The MIPEP team hits the road again, a meteorological impediment and a kitchen reno in the subantarctic are all hot topics this week at Macca.

Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project

The hunters and their dogs departed Friday 3rd August after spending six days on station. Most of the team were ready to leave as six days was long enough on station. They were keen to head back out into the hills and the steep slopes. After spending a month, often with only one other, the busy township of Macca can appear too busy at times.

Just prior to leaving station the team were busy preparing for the month in the field. Dogs were weighed and checked over, backpacks packed, last minute calls were made, emails back home were sent and then it was time to leave. Fortunately for the team they had a sunny calm day to depart station.

During the past month, we have introduced a new postal service to remote areas on the island. It’s a long time between calls to loved ones, family and friends so to ensure those in the field for long periods of time hear regularly from those back home, letters can be sent to the station leader via email, the SL will print out the letter, seal it in an envelope and whoever heads down the island next will take the letter.  There’s no charge (we’re not sure what the Macquarie Island Rook is to the AU dollar, it’s not listed on the stock exchange), and delivery is guaranteed (although it may take between two to ten days). If you would like to send mail to someone you know on the island, contact them directly and request they send you the station leader’s email address.

Ranger In Charge

Richard, Ranger in Charge, looks back on what he focussed on during the past few weeks:

  • Monthly bird counts
  • Grey petrel monitoring including remote sites
  • Wandering albatross monitoring
  • 20m double planking — overland track
  • Rerouted Jessie Nicol Jumpup
  • Heritage photo survey for Lusi Bay and Bauer Bay

Richard also noted July was wetter, windier and warmer than average. Over 20mm of rain was recorded on the 11th July resulting in a mudslide in the first gully at Gadgets. The mudslide initiated from high in the gully, transporting mud and rocks down to ocean level. It also broke the poly pipe which transfers water from the small reservoir at the top of Gadgets gully to station. Snow was not persistent on the ground for any length of time during the month.

Over 300 starlings were sighted on 25th July as part of the monthly bird count near Mary and Elizabeth Point. Red polls were persistent around the isthmus and North Head.

King penguin colonies were very vacant during the month with few adults present. Chick numbers were noticeably fewer from the time Richard arrived at Macquarie Island in April to now.

Gentoo numbers appear to be building during the month of July.

No rockhoppers or royals were observed during the month.


This week’s major works program involved preparing for and commencing the kitchen renovations, a major job involving many people on station. The kitchen closed down for three days, many old appliances were removed, floors and walls scrubbed, a few alterations were made to ensure the new appliances fitted and then new appliances were put in place. A special thanks to everyone involved.

Another big job this week involved the Bureau of Meteorology team. We all thought it was a little strange the weather data panel in the mess was reading zero winds and the same temperature for two days. We have been experiencing good weather over the past week but to think there’s been no wind, well, wish we were that lucky. The Wind Speed Sensor located on top of the tower near the Met building had failed. Gunny was called and within a short period of time the repair job was completed and the winds returned.

Moments in time

August 1975

Wind blowing, water spray being blown off the sea in all directions. Doc, Allan, Mick and Ted arrived back from Bauer Bay with Ian and Bob carrying trail markers to Green Gorge. Today my wife rang and said we are going to be Grand Parents for the first time — you little bloody beauty! Put on a case and celebrated along with Alan who became engaged today. Retired early.

9th August 1997

Dale organised ‘self-flambé’ crepes for dessert which saw Craig set off the kitchen fire alarm. Good crepes and entertainment though. Quiet night in the mess for a Saturday — must have been too much excitement during the week.

10th August 1997

Calm in the morning — windy in the afternoon (gusting to over 40 knots). Scott organised a fishing competition today with the “Bait and Tackle” shop open for business beforehand. Justin and John had built a fish trap and last night managed to catch two fingerlings in it. No-one else managed to catch anything although Jeff lost a fish he was reeling in. A lot of fun though.