Oktoberfest, one penguin, one unicycle and a sunflower cake make for an interesting week, Mawson style.


At Mawson station we held Oktoberfest on 6th October where we tasted the different beers that had been brewed and aged for a number of months. Oktoberfest preparations started late last year when Chris purchased seven different styles of beer and some special brewing malt to give the beers that little bit extra. The beers were Morgan’s Royal Oak Amber Ale, Morgan’s Golden Sheaf Wheat Beer, Munton’s Scottish Style Heavy Ale, Mangrove Jack’s Tynside Brown Ale, Cooper’s India Pale Ale, Cooper’s Sparkling Ale and Cooper’s Canadian Blonde. We also brewed a “special” Cooper’s Stout from station supplies.

Each of the beers were brewed in 23 litre microbrews with special attention given to each of them and using varying amounts of brewing malt and sugar to enhance the flavours of each of the batches. The brewing for Oktoberfest commenced on 12th March and the last was completed on 24th May and then carefully stored at a constant temperature of around 24 degrees so that it would mature in the bottles.

Wayne prepared the labels, tasting notes and judging sheets and sent them off to the printers so that they would be ready in time for the tasting. Trustworthy Malcolm (because he doesn’t particularly like the taste of beer) was asked to label each of the beers so that it was even a mystery to the brew team and none of us knew what was in each of the bottles. Gastronomic delights were prepared by our chef Bron and trays of food were delivered throughout the evening.

We enjoyed:

Oktoberfest Menu

Little ham steaks on crostini with sauerkraut & mustard mayo
Bratwurst with creamy mustard dipping sauce
Mini jaeger schnitzels
Potato roesti with smoked salmon and mustard mayo
Seared quail with lemon and thyme
Barbecued octopus with sesame and chilli (Brew Master’s special request)
Individual chocolate truffle cakes with contreau cream and sour cherries

The favourite was the stout, with the wheat beer a very close second. Two people got six out of the eight beers correct and the comments were that all of the beers were excellent. Most people actually found it hard to decide which one they liked the most. An enjoyable evening was had by all and I would like to thank Chris for purchasing the beers, Wayne and Anders brewing, others for helping in the brewery and on the night and Bron for the fine food.

Michael, Brew Master

Rob and Pete’s birthday

Last Saturday night saw the second of our waistline-saving dual birthdays. Pete the building services supervisor and plumber and Rob the sparkie were both celebrating. As Pete picked his birthday dinner menu before arriving in Hobart for training in 2011 (“none of that cous cous stuff”) it was decided he would claim mains while Rob received his choice of cake. The result was a scrumptious meal of braised lamb shanks (Pete had two, thanks!), with mashed potato, honey carrots, asparagus and cheesy cauliflower and broccoli. Desert was a white sponge cake just like Rob’s mother used to make. The cake was another exquisite Bron creation, celebrating Rob’s love of all things sunflower, from eating the seeds to a passion for growing the flowers themselves. After much admiration, and some really bad singing, the cake was quickly demolished with vanilla ice cream, chocolate mousse and strawberry compote.

Ride2Work Day

Wednesday was national Ride2Work Day. Not one to miss out on an enjoyable commute, Mel had a quick spin on her uni-cycle from the Red Shed to the Green Store!

The arrival of the first Adelie penguin

From the 10th October we have been making daily visits to Bechervaise Island to record the number of Adelie penguins on the island. By collecting this penguin data we are assisting the scientists with their programme before they arrive at Mawson in the last week of November. There are 18 recognised sub colonies (identified as A to R) of nesting penguins on the island. The first penguin was recorded on the 16th October and she/he was observed in sub colony H. There was still only one penguin on Bechervaise Island by the 18th October.

A party of six who travelled 90km to the west of Mawson earlier in the week recorded on 17th October one Adelie penguin on Ufs Island and two Adelies on Low Tongue . 

With time, the numbers of penguins on Bechervaise Island will increase significantly and the task of counting all the penguins will become more challenging.