Getting to know one of the Casey crew, plus the first round of the Inter-Station Darts Competition

Introducing a winter plumber

Name: James Terrett

Nicknames: Terry

From: Queanbeyan, NSW

Previous seasons? This is my third season, I have previously wintered at Mawson and summered at Casey

Job title: Plumber

Describe your role in a few sentences: As a winter plumber at Casey station, the work is quite varied and unique. I work on infrastructure maintenance and minor new works, water production, and waste management. I’m also a part of the technical Search and Rescue team.

What did you do before your joined the AAD? I was working as a plumber in the Army posted to Brisbane.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey? The overall experience, it’s a great opportunity to live and work in such a unique place. The work is interesting, and the small community that we live in all makes for a great experience.

If you were not a Plumber what would be your dream job? I think it would be interesting working in the Merchant Marines.

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south? Each season is unique, I’m always thankful of the opportunity to work and live in Antarctica. The crew here at Casey this year is great and the banter is on point.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Back home: go to live music gigs, renovating the house, heading to the coast. Down here I like to be social — I’m often found losing at darts and getting out to the field huts.

What song sums up your Casey experience so far? Smoko…The Chats.

What actor/celebrity would play you in a film version of our 75th ANARE season here at Casey? Golfer John Daly

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit? Carhartt jacket and beanie

What is your favourite book/movie (or both) and why? Book: AS/NZS3500 National Plumbing and Drainage Code. Movie: probably something silly that doesn’t get old like Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison.

What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? Do you have a particular favourite? Little bit of everything, pretty much all the big rock/metal bands from over the years, mixed in with a bit of Ian Moss, Milli Vanilli and Daryl Braithwaite.

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

Sight: Unless there is a blizzard we are treated to exceptional sunrises and sunsets.

Smell: I’m lucky enough to work on occasion in the wastewater treatment plant.

Sound: The rumble of the Hägglunds.

Taste: The food everyday — it is exceptional!

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with? ‘Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle” — Helen Keller

Something people may not know about you: I’m related to the guy who founded the Mars Bar company, but I still prefer Snickers.

Inter-Station Darts – keeping us connected

Traditionally, wintering expeditioners have come to terms with the runway being shut down and the aerodrome packed up for the winter months. There is no escape until summer, so we’ve settled into our grooves. It’s not unusual for the annual building and system inspections to become monotonous and there can be a slump in the energy on station (along with the token thought: “Why did I agree to stay somewhere so cold and isolated for so long?!”)

Despite the hardship of isolation, there is still a definite appreciation for the serenity of winter compared to the hustle, bustle and chaos of summer. Even so – taking into account the training period in Hobart, many have been away from home for up to a year already. Some people miss their friends, some miss their families, some learn how much resilience it takes to keep their relationships alive. A few thrive in the solitude and tranquillity – I’m not one of the latter!

It’s also a time of amazing sunrise and sunsets (which happen during the very few hours between morning tea and the end of lunch). When the sky is clear, a beautiful, intense orange, pink and gold can be seen for the whole “day” on the northern horizon, while the sky to the south is filled with soft pastel rose and blue.

(As I type this, our resident safety award recipient – profiled above – exclaims, “That's a nice sunrise!” and a humorous debate erupts upon whether it's a sunrise or sunset based on the time of the day.)

The few hours of colours alone aren’t enough to lighten everyone's spirits, so they turn to personal health goals, fitness challenges, taking up or getting deeper into hobbies such as photography, languages and online courses.

One regular event during this part of winter is the Inter-Station Darts Competition played between the Australian stations over video chat, with one camera on each station's dartboard and scoreboard, and another camera facing the audience. Each of the four stations battle it off every year, to earn eternal glory and the peoples' respect forever!

Macquarie Island was kind enough to begin the season with a game against Casey – heightening the banter when the webcam image came on displaying the prized mascot, Stay the dog statue. Stay is regularly dognapped, and transported from one station to another while planes and ships are travelling during the summer, without the knowledge of her current station.

The effects of the initial banter were short-lived: Macca started strong but Casey fought back hitting a double bullseye – resulting in loud cheers of approval and whispered remarks along the lines of “I hope he didn’t peak too early!”

Dave and myself took out the first game of Casey Vs Macca. The crowd roared – the crowd cheered – I was hoisted up onto the shoulders of the fans! (Well not quite, but it certainly felt like it.)

Unfortunately, Macquarie Island took game 2 against Casey's Pat and Stephen. This was probably due to heckling from the home team, after all, this is a serious game of intense concentration and focus. (Or at least you’d be forgiven for thinking so watching the training sessions at the dartboard.)

Next up, Barry and Justin held a tight game, but Macca stayed strong, taking out the first round.

Nevertheless – we look forward to showing Mawson station how to win this Friday night.

-Brenden Sainty