

Having given our C, D and E teams a run we are looking forward to seeing what our A and B team can do against Macquarie Island this weekend.

Jacque Comery SL


5 minutes with the Casey 70th ANARE crew: Steve ‘Muscles’ Middleton

This week we meet Steve ‘Muscles’ Middleton author of the acclaimed written series ‘Between the Bergs with Steve Middleton'.

If anyone on station this winter can tell a story, it is this man. 

Name: Steve Middleton

Nicknames: Muscles, muss

From: Singleton NSW

Previous seasons? None

Job title: Expedition Mechanic

Describe your role in two sentences:

Essentially what we do is maintain everything on station that runs on some kind of fuel – from chainsaws and ice drills to D7 dozers and CASE quad track tractors and of course the stationary engines that power our generators in the powerhouse.

Expedition mechanics also get to go on traverses and other ‘off station’ trips where we take care of the machinery that has gone on the trip, and carry out any necessary repairs should they break down.

What did you do before your joined the AAD?

I was a plant mechanic at Anglo American’s Drayton mine in the NSW Hunter Valley.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey?

I’d say my favourite thing would be the variety of work we are faced with. We have to do what ever work we need done and when it comes to specialist work we can’t just get contractors in to do it, or buy a new part. Sometimes we have to repair what we have, or simply fabricate new parts, if we have to do welding, machining, auto electrical, tyres, we do it all which is pretty cool and sometimes pretty daunting.

If you were not a dieso, what would be your dream job?

Machine operator, those guys have got it good…

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Watch movies in the station cinema, hook up my PlayStation in the station cinema and play that with my mate Clint and play pool.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?

Bobby McFerrin ‘Don’t worry be happy’ sums up my season, but ‘Chicken fried’ is defiantly the song of the season…

What actor would play you in a film version of our 70th ANARE season here at Casey?

There have been some intense moments here over the course of the season, such as the incident when someone sat in Zac’s seat and without a fuss he had to move to a different seat… I’d say, for those moments at least, my actor would be a toss up between Mark Wahlberg and the guy who plays iron man.

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why?

Wilkes Hilton — its close, its an actual building, it’s in an abandoned station, its got a wood fire, it smells awesome (cos of the fire), and it really does feel like a mountain hut that you would expect to find in a foreign country on a ski slope way out in the middle of nowhere.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

Carhartt jacket and micro spikes.

What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? Do you have a particular favourite?


Describe your Casey experience with: a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling and a taste.

Sight — moonlight illuminating the ice on the land on the other side of Newcomb Bay at night, it shines and looks unreal.

Smell — fresh bread from Bongo’s kitchen.

Sound — I've heard two ‘glacial shears’ or ‘calving events’ now which is when huge chunks of ice break off the end of glaciers. They are impressive and sound just like thunder but it goes on constantly for 5 seconds or so (depending on the size, some go for minutes, others seconds).

Feeling — cold, but the kind of cold where you feel the skin on your face tighten as if you’re standing too close to a fire…

Taste — chocolate

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with?

'You might not believe this, but the sticky date was stuck to the plate’ Clint Chilcot, this morning at smoko.

My Casey in pictures: Mick Russell