Engineering Services Supervisor, Tom takes us through his journey to get down south and the fun he's had along the way!

Getting to Davis hasn’t been quick for me.

Back in February 2022 I chained myself to a desk for two days at a caravan park in Charters Towers QLD to grind out a job application on the way back from a failed catamaran delivery down the Queensland coast. Seven months later in August 2022 I got ‘the call’ during a sound check at a gig I was working at back at home in Darwin. I was going to be the new 5-year Engineering Services Supervisor for Davis station! My immediate reaction was to run around in circles, screaming and leaping like I was being attacked by a swarm of silent, invisible bees. Once I had composed myself I packed up my life, jumped in the car, and cracked on down the Stuart Highway and over to Tas with my beautiful partner Nagaela.

I spent the next 12 months in Kingston, forced to subsist on a thin stew made of planning, doing sketches and buying construction materials to get the summer projects ready. A 1-month return trip to Macquarie Island in May gave me a glimpse of what life would be like at Davis, but they just can’t get the icy winds and desolate landscapes right.

Then I finally made it down here.

After (regrettably) doing a moderately offensive impersonation of the Station Leader in the traditional “Crossing the Line” ceremony earlier in the voyage, I felt I had indeed ‘crossed the line’ and was certain I was on thin ice when the ship arrived at Davis. As it turns out, we literally were on thin ice - but thankfully not thin enough to stop us and our cargo from getting ashore. But the challenges didn’t stop there. I still can’t believe that to get out of the Davis mess hall you have to choose one of two escapes - one is guarded by a scar-faced, bull-necked bouncer sporting a fresh fade and sunglasses on the back of his head; the other is a concrete wall topped with broken glass and barbed wire. The bouncer is actually a table buckling under the weight of cakes, slices and cookies, whilst the wall is an industrial-sized pile of chocolate bars.

Some of the minor highlights from my first month here include:

  • Hearing the panic in Macca’s voice over the radio after setting the fire alarm off during his daily midnight sauna. See previous Icy News editions for exclusive photos.
  • Our epic barbecue down at Club Lake.
  • Visit from our German friends on the Polarstern. We brought our own German with us for extra credibility.
  • Watching the first punch-on between two seals during smoko. It basically started off similar to “Morpheus is fighting Neo!” with 20 dudes in high vis clambering to the windows to see two seals arcing up before quickly passing out on top of each other from exhaustion.

The major highlight for me honestly has been the hard work and skills of the trades team, which continues to leave me flabbergasted. They arrogantly laugh in the face of any challenge that confronts them. Whether its equipment breakdown, missing part, wrong size, worn out, instructions in Swahili, doesn’t matter - they will quickly extinguish it like a cheap tax-free German cigarette butt……