As people start to head home, Casey station showcases a summer of birthday cakes. We get an update on all the mast work at Davis and Casey, and meet Sean the plant operator.

Station update

Another week of farewells. It seems to be all we're doing in this part of the season. On Wednesday, the first group of our Summer ‘tradies’ departed on the A319 Airbus from Wilkins Aerodrome, and also with them went the last of our science teams. It’s sad to see those depart whom we've shared such a great four months. We send them on their way with our best wishes and with friendships forged through a great experience here at Casey which we will not soon forget.

In turn, with the end of summer nigh, we are happy to see some dark return to our skies. Night has come again (if only, at present, for a few short hours). And dark skies bring a chance to see some spectacular sunsets and sunrises and, even more exciting, the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights (when the cloud ever decides to clear). Brett’s photo is of the first Aurora seen this year, and Jordan manage to capture a beautiful sunset when out a Jack’s Hut over the weekend.

With one book closing on our summer, another opens as we look towards winter and plan for what lies ahead for the next eight months.

By Rebecca (Station Leader).


The summer of skyline renovations

It’s been a gratifying summer for us as we have been cleaning up the redundant masts at Casey and Davis Stations as well as making some unscheduled repairs and doing some maintenance.

We started the season at Casey station then spent six weeks at Davis station over Christmas and completed an audit of all communication, Bureau of Meteorology and science antenna support structures.

We repaired and improved two of the field hut repeater antennas, with a threefold increase in coverage achieved at Browning’s Hut for Channel 20. This was an overnight trip, with a stunning day to do the antenna works but a slow trip back to base running on GPS for most of it due to whiteout conditions. But that is Antarctic weather for you!

After five weeks at Casey we flew over to Davis in the Basler JKB, which was fun as it’s not often we can fly in something older than us. The Davis ice runway was still open so we saw Whoop Whoop skiway on the way past but landed on the ice near station.

At Davis, we did an audit and then got into the main task of removing seven old masts. The stark change to the skyline was a great improvement, particularly from the helicopter pilots point of view as these were all in flight paths. All the mast sections and guys were bundled up and slung out to station for return to Australia.

We did some more repairs to the mast and wind generator at Tarbuc Crag which is a gnarly little hill with the radio repeater on top that covers all the Vestfold Hills with a panoramic view to match.

We managed to complete some maintenance on the HF antennas on station before it was back to Casey via Wilkins on a US Hercules C-130.

Back at Casey, it was all go to get rid of another six masts and clean up all the cabling and mast sections in the remaining three weeks. Again, a helicopter was used to lift out the masts back to station as a recent blizzard made it impossible to get any machinery in to the Tx Farm area. We were lucky to get these lifts into the schedule as the helicopters flew back to Hobart the next day. One of the masts was in an Antarctic Special Protected Area (ASPA) so it was good to reduce our footprint in an area designated to protect several species of lichen.

We squeezed in a few more maintenance tasks like changing out the anemometer, which is a surprisingly important little machine on stations as it is the basis of many safety decisions.

It has been a successful season in which we halved the number of masts at Casey and removed 2/3rds of them at Davis and had a good time doing it.

It’s time to head home as the days are getting shorter, the nights getting darker with stars visible again and all the ski-planes have migrated back to North America already.

We will be on the second last flight A319 for the season, and don’t want to miss that, though a winter would be a great experience…

By Ron Bernardin and Paul Craig. 

The Casey cake boss(es)

A fabulous tradition at the Australian Antarctic stations is the birthday cake; made with amazing skill and much love by the fabulous chefs on station.

Being so far away from family and friends on a birthday can be difficult, but it’s made a little easier when the birthday is celebrated in such a special way — the presentation of a beautiful cake to a resounding chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ at the end of dinner.

Our talented chefs this summer have excelled themselves on every occasion, making a huge effort to ensure the cake is both delicious and the design perfectly fits the person. It’s only fitting that we recognise the skill we've been lucky enough to experience over summer with the photo collection of some of our favourite cakes…

By Jordan, Arvid and Dom.

5 min with the 71st ANARE: Sean Ewington

Name: Sean Ewington

From: Perth

Previous seasons? Nil

Job title: Plant Op

Describe your role in two sentences: Operate plant around station as needed.

What did you do before your joined the AAD? Operate plant on cattle stations in NT.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey? All the good people.

If you were not a Plant Operator what would be your dream job?Too many to list.

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

What do you like to do in your spare time? Sleep, no spare time always doing some thing.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far? Nil.

What actor would play you in a film version of our 71st ANARE season here at Casey? Me, as am great actor myself.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit? Sunglasses.

What is your favourite book and movie and why? Don’t have one.

What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? Do you have a particular favourite? Can’t work computer so whatever’s on.

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

Sight: white snow

Smell: chef’s cooking

Sound: good times

Feeling: being cold 

Taste: chef’s food 

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