This week we meet the Casey pig during our fuel transfer and also get to know Luke our western Australian snow clearing officiado

Station update

Did you know we have a pig on station?

Casey station uses quite a lot of fuel, at each resupply the Aurora Australis pumps ashore close to 1 million litres of fuel to enable those of us on station to survive and work through the following year; keeping us lit up in the dark hours of winter, ensuring our multitude of machinery can continue operating, and most importantly guaranteeing we remain defrosted and warm in this very harsh environment.

But pumping that fuel ashore is not the last of the story: the main fuel storage facilities at Casey station are the two bulk storage fuel farms. The lower and upper fuel farms (not very original names) contain six and five 90 000 litre capacity tanks respectively. But what happens when the upper fuel farm (UFF) gets a bit low on fuel? Well, we do a transfer from the lower fuel farm (LFF)… and that’s not as simple or as quick as it sounds. In the pristine Antarctic environment it’s paramount that we don’t have a fuel spill. (We don’t want to be remembered in perpetuity for the wrong reason!)

So, this last week has been all about the fuel transfer. Fuel spill response training, familiarisation with the equipment, standard operating procedures reviewed and acknowledged, set up of fuel spill and transfer equipment, snow clearing, and rostering. All done before one millilitre of fuel is run through a transfer line.

And then on Tuesday, weather gods smiling on us (clear and calm but still −26C), the team of hardy expeditioners met in the dark hours of the morning and moved to their positions to start the pumping. Pressure testing of the line complete, fuel valves turned to on, pump started, the fuel slowly made its way through the near 1000m of pipe and line from the LFF to the UFF. A big sigh of relief was heard across Thala Valley as the first trickle of fuel was received in the UFF and then the team settled in for a long cold day of dipping the tanks and walking the lines ensuring not a drop of fuel escaped.

Approximately 17 hours later, over 350 000 litres had been transferred and it was time for the pig… our pig is inserted into the line (via a pig trap) and then pushed along the line with compressed air forcing ahead of it any excess fuel so the line is completely emptied before being disconnected and packed away. An ingenious little device.

Why called a pig… the term ‘pigging’ originated in the gas and oil industry, where metal discs connected by a rod were moved through the oil pipelines to remove build-up of paraffin wax on the internal wall of the pipe. The action of metal on metal made a squealing noise like a pig and the name stuck.

So, here’s to being warm for the next few months.

That’ll do pig, that’ll do… and thanks team.

By Rebecca (Casey SL).

5min with the 71st ANARE crew: Luke Hardy

Name: Luke Hardy


Nick Names:  Dr Boner (Army) and Water Boy (Commercial Diving)


From: Dunsborough WA (South West surfing capital)


Previous Seasons: None as of yet, but planning on doing a few more.


Job Title: Aerodrome Plant Operator (APO)


Describe your role in two sentences?

My role is to operate mobile plant such as dozers, loader, skid steers, and groomers at Wilkins Aerodrome during the summer and Casey station during the winter.


What did you do before you joined the AAD?

I’ve had a few in my time. I’ve been in the Army, commercial diver,had rock mining, oil and gas rigs in WA, and trainer assessor throughout the Pilbara and South West.


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

Would have to be moving the snow after a massive spew (of snow), nothing like playing in fresh powder.


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

That’s the million-dollar question; my dream job is not to work.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend 80% of my time sorting my new Landcruiser out but besides that I’m in the gym most days, cranking out banger tunes, spa, sauna, personal projects and trying to get off station when I can. There’s plenty to do, just have to think outside the box.


What song sums out your Casey experience so far?

Would definitely be the banger from 2016… High Tide — Bec Sandridge


What actor would play you in a film version of our 71st ANARE season here at Casey? RAMBO from Hot Shots.


What is your favorite hut for field trips and why?

I like Robbo’s hut, as it’s in a good location, amazing view (Browning is the best for views though) and the hut is very spacious, perfect for a night away with 4/5 others.


Favorite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?  

Haha, the socks.


What is your favorite book / movie and why?

Book — Everest, from the first attempt to today. Always had a dream to climb Everest so I enjoy reading the struggles, body hack and complications of the climbers.

Movie — Euro Trip. Who doesn’t love a good laugh?


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

80’s / 90’s Rock and pop, always stick to the best known bands and your safe, because really who doesn’t like rock.


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

Sight – The sunrise hitting the icebergs and glaciers.

Smell – Freshly cooked bacon on a Saturday brunch.

Sound – The laughter of people joking around and have fun.

Feeling – The after effects of too much homebrew.


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

Don’t be scared of change, you only have one life. If you stay in one place all your life you’ll have no stories to tell, so get off your backside, bite that bullet, and experience this amazing world through your own eyes.