This week Davis commemorated Anzac Day, held a fire exercise, and attended an elaborate display of electronics know-how (we also worked). Included from a past week are some picturess of the gents downstairs in the Crow-Bar in a bottling bonanza.

Fire training

In order to maintain a credible emergency response capability, our expeditioners engage in regular fire and Search and Rescue (SAR) training sessions and exercises. Last Friday all three fire teams gathered up at SAM. SAM is the Summer Accommodation Module which houses the summer contingent of expeditioners. In winter SAM is empty of occupants and with its many bedrooms, laundry, bathrooms, stairways and halls is the perfect structure to simulate a fire in, in order to test the skills of our fire teams carrying out a primary search with breathing apparatus (BA) kit on.

Our gallant test dummy was placed in a variety of locations around the building and one by one the teams went in and conducted their search and recovery. Observed by the fire chiefs, all of the teams conducted their primary searches in a careful and methodical manner, locating the dummy and transporting it outside in a timely and efficient manner.

Exercises like this are great in refreshing skills and providing new learnings for the design of future trainings and the focus for future skills development.

Anzac Day

On Saturday the 25th of April, Davis station commemorated Anzac day. A day for quiet reflection, the station held a number of formal events, beginning with a dawn service at 9:45am. As the sun rose from behind the station it illuminated our service beside the Davis flagpoles, where a makeshift Anzac memorial cross stood barely silhouetted against the frozen sea ice beyond. After one of the most unique dawn services many of us may ever attend, we warmed up with a traditional gunfire breakfast and an Anzac Day presentation in the theatre featuring photographs of the military service (past and present) undertaken by Davis expeditioners.

Our thanks to the Box Hill RSL for providing memorabilia for our display and for all those, led by Dr Jan Wallace, who invested time and effort in creating a reflective and considered atmosphere for the day.

This Friday evening at…

Friday night saw a gathering of all the station up at the waste water treatment plant, hosted by the entirety of our project electrical team, Aaron C. All week Aaron had been darting around station quietly squirrelling away bits and pieces, and the lights were seen on up at the WWTP until very late some nights.

We arrived ready for some refreshments and were greeted at the door by our host, looking as excited as a new father — ready to show off his electrical ‘baby’. Aaron had constructed a game of darts with a difference. The object of the game was to hit the bullseye on the dart board enough times to activate a release on a motor holding back a billiard ball.

After much anticipation the bullseye was struck for the fifth and final hit, and the process was set in motion. Once the ball was on the loose it made its way down a track to activate another switch that triggered a release mechanism, dumping a bucket of snow into a bucket of water. Once this water cooled to 8°C a signal was sent to release a banner suspended over the dartboard, complete with lights flashing and sirens ringing.

Everyone enjoyed the spectacle, none moreso than Aaron himself.


Doc’s Dozen

Scott W — Carpenter, fire chief and footy tipping adjudicator

Scotty, how many trips have you done to Antarctica and what brings you back here?

This is my second trip down south. I was at Casey for summer 13/14. I come down for the challenge and to experience some things that very few people ever have. Also, I don’t do well in the heat so I figure this is the place for me.

What is it like being a chippie here?

It’s a lot of fun but it can be tough sometimes. Things take a lot longer to get done compared to back home and you have to be constantly thinking ahead, especially with the project work that we’re involved in. It might take a day to move, dig out or even find the materials that you need to get the job done, so it doesn’t take much to fall behind and have to play catch-up, but I love the job satisfaction. I get a real kick out of using my skills in support of front line science. It’s a nice change from working just to make a dollar. The icebergs are pretty cool too, I guess.

If not a chippie, what job would you do?

Probably something cool, like an astronaut or a magician.

[Doc: I like the astronaut bit. Extremely cool!]

Best gig as a chippie Scott?

Aside from this? The company that I did my apprenticeship with was really great to work for because we were involved in a really wide range of jobs. I might be standing tilt panels on a commercial site on Monday, hanging a door Tuesday, plastering Wednesday and digging holes for the rest of the week, I was the apprentice after all. It really set me up as a multi-skilled chippy, which definitely comes in handy down here. Especially the digging part.

What is the best thing you have ever made and what is your favourite timber?

Laminated veneer lumber. Not pretty or fancy, but pound for pound it’s about as strong as anything you’ll find. I’ve never been much of a traditional woodworking-type carpenter, but I’ve been involved in some pretty massive-scale concrete structures. I worked at the desalination plant in Wonthaggi and some of the tanks we built were some of the biggest things I’d ever seen. That was pretty cool.

Best experience in Antarctica?

I’ve been lucky enough to have a few good ones, but last summer at Casey I flew out to Bunger hills to set up an automatic weather station. That was unreal, flying in and landing on unproven sea ice was exciting, to say the least.

Who inspires you?

Anyone who spends their life doing something they love.

What have you learned living in a small community?

Not to take yourself too seriously and not to take things personally. Everyone has bad days and everyone has bad habits. How you deal with it is what counts. (I’m starting to sound like those inspirational quotes out of the newspaper.)

If you were a car, what car would you be?

Brum — that little guy could do anything.

What is the ‘must have’ item that you packed for Antarctica?

Spare sunnies. I think I’m onto my third pair.

[Doc: Yes, essential item. It’s hard to look cool without sunnies.]

If you could be someone else, who would it be?


[Doc: Funny… I can’t really see you as a little yellow car. Although, he is very cute.]

What is in store when you return home Scotty?

Quite a bit. I’m hoping to get into uni to study construction management. It has always been the long term plan to move into the management side of the industry, but nowadays it’s difficult to get a start without some sort of degree. I decided early on that I’d get some actual trade experience before going back to study. Hopefully it pays off in the long run.

Well readers I have to say that our Scotty Watkins is one cool dude. We all wish you the very best with your future plans Scotty.