Find out the real reason why expeditioners like to go to Jacks Donga! We talk about all things weather for April and what’s ahead, and we get to know chef Andrew.

Station update

We have kicked off May with small victories all week on the work and social front here at Casey.

We wrapped up last week with an end of month get together, hosted by the plumbers. Such challenges as apple bobbing and watching videos of sewers exploding ensued. Thanks team plumbing!

The infrastructure team has had a successful week this week, with Adam and Zac forging ahead with commissioning works on the balloon building upgrade. Brendan, Chris and Simo are making great progress down in the wastewater treatment building erecting walls and HVAC hangers.

The mechanical team is making great progress working their way through the servicing, maintenance and winterisation of much of the Wilkins Aerodrome plant and equipment in readiness for next season.

The Casey walking club transformed into the ‘Casey Walking Bus’ this week. In blizzard conditions all essential travel around station is undertaken in pairs, and so work groups moved around station, picking up and dropping off expeditioners from building to building along the way, rather like a walk to school walking bus.

These latest winds however have blown out much of our sea ice for the second time. The view to Newcomb Bay from station is once again of open water.

Saturday night on station was celebrated with a Persian food night. The mess was transformed with a tent constructed in the mess, filled with cushions and rugs and coffee tables. A delicious feast was enjoyed by all, along with some impromptu belly dancing from a certain shy BoM observer — costume and all.

Station gremlins have kept us on our toes this week testing us with alarms. We were rudely awoken at 4 am on Tuesday during a 60 kt blizzard, with what turned out to be a system fault triggering the fire alarm in one of our buildings. The lesson there — some people wake up better than others, and most people need coffee to wake up! The next morning we were all called to muster again for a SAR alarm at around 8:30am in response to an emergency radio transmission, which turned out to be a malfunctioning vehicle radio. On the upside, our emergency response teams and station response overall is functioning very effectively. Despite all of the training that we do, there is nothing like real time alarm musters for testing our responses.

On the fitness front, Mat organised a beep test on Wednesday night in the green store. Most of station participated, many with very impressive results. Now that we have a baseline for our fitness levels, most people are keen to repeat the exercise in a month.

Until next week…

Jacque Comery, Station Leader

The REAL reason why we go to Jacks Donga

Like most you out there I thought I knew the reason to go to Jacks Donga; to use the toilet! But after my recent trip I now know the truth. The truth is really out there!

I was relaxing at Splinters hoping to organise my first jolly of the winter. After chatting to a few people, an adventurous crew of Simo, Mick, Mark and Linc was quickly established and the destination of Jacks Donga was chosen to host said gathering. Jacks is famous for its toilet, it’s made from the cab from a 1956 Caterpillar Model 955 Traxcavator. The view from Jacks loo is truly spectacular!

With the crew set, hut booked, Hägglunds primed, food packed, beverages readied and cheeses purloined, we headed off. Once at the hut it was disheartening to see the recent blizzards had filled the loo with snow! This meant it would have to be absolutely necessary to use the loo to warrant the effort of digging it out, so it wasn’t going to happen that day, maybe the next morning.

Once in the hut, vents were opened, heater turned on, cheese platter prepared, drinks readied and music rockin’. After one too many ‘dad jokes’ from Simo, I snapped and went looking for alternative methods of amusement; this meant finding the hut literature. My greatest hopes were realised when I found a 2003 FHM, score.

But that was when I saw it, hiding on the top shelf, so simple, so unassuming, so beautiful. It was like finding the last Cherry Ripe hiding at the bottom of the chocolate box! With exquisite care and attentiveness I slowly removed it from the shelf and showed my find to the crew. Slack jawed with awe my compatriots just stared.

Eventually, ‘Is that what I think it is?'

'Yes. Yes it is'

Then before I could say any more Mick snatched the precious piece of perfection out of my hand and started using it, gratuitously, in front of the entire group.

It is at this point that I must enforce the rule that ‘What happens at Jacks stays at Jacks'!

But I will say Mark spent most of the night getting acquainted with the magical properties and sensational sensations the object produced! But seeing Simo use it in bed is a sight I won’t easily forget!


Casey April weather summary

The month that was:


The April monthly maximum average was −6.3°C, which is a little warmer than the long term average of −7.6°C. The hottest day for the month was the 19th of April at −0.6°C.

The April monthly minimum average was −13.0°C, which is again, a little warmer than the long term average of −14.7°C. The coldest day for the month was 26th of April at −19.8°C.

Rainfall / snowmelt

The April monthly precipitation (snowmelt) total was 28.4mm, which is up on the monthly average precipitation of 20.6mm. There were 9 precipitation days (average 9) and the highest daily total of 13.6mm was on the 1st of April.

Sunshine hours

The total sunshine (direct sunlight where the sun is not obscured by cloud) for the month was 57.0 hours with the daily average of 1.9 hours, which is 0.2 hours below the long term average of 2.1.

Wind and phenomena

The maximum wind gust for April was 154km/hr or 83 knots from the ENE on the 8th, the monthly record is 223 km/hr (120 kts) from the E on the 6th of April 1991.

The average daily wind run above 3m (that is how far a parcel of air would have travelled in 1 day), was 692 kms. The long term monthly average is 633 kms.

The total wind run for the month was 20,759 kms, the highest daily total was 2433 kms on the 9th and the lowest daily total was on the 5th with 219kms.

April had 16 strong wind days (average 15), 14 gale force wind days (average 10), 20 snow days (average 16), 6 blizzard days (average 4) and 9 blowing snow days.

The month to come:

As we move into the dark of winter, we should see things start to get even cooler, with the average daily maximum temperature for May being −11.1°C and the average daily minimum being a chilly −18.5°C.

Surprisingly May is historically not as windy as April, with less strong wind and gale force days on average. May generally sees more snow than April with an average monthly precipitation total of 25.6mm.

As expected we will see the hours of direct sunlight diminish quickly in May with the average daily sunshine hours of 0.7. 

Ashleigh Wilson, BoM Observer

5 minutes with the Casey 70th ANARE crew — Andrew

Name: Andrew Donald

Nicknames: Bongo

From: South Australia

Previous seasons? Davis 2005/6 summer

Job title: Winter chef

Describe your role in two sentences:

The chef on station works hard to make everyone feel good.

In an ever changing and challenging environment good food and a smile go a long way.

What did you do before your joined the AAD?

Worked as relief chef in South Australia, saving one kitchen at a time.

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

Bringing joy to people with sausage rolls

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


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

Things have moved on greatly in ten years, better equipment and better systems.

Casey in the summer is busy, very dynamic, lots of things are very similar though the wonderful environment and peoples passion for it.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to create interesting and useful things, using lots of different mediums, mostly leather work, love diving in the ocean, cooking using great produce and getting out in nature.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?

Spirit of the saints by Paul Simon.

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

George Clooney

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why?

Wilkes Hilton — being a chef it’s all about the fire

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

Thermals, why didn’t I think of thermals in the winter before?

What is your favourite book / movie (or both) and why?

Papillon about a man who never gave up, saw the good in all and loved adventure.

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

I like relaxed groovy tunes, but also do like plenty of rock and roll yeah!

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

Sight — Seeing the white again.

Smell — my sour dough.

Sound — My voice in the Casey band.

A feeling — Intense cold fingertips.

A taste — Hot chilli from hydroponics.

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

Laughter is the best medicine.

My Casey in pictures: Rick Plowright