Antarctica provides the opportunity to wear many different hats outside of your main job. Learn about the interesting roles fulfilled by our expeditioners.

The many hats of an expeditioner

Before coming to Antarctica, I was part of a team. “The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people and see if they could become something more. See if they could work together when we needed them to.” – Nick Fury… No, I wasn’t part of the Avengers although that would be one of the few jobs to top Engineering Services Supervisor at Davis station.

I was part of another team, the Brisbane City Council team for the Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) challenge. A program where councils across Australia and New Zealand enter a team to compete in challenges typically faced by an executive management team in a c ouncil. Our team won the QLD competition and went on to compete in the Nationals. What does this have to do with hats and the ANARE? Part of our team’s strategy and tactics was to utilise De Bono’s six thinking hats theory. I will let you google into that rabbit hole on your own but it’s what inspired this article…Well, that and watching all the Marvel movies in timeline order over multiple weekends here.

On station, hats are important work things, our toques (beanies for all you non-Canadians) keep our heads warm, our hard hats protect us from overhead hazards, our fire helmets protect us from debris and heat. Similar to De Bono’s theory above, when we don different hats here we change not only our role but our mentality and our thinking.

No-one on station has only one role to play in the community. Every one of us wears at least 2 ‘hats’, some as many as 4 or 5. When you have one hat on you may be a carpenter but then when the fire alarm rings you don your fire chief helmet and you’re required to lead the station’s fire team that includes your regular supervisor (me). Such is the case for Tas our Building Services Supervisor/Carpenter/Fire Chief/Deputy SAR leader.

If you’re unfortunate to get injured down here our station doctor Rae (also our librarian) will be available. The doctor is assisted by a Lay Surgical Assistant team (LSAs) who spend several weeks prior to departing Australia at the Royal Hobart Hospital in training. Here at Davis that consists of Shane one of our plumbers (and door enthusiast from couple of articles ago), Streety - electrician, Bill - fitter and turner/electoral officer, and Marshall - electronics engineer/postie/fire team member.

Then there is our Search and Rescue (SAR) team. This team is led by Kat our Senior Field Training Officer and horticulturist for all our fresh food from hydroponics. SAR team members include Scott - diesel mechanic and Deputy Fire Chief, Todd - plumber and official photographer, Mick - plumber and gym manager, Ben - electrician and manager of Club Lake Antarctica’s most exclusive night club, Streety - electrician and hydroponic volunteer and Tas.

There are a range of other roles to be filled that aren’t so dramatic sounding as fire team, SAR and LSA but needless to say, just as important for managing life in the community here. From Simon and Chris our Environmental and Safety Officers respectively to Justin, diesel mechanic by day, pushbike wrangler by night.

Personally, my favourite hat is one that was made by a fellow expeditioner and gifted to me at Christmas.

Other times we all just put on random hats from the dress up container and do a station trivia night.

There are numerous opportunities to wear different hats and these include Deputy Station Leader, Australia Post Officer, Workplace Health and Safety Officer, Environment Officer, Fire Chief and deputies, Fire Team member, Lay Surgical Assistant, Search and Rescue Team member, Flag Officer, Gym Manager, Hydroponics, Electoral Officer, Librarian, Year Book Co-ordinator, Station Photographer, Hobby Hut Co-ordinator, Darts and Cards Competition Co-ordinator, Bike Wrangler, Incident Management Team member, Hairdresser, and Ice-drillers.


Dawson – Engineering Services Supervisor/Deputy Station Leader/Fire Team Member/Incident Management Team member.