This week at Macquarie Island, we experience a day in the life of the Macca Trades team

A day in the life of Macca tradies

Macquarie Island Tradies 2017/18

Wayne Scandrett, Plumber

Geoff Wallace, Electrician

David Brett, Building Services Supervisor/Carpenter

A day in the life of the Macca tradies starts in various ways…

Wayne has water statistics that get done first up, as well as checking on water levels in the bulk water storage tanks. He also does a quick check on the gas supplies for the kitchen and Hasselborough House, so food can be cooked and clothes can be dried. Geoff checks on whether there have been any faults in the electrical systems around station. These checks have to be done manually, as there is no computerised system like at the continental stations to monitor or alert you to problems within the station site services and power generation. David has no checks to do like the others, but usually heads to the computer to check if there are any pressing issues for other supervisors on station or back in Kingston that need to be actioned.

Wayne and Geoff are also on a roster to carry out checks in the Powerhouse, along with our diesel mechanic Lionel, which involve fuel re-supplies, monitoring engine hours, oil pressure, temperatures of the engines, and the cooling system, as well as looking for any leaks or things that are out of the ordinary.

Once all the routine morning checks are done, it’s time to get onto monthly inspections and other minor works that keep coming up regularly on our maintenance recording system MAXIMO, as well as other jobs that are brought to our attention during our checks, or that people have noticed around station.

There are times when the tradies are required to go off station to maintain the field hut infrastructure, which requires you to carry all the gear that is needed for the work to be done ‘on your back'. This could take up to two days travel time or more. For example, if infrastructure works are required at Hurd Point (the furthest hut from station — some 35 kms), there will be an overnight stop at Green Gorge on the way. These trips need to be well planned because there is no coming back to get that screw you needed or hammer you forgot to pack! Most of these jobs have been planned for months and heavy components like large lengths of timber to patch the fences at Green Gorge to stop the elephant seals from sleeping up against the building, or wire and screws to make the board walks at Red River not as treacherous to walk on in wet conditions, were flown out during re-supply by helicopters.

Just a sample of the work we carry our in our day–to–day routines:

  • Change out eyewash stations
  • Check on fire systems, electrical and plumbing (monthly task)
  • Plant room inspections and checks (monthly task)
  • Change over door handles and locks that take a beating in the elements
  • Replace broken fences that the elephant seals tend to lean on from time to time (especially during mating season)
  • Report on the condition of the station and infrastructure
  • Carry out waste management duties
  • Take out the rubbish and recycling
  • Change over redundant/old appliances
  • Bring current systems up to standard/compliance;

All these checks and inspections are an essential part of keeping the station running, ensuring things don’t get too run down and can keep us all safe and warm!

David Brett — Building Services Supervisor/Carpenter & Deputy Station Leader