This week at Casey we take a jolly on the sea-ice, commiserate over the Bledisloe, say a teary farewell to the Wilkins crew as they head back up the hill, and meet Catz our Doc (and film maker extraordinaire)

Station Update

This week the gorgeous weather continued for us into Saturday before an abrupt change with a 24 hour blizzard over Sunday. So with that, a planned weekend away was amended to a day trip on the quad bikes out onto the sea-ice and around the Mitchell Peninsula. Despite the cold temperatures, a fantastic afternoon was had (as evidenced by the spectacular photos) with beautiful smooth sea-ice, blue skies, magnificent ice cliffs, and evidence of Weddell seals with air holes through the tide gaps… but no actual sightings.

Saturday night saw most of the team sitting down to a delicious slushy cooked dinner of Chili-con-carne while watching the first Bledisloe Cup match. The rivalry is well and truly alive on station with two perhaps three (depending on how they feel on the day) New Zealanders on station. Let’s just say that Allan, our most vocal All Blacks supporter, was very happy with the results and used his position as our flag officer to celebrate on Sunday (luckily the blizzard meant the offending flags had to be taken down quite promptly!). Now we all hope for the Wallabies to restore our national glory this Saturday…

And so, the time has come, the Casey family has broken up.

In a precursor to most of us departing in two months’ time, twenty-six are now twenty-two. Misty, Sam, Luke and Greg, the Wilkins team, have departed station and returned up the hill (70km away, or a 3hr drive) to start building Wilkins Aerodrome. Our comfortable little existence around station has been disturbed. No longer will we look out of the red shed windows of a morning and see them industriously clearing snow or easily manipulating shipping containers into position, the workshop will no longer be subjected to Sam’s country music (although we will play “Red Solo Cup” in his memory), the sound of Luke or Greg’s guitar music will no longer drift from the bar, Greg’s mop of hair won’t be seen over the back of the lounge seats on a weekend as he sits watching the footy, Misty’s skill with a fancy dress outfit and her plates piled high with only meat will be remembered with fondness, and Luke’s outrageously entertaining stories will missed. The seats at either end of the family dining table will stand empty waiting for their return.

We shall still see the Wilkins team occasionally, when they visit station to rest up, resupply, and use the internet. But like children leaving for university or heading to the big city for their first job, they’ll return for short visits but never for good, it’s the beginning of the end.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Rebecca (Casey SL)

5 min with the 71st ANARE crew: Catherine Oermann

Name: Catherine Oermann


Nicknames: Catz/Doc


From: Gawler, South Australia

Previous seasons? Nil — first season and hopefully not the last.

Job title: Antarctic Medical Practitioner

Describe your role in a couple of sentences: Running a small medical facility and trying to provide as little medical assistance as possible by educating fellow expeditioners about the hazards of Antarctica and teaching them how to manage the injured as first responders. However, if that fails, I then get my hands dirty and fix them up. There is also a little bit of cleaning, maintaining first aid kits and a lot of stocktake.


What did you do before your joined the AAD? Worked as a Rural GP in South Australia — more recently Kapunda and Eudunda, and prior to that in Berri.


What are your favourite parts of your job here at Casey? Providing medical training sessions for the station and my LSAs (Lay Surgical Assistants). Love any opportunity to get outside and explore. On the rare occasions that I am in my office — the view of the icebergs from my window (after the shipping containers were removed) never gets old.


If you were not a Doctor what would be your dream job? I am honestly doing my dream job. I love what I do and love the experiences that it can bring and the people I meet.


What do you like to do in your spare time? It is jam packed with playing board games, watching movies or TV series (still a bit devastated that our weekly Game of Thrones viewing ended last week), playing pool or darts (shout out to my Coach Scotty B for his recent technique tips), chatting, filming and editing videos, attempting to knit and heading out for day/overnight trips off station.


What song sums up your Casey experience so far? I don’t typically listen to the lyrics of songs, instead I enjoy songs that make me feel happy and content. So with that in mind…“Beautiful world” — Colin Hay


What is your favourite hut for field trips and why? Wilkes — it is spacious, beautiful and historic, and depending on who is on the trip with you — freezing, really hot or just right.


Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit? My winter down jacket, my thermals, both layers of polar fleece, my neck warmer and beanie, socks and gloves and googles. It gets really cold!


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

Book — The Obernewtyn Series by Isobelle Carmody — Due to a big gap between the release of the 4th and 5th books, I has taken me over 20 years to read them all, but still enjoy them today as much as I did the day I first started reading them.

Movie — No particular favourite, but enjoy — Sound of Music, Persuasion, Far from the Madding Crowd


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

A sight — The spectacular view of sun shining on the icebergs in Newcomb Bay, especially after a blizz.

A smell — Freshly cooked bread by Dom

A sound — Competing singing voices of the Projects Team in the Red Shed

A feeling — Being 100% content with where I am

A taste — Dom’s cooking (will be a sad day when I have to fend for myself again)


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

“Try to be like the turtle — at ease in your own shell” — Bill Copeland