This week at Mawson we celebrated the shortening days by enjoying the Aurora’s and clear night sky’s through some astrophotography. We conducted a station search and Josh wrote our first Thanks for… article

Station search

This week’s training was all about the station search.

The station search is part of search and rescue training but focused on the immediate station environment. There are lots and lots of buildings, storage containers and vehicles on a station, a surprising number of places that you could accidentally lock yourself in or be stuck with a sprained ankle. Although we all carry radios, the whole team is fairly aware of making sure they see or speak to each other regularly during the day.

If we haven’t seen each other for a few hours and can’t get a response on the radio then a station search is the quickest way to locate each other.

The station is divided into several search zones and teams of two are allocated a specific area to search. Each zone area can include four to five buildings plus vehicles, storage containers and large areas of rock. Running through the list as a desktop refresher, there are so many hidden areas that a lot of us didn’t even know about. Basements in the workshop, roof spaces in the red shed, explosive caches — don’t worry we won’t search in there.

Early on the day of the search, Tony D (field training officer) can be seen cruising around the station on the quad bike planting clues that search teams have to find and report. After lunch, the search began — we were looking for ‘Ralph’ (the station’s imaginary friend), who hadn’t arrived for lunch. We split into pairs and everyone headed off to their individual search zones. It was only 15 minutes into the exercise and the first clue was located by Janelle and Jose in the library. Cal and Craig returned with frozen beards and red faces from searching down near the wharf and fuel farm. Josh and Gav lost their piece of paper that listed where to search and ended up doing two zones instead of one.

After an hour and a half, the station had been searched and we were all pretty happy that we knew what to do if we had to look for each other. We even found a few new areas of the station — I mean who knew we had a spray paint bay or that we had a building called budgie!

Photos of the week

Thanks for…

This week we say Thanks to Davis station, firstly for the gift of their winter cheese supply during resupply (a story for another time) and secondly for Craig, the expo that we stole.

Craig is the Mawson Senior Diesel Fitter otherwise know as the SMS. He was a late entry to our winter team and transferred to us from Davis station were he spent the summer.

Professionally the diesel mechanics (diesos) are essential to keep the station running. Without them we would have no generators and that would mean no electricity or heat. They also keep all the station vehicles in tip-top shape,we have a huge variety of machinery here including Hägglunds, cranes, loaders, utes and outboard engines. They have to be able to maintain all these different motors along with the station powerhouse — it’s a big job and one they do really well.

Personally, one of Craig’s greatest contributions to the team has been his ability at darts — he has been elected darts team captain by the rest of the crew. Captain Craig takes time and patience each evening to train those of us who do not possess his level of skill. He also keeps the laughter up at healthy level on station entertaining us with his Elton John impersonations.

Craig has made the chef’s life pretty easy here at Mawson as well — he has a really simple diet. He basically is carnivorous living primarily on meat except on Sundays when he gets all his sustenance from toasted cheese sandwiches. When asked what vegetarian food he enjoyed his reply was simple: “Cow.”

Like the rest of us, Craig’s having a great time here enjoying work, station life and the beautiful surroundings. But of course missing his family a fair bit as we all do. He is a strong family and man since we have been, here he has proudly displayed his family coat of arms on the door of room 11 which is his bedroom.