This week at Casey, October has hit and the end is nigh. We examine bird cameras, Fray Bentos, Casey fashions and get a (very) brief outline of the Wilkins dewinterisation.

Pies in tins

October has arrived. This is the month that we go home. So much yet to do and so little time. The days left are disappearing rapidly.

Apart from the inevitable packing, preparing of cargo to return home with us, cleaning up the communal area and workspace, writing reports, and responses to numerous RFIs (requests for information) from the incoming team as they prepare to arrive; we’ve also had time for some viewing of the footy grand finals (both codes) — sad for some and joyous for others — and for some trips out and about.  

A two night trip out to Robinson Ridge Hut (Robbos) to undertake the bird camera maintenance, prior to penguin arrival, on Odbert Island was a huge success. It gave ample opportunity for the field party to also explore the surrounding area via quad bikes on the sea-ice. However, despite looking very hard, there’s no sign yet of any seals or penguins in the vicinity.

For those uninitiated to the Antarctic Hut experience, there is the customary food item of the little known but widely appreciated Antarctic delicacy — the Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie. Basically a pie in a tin: remove the lid, reveal an uncooked pastry top, whack in the oven for 30 to 60 minutes (depending on the capability of the oven), and voila, an Antarctic legend is born.

As the opportunity for hut visits is quickly evaporating, this hardy group of expeditioners decided the time was right to sample this traditional food item. A first time for four of the five to do so, it just had to be done. And success! Who would have thought that a pie, in a tin, potentially many years old, could turn out so tasty and have such light fluffy puff pastry on top? So warm and hearty. No wonder it’s a hut tradition. Something that won’t be looked upon with such trepidation for future trips.

The runway is nearly ready up at Wilkins, the hut booking board is filling up as the team plans their final trips off station, and I think we can say we’re well and truly into the run-down period. As undeniable proof of that, we’ve commenced our psychological debriefs this week (just to make sure we’ll handle the return to civilisation after so long away) and the final expeditioner performance reports are being drafted. We even change to Eastern Australian Summer Time on Sunday… so summer really must be just around the corner.

Wish us luck for the psych debriefs, hopefully we won’t be deemed unsuitable for Return to Australia.

Rebecca (Casey Station Leader)

Casey Style

In under a month the new season’s crew arrives, so what better opportunity to give some timely ideas for any last minute fashion items to pack?

As touched on in the recent world acclaimed station news article “Beards”; fashion at Casey flourishes. We are not sure why exactly, but the combination of isolation, cold climate and 2Dogs beer has proven to be contributing factors.

For those new expeditioners arriving at Casey you won’t fail to notice many notable trend setters on station. Some examples include:

  • Many expeditioners with beards and/or moustaches.
  • Dom’s logoed hats and clothing.
  • Troy and his unlimited supply of beanies. Troy also started the now popular trend of wearing “Letterkenny Shirts”.
  • Zach with his seemingly random wearing of a propeller hat.
  • Doctor Catz and her ‘leisure-wear’ style that has all the look and comfort of pyjamas without apparently being called pyjamas.
  • Myself, Signor Ben, and my vast ‘floor robe’ of shirts. For me, the almost daily remark ‘Is that a new shirt?’ never gets old.
  • Al and his (now standard issue) Flag Officer uniform of very short flimsy shorts and t-shirt.  I am told that it aids in better judgment of Antarctic wind conditions and provides acclimatisation for numerous blizz runs.

Things that first time expeditioners realise all too late they haven’t packed include:

  • Extra thongs, aka jandals or flip flops
  • Men’s sized high heels
  • A Hawaiian shirt
  • A different item of clothing for every day of the month
  • A highly formal outfit, ie. tuxedo or/and ball gown (always pays to overdress)

Things that ex-Davis expeditioners must remember not to pack include:

  • Davis shirts and other unfashionable Davis paraphernalia. 

In summary, I think it is safe to say that Casey is a great place to be yourself and potentially try out some seriously questionable fashion.

I hope you accept us back into Australia.

Signor Ben Harrison 


At Casey, before winter, the trades team put some of the buildings into winter mode, mostly to save energy costs. While the buildings are shut down to a certain degree, the temperatures are kept above freezing to prevent pipes freezing up.

Well, it has reached the time of the year to bring these buildings back to life in readiness for the influx of summer personnel.

I had recently been a guest at Wilkins runway to continue with the dewinterization and repairs to some of the equipment.

With temperatures in the mid −20’s any work outside had to be done expediently before retreating inside to warm up and have another slice of freshly made bread.

Baz Balkin