Pipe dreams in East Antarctica

A Handsome of Plumbers

Team Plumb here at Casey are continually asked the hard Antarctic questions, so we decided not to shirk the issue and answer them.

Question: What’s the collective noun for a group of Electricians?

Answer: A Shock of Sparkies (or Confusion).

Carpenters? Answer: A Packet of Chippies.

Diesel Mechanics? Answer: A Clutch of Diesos.

But the most frequently asked Antarctic question of them all is — what’s the collective noun for a group of Plumbers?

Answer: a Handsome of Plumbers

Speaking of which, this year’s winter plumbing team comprises Garvan, Dean and Fitzy. 

We manage to keep the fresh water flowing and heating running.  For a plumber, life at Casey is always changing and completely different to plumbing in Australia. One day we might be installing a new melt bell line, the next working on the diesel fuel lines, or on a really good day shovelling sludge out of the waste treatment plant.

Luckily the plumbers down here are as diverse as the work itself. We have Garvan from Brisbane. He has spent most of his time working on high rises and installing fire protection systems. When he’s not hitting the pads with the Flynnisher, you’ll find him sipping a smooth gin at the bar.

Then we have Dean from South Australia. He’s the only one on station lucky enough to have spent a season at Mawson. Dean is our HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) and maintenance man. When Dean’s not ticking and flicking maintenance sheets, he’s down the workshop trying his hand at a bit of woodworking.

And finally we have Fitzy, the most experienced Antarctic expeditioner of the three, having done multiple seasons at Casey and Davis. Fitzy’s newly arrived and has come down to help us out for the winter. He’s our waste treatment and backflow specialist.  Fitzy’s always happy to lend a hand, whether it’s to impart a bit of Antarctic knowledge or give a guitar lesson or two.


Getting to know a Casey expeditioner — Scott King


Scott King




Tasmania, but I've lived all over

Previous seasons?

First one

Job title:

Station Mechanical Supervisor

Describe your role in two sentences:

I lead the team of mechanics that keep Casey moving.  Basically if it runs on diesel or petrol then we’re responsible for its upkeep.

What did you do before your joined the AAD?

My last job was working on salmon farms on the west coast of Tasmania.  Before that offshore oil and gas drilling rigs.

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

Getting off station and seeing Antarctica from other perspectives.  The vast expanse of the plateau that seems to go on forever, the ice cliffs that constantly roll into the ocean, or the pancake ice that forms on the water on a still day. It’s all so amazing I can’t believe I’m actually seeing it firsthand.

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

Anything that involved sailing and the ocean.  Maybe a paid crew on a big racing yacht.

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

First time

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spend time with my five year old son. After that, bushwalking and mountain climbing in Tasmania, and sailing of course.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?

7 Years by Lukas Graham.  It seems to be played a lot down here at the moment and I think it will forever be a song that reminds me of my year down here. It’s actually becoming annoying!

What actor would play you in a film version of our 72nd ANARE season here at Casey?

Matt Damon.  Just like Bourne Identity but much tougher!  He’s a great actor and seems to be a nice guy so he’ll do.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?

My Carhartt canvas work jacket and pants.  They’re built tough and look great in pictures we send home as they appear similar to clothing worn in the heroic age of Antarctic exploration.

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

Favourite book is The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float by Farley Mowat.  A great story of misadventure that seems to go hand in hand with buying a cheap boat to restore. Laugh out loud funny.

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

When I have the helm of Slushy FM you might hear Paul Kelly, Powder Finger, The Waifs and anything that isn’t country music.

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

Sight: The golden light of sunrise as I walk to work at dawn.  Crisp and still.

Smell: Anything prepared by Jords our amazing chef on station, particularly bacon on a Sunday morning.

Sound: The sound of a Hägglunds over-snow vehicle departing station to take some expeditioners off station for another adventure.

Feeling: The feeling that I am so grateful to be here in this place surrounded by amazing people and a spectacular environment.

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

“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.” (Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club)

Something people may not know about you:

I have built two wooden boats. The first one was 18 foot long and took me 5 years to finish, the second was 22 foot and I finished it in 4.  They are both racing yachts built with lightweight methods to make them fast around a race course. Are you picking up a theme about my life? Sailing, sailing and more sailing!