This week at Casey, the Christmas tree is up, science is gearing up and we welcome a big red ship. We meet the team who keep the lights on and spend five minutes with Jason the diseo.

Station update

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at Casey that means decorations up in the red shed, lots of science projects ramping up and moving out into the field, and a big red ship entering harbour. So Christmas is once again going to be a little delayed here at Casey, but there is still lots of good cheer, smiling faces, and it will certainly be a white one!

As I write this the Aurora Australis has just sailed into harbour. There is much expectation as she brings within her cargo our personal effects (especially for the winterers, who will receive what is to last them until November next year), fresh fruit and vegies, lots of meat and cheese (things we’ve been missing) and even, hopefully, some presents from home. Not to mention of course all the really important things to keep the station ticking over for the next year– fuel, maintenance supplies, and project equipment.

It’s been a busy week at station once again, with interconnecting flights from Hobart meeting flights to and from Davis, Progress and Concordia. We really are an international airport. With a few delays, we had three very lovely Italian scientists with us for a few days longer than they expected (but we’re still waiting for the fresh pasta they promised to make), most connections worked and we said farewell before we even realised we had some of the people on station. The last flight from Hobart was the RAAF C-17A on Sunday, bring down to us two HeliRes helicopters to resource the science projects here over the summer.

Good weather has enabled the helicopters to be up and running very quickly and we were lucky enough to undertake a station operating area familiarisation flight yesterday. This was combined with the delivery to Haupt Nunatuk of Sean R, our meteorology tech, to undertake repairs of the automatic weather station and members of the King project to collect rock samples. The King team also got out to Holl and Niles Islands to collect more rocks, so making great strides into their project with a first flurry of activity.

The Totten Ice Dynamics and Evolution (TIDE) project has been out undertaking field site assessment, tracking down the towers erected last summer, and are now preparing to deploy to the glacier. The Jolley team are patiently waiting for the sea ice to clear from the wharf before they can get out on the water to start their testing in earnest, and the ICECAP team are ready and waiting for the JKB Basler aircraft to arrive tomorrow so they can set it up and get flying.

All very exciting and busy (especially when you throw in a ship resupply to contend with.)

So, must get back to the big red ship in the harbour.

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas to all from the whole Casey team.

by Rebecca Jeffcoat (station leader).

The Casey Sparkies — keeping the lights on

The electrical team at Casey is made up of a diverse group of people and skills who have been entrusted to keep the lights on.

The new team arrived to a flurry of handovers and familiarisations with the outgoing wintering team.

A big thank you to ‘hard working’ Zac Alderman, who has stayed on from his winter season to help the new guys. Much appreciated.

The focus over the summer season is to complete and progress on project work and complete minor and major maintenance work. This will provide Casey with a greater capacity to house and feed more people and a trouble free winter season.

Projects team (Scott and Pete) have finished off works in east wing to allow occupation of this vital extra accommodation. Further work on the new sewerage treatment plant in the Casey utility building (CUB) is progressing. Also a UPS power switchboard replacement in the comms area. All done with a mixture of small urgent jobs thrown in, many with the scientists working in the remediation team.

Maintenance team (Zac A, Zach L, Shane Mac, Ben C, Wayne D) started the season with some major and minor faults to repair, including the main power house (MPH) generator swap out, red shed sewerage pump swap out and a variety of other repairs. The usual monthly maintenance lists are completed which also identify some minor repairs.

Emergency and exit light replacements, and science incubator fridges have been the flavours of the month.

We have had a busy intro to Casey and with resupply by Aurora Australis about to start, things are going to get busier.

Outside of work hours, things heat up with ‘team spark’ fighting gravity at the gym, relaxing with fierce chess and dart battles, home brew sampling and complimenting the chefs on the desserts. Sports is a hot topic with constant updates of the cricket score (making sure the English tradies are within hearing distance). Beard growth is another talking point, with some of the lesser-gorilla-resembling sparkies staying quieter than usual.

Some of the sparky team like to get all sweaty in the sauna, much to the bemusement of the non-believers.

All of this work and more done with the best views and people in world. Spectacular!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

5 minutes with the 71st ANARE: Jason Cagnola

Name: Jason Cagnola

From: Dimbulah QLD

Previous seasons? Nil

Job title: Dieso

Describe your role in two sentences:

Looking after Glenn the Plant Operator

What did you do before your joined the AAD?

Coal mining and farming

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

How different it is compared to working in a 50 degree coal mine!

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

KFC chicken taster or head brewer at XXXX

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south?


What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spin yarns at the bar

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?

VengaBus by the Vengaboys

What actor would play you in a film version of our 71st ANARE season here at Casey?

Tom Cruise in Cocktail or a dinosaur in Jurassic Park

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

Spotters sunnies

What is your favourite book and movie and why?

Book: ‘Complete Guide To Antarctic Trees’ by C Tow. 

Movie: Super Troopers

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

Country and western or rock

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

Sight: Walking outside without sunnies

Smell: Apple fresh head and shoulders shampoo

Sound: Horse grinding flat out (SL comment: Horse is our boiler maker/welder)

Feeling: Good 

Taste: Berocca