This week at Casey we contemplate herding penguins and the windy season, Nick gives an update on the Red Shed project’s progress and we meet Shane ‘the’ Mann our SMS, Carlton’s number one fan and purveyor of dad jokes.

Station update

With the unexpected and very exciting visit of the emperor penguin and review of instructions to re-establish the Wilkins Aerodrome occurring concurrently; the question on everyone’s mind, of course, is ‘how do you herd a penguin?'

Perhaps not something required in any location other than Antarctica, but a good question in any case. And, not surprisingly at all, something that has actually been considered and for which operating instructions have been written. Penguins on a runway, with an incoming plane, are not a good thing. So, our boy scout (always prepared) Aviation team have of course thought ahead and determined the best way to evacuate said penguins safely and efficiently.

In accordance with the instructions (below); it seems the key is to approach slowly and steadily making loud sounds, head them in the direction of the shortest route in which to clear the runway, and avoid causing penguin panic. We do not want a tobogganing penguin! All makes sense. Right?

The things you learn when in Antarctica…

In other news, it seems we’re in the windy season here at Casey. The Bureau of Meteorology records maximum wind gust observations and for 13 July we had 176km/hr (95kts) winds gusts and the following weekend, 20 and 22 July, 172km/hr (93kts) gusts.

What does this mean?

Well, for the last two weekends in a row we’ve had blizzards from Friday afternoon through to Monday morning. Very convenient for those wanting maximum work done on station, but not very convenient for those who might want to get off station to undertake recreation trips to field huts. We’re surviving the enforced weekend ‘lock-in’ through exercise, movies, practicing darts in preparation for the annual inter-station darts competition, working on hobbies, planning overseas holidays and looking for work for when we return to civilization in three months’ time.

We now have very little sea ice left around station, with even the wharf clear of ice (if only it was resupply now!). Any small weakness on a building or on machinery is worked away at by the sustained winds so the blizz enters the building or the weak part is torn away (see pic of ANARESAT dome, quickly fixed as soon as the winds dropped, and pic of loader panels found 100s of meters from the loader). The winds also blow away any loose snow that may be lying around, so all surfaces have been ‘snow-blasted’ to become sheet ice making for a precarious walk around station.

Luckily though, the station infrastructure is made to withstand these extreme weather conditions and we make it through relatively unscathed; especially noting that if in the tropics each event would have been classified as a severe tropical cyclone.

As I write this update, we have storm force winds once again, this time just a weak (in comparison) 56kts and not officially a blizzard — for that we also need reduced visibility from falling or blowing snow, and there’s no loose snow left on station!

But if we’re locked in for a third weekend in the row, there may be mutiny. So let’s hope, for the sanity of the station (and my health), that it’s over by Friday evening.

Fingers crossed.

Rebecca (Casey SL) 

The Red Shed report

It was very pleasing to have hit the intended mark in our refurbishment that facilitated a new Midwinters dining location.

Works progressed sufficiently to allow the Casey Winter Team to celebrate Midwinters in the New Bar playing out the chess/pool/darts competition, and dining in the marvellous setting which is the new ‘look-out’ lounge…Consequently, the empty Mess became the setting for an indoor hockey game.

Monday, 16 July loomed as the start to a big week of work that saw the deletion of the ground floor toilets and old bar area. Scott Clifford directed this work, with assistance from the maintenance team, Wilkins boys and others. Work on the replacement amenities are now well underway.

Simultaneously, first floor works continue, with changing shapes to rooms, to electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning systems.

This makes for a fairly congested living space, with pathways identified through and between materials and building activities.

Thankfully, community assistance and understanding is still forthcoming, and everyone is still turning up to mealtimes so it appears we haven’t yet lost anybody in amongst it.

Cheers, Nick Cartwright, BSS Redshed Project

5 min with the 71st ANARE crew: Shane Mann

Name: Shane Mann

Nicknames: Here at Casey…

  • The Mann

  • Old Mann

  • And many others that are not suited for this publication

From:  I live in Broken Hill NSW.  Originally from Victoria (I grew up in the SE of Melbourne) a proud Victorian especially against the South Aussies. A New South Welshmen when playing QLD.

Previous seasons?  I’m a newbie, this is my first season.

Job title: SMS — Station Mechanical Supervisor 

Describe your role in two sentences: They break em', we fix em'. 

We (Team Dieso) are the beating heart of the station that’s why everyone wants to be a dieso (Refer to Icy News 13 April). Leading a team of young diesos in the repair and maintenance of a fleet of mobile and fixed plant assets here at Casey. 

What did you do before your joined the AAD?

Backpacker and World Explorer.Field Service Mechanic with a local Civil/Mining Company in Broken Hill. I was with a Caterpillar dealer for 23 years prior to that travelling various mine sites around South Australia and Western NSW.

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

Working with the very skilful and young team of diesos with the ‘everything can be fixed’ attitude. Even a young ‘old dog’ like myself (21 + some more) has been taught a few new tricks from the lads.

Taking the mickey out of all the other tradies and the others who think their job is more important than ours! 

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

Travel/tour guide. I play the part in Broken Hill whenever I have visitors, or a lead singer with Bon Jovi, I reckon I’d give ol’ mate Jon Bon Jovi a run for his money!

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

This is my first season. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I lend a hand with the guys in the Hydroponics. I haven’t killed any plants to date, my son Harlen does not believe me and thinks it’s a miracle. 

Keeping a bit of fitness up with a few others with yoga on a Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday mornings.

Taking the mickey out of all the other tradies and the others who think their job is more 'importanter' than ours. 

Catching a few games of footy (AFL and NRL) over the weekend. Although I have been banned by the Station Leader (and fellow Blues Tragic) from watching the not so mighty Blues play as we always lose when I watch. I missed the only win so far this season against the Bombers.

Walking to the Wharf or Reeves (weather dependent).

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?

Simply the Best by Tina Turner (Team Dieso theme song)

Most People I Know (Think that I’m Crazy) — Billy Thorpe (that’s for coming down to Antarctica and not to mention the midwinter swim).

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

Tom Cruise, Gerard Butler, Ryan Reynolds would be a few to match my good looks. But I think Hugo Weaving, a great Aussie actor would be ‘The Mann’ in the making.

What is your favourite hut for field trips and why?

We have had a few trips over to Wilkes, I love walking around the old station and depending on the weather and winds each time there is something different (old machines, tools. food tins etc) that is exposed from the snow and ice. There is a lot of history there.

The Hut (Wilkes Hilton) also has the wood fire oven for Pizza and has that camping out feeling. 

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

Definitely the thermals, they keep the important bits warm.

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

I’m not a big book reader, although The Hunger Game series was a good read.

There is an enormous collection of movies old and new here at Casey. We have movie nights at the Odeon with some latest movie shared by fellow expeditioners, Miss Jane’s (BoM) very extended versions of the Lord of The Rings series are up there.

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

  • One of my slushy partners from Summer Matty McKay’s (Summer Comms Operator) slushy mix of 70’s 80s and 90’s hits were hard to beat.

  • I have a mix of 80’s and 90’s to sing with whilst doing the mountain of dishes. Everyone loves my voice as I hear cheering going on at smoko/lunch and in the workshop etc. Or at least it sounded like cheering.

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

Sight — Newcomb Bay

  • Every morning I walk out of/to the Red Shed.

  • The sun that rises and sets over the bay are always awesome to see.

  • The Sea Ice that is there one day and gone the next after a “Blizz”.

  • The sight of seals you can see from a distance on the Bay sea ice.


  • Chef Dom’s curries

  • The familiar smell of the hydro plants


  • Walking around Station or to the Wharf/Reeves on a still day where the lack of sound/noise” really sticks out except for the humming of the power house generators in the distance.


  • The Midwinter Swim — no words to describe the feeling except for one or two that is not suited for this publication. 


  • 2 Dogs various Home Brews — His special brew tasting night was a hit with the Ruby Porter Ale up there as a favourite.

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

  • Go hard or go home, since you can’t go home you might as well go hard (Me at the daily dieso pre-start meetings)

  • Good Job!