Resupply aftermath,impromptu disaster planning, a new sparky team and some training leads to a few great photo ops.

Not a bad day for some training

Mel, Pete, Paul and Vicki headed out for an afternoon’s refresher in driving Haggs and quads under the expert guidance of Ian, our illustrious PI (Plant Inspector aka dieso aka diesel mechanic boss guy).

We first headed out to the training area in the Haggs. We practiced weaving between some canes, before swapping drivers and doing it all again. All canes were last seen standing upright.

We then headed back to station and after parking appropriately and collecting some helmets it was a quick vehicle change to the quads. We headed out to the training area and practiced weaving between some canes…

After a consultative meeting we drove up to Gwamm, the first major way-point on the plateau, where all roads leave from station to the field huts. The road to Gwamm leads across the blue ice and up the plateau which can be seen rising behind the station. From Gwamm you can just see the mountain ranges around Mawson. We had a terrific view of the sea ice which has been forming in the last week. We then headed back down the hill at a stately pace, admiring the view of the station and surrounds.

The Paul Weekly #1


I’m Paul. I am an Electrician, and I am here at Mawson Station Antarctica, which for me and 14 other members of our wintering team will call our ‘home’ for the next twelve months.

I have been asked to write a quick update on our progress so far.

We have just been through maybe our busiest time of the year …Resupply …

It was all hands on deck from our arrival on Tuesday 28th February, until the Aurora Australis’s departure on Sunday 4th March.

Food, fuel, and essential spare parts were all brought ashore and all the accumulated waste material, and redundant gear, was returned back to Australia. Well, almost all…

It was a crazy week for all of us , and it was nice to sit back and relax after it was all over and start to take in some of the breathtaking scenery and amazing wildlife which was surrounding us.

It was during these relaxing times where conversation flowed freely, and we had the time to apply our collective thoughts on the big issues which affect us all here on station.

Topics of conversation included:

  • The state of the roads here at Mawson, and how we should get onto the local council to get someone down to fill in some of the numerous potholes around the place. Their current method of shoveling snow into the cracks seems to be less than effective and a more improved technique should be explored.
  • Getting struck by a stray meteorite — meteorites have been found in Antarctica, and what if this was to happen here on station during resupply? Do we need to include this in our “ job hazard analysis” ( JHA )? Will the division-issued hard hats offer us enough protection? We decided to handball this one on to the HR department back in Kingston for further analysis and review.
  • And if the world ended suddenly, how would we get back to Australia? A couple of options were put forward. Weld together two half height containers with all the station outboards strapped to the back. Getting through the pack ice on the journey home might be a bit tricky for this option it was thought. Option two was to gather all BOM’s weather balloons, fill them up, lash them together, connect again to a half height container and sit and wait until prevailing winds were suitable for a launch. Both ideas, although innovative, were deemed to require more discussion at a later date.

So there we have it! Our first couple of weeks are over and our year-long watch as custodians of Mawson Station has just begun. I feel very fortunate to be able to work in such spectacular part of our world with my fellow wintering team, and am looking forward to sharing some great times in the year ahead.

That’s all for now,


Mawson’s new sparky team — Winter 2012

Mawson Sparky Team 2012

We are Robert Kiil and Paul Deverall, the new Mawson Electricians for winter 2012.

Paul lives in Perth WA and has wintered during 2010 at Casey.

I live at Banora Point, Northern NSW and this is my first trip to Antarctica.

Thanks to the 2011 Sparkies, Lisa, Muzza and Ken, for their excellent work and their hand-over which makes it easier for us to become familiar with the Mawson electrical system.

The main differences with the electrical systems here in Antarctica to those normally found in Australia are due to the cold; heating, rather than air-conditioning, and outdoor pipes for water and sewage which are heated and insulated. We are looking forward to completing our field training and get out there to see more of this stunning land.

Robert Kiil