This week we commemorated ANZAC Day and installed the major piece of our new BBQ deck.

ANZAC Day at Mawson

At Mawson we woke on ANZAC day to winds of 60 knots and low visibility which meant that we could not have our dawn service at the flagpoles.

Instead, we hung the flags in the wallow and recalled those who had served in past wars and those who did not return.

The ANZACs, and the soldiers before and after them, demonstrated that war couldn’t take away individual dignity, resilience, mateship, courage and community. The ANZACs were a group that was representative of a multicultural and diverse Australia — there were Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander soldiers, sons of Greek, Italian and Chinese immigrants and female nurses. Together they created a community and a spirit that demonstrated the best of Australian culture in the worst of circumstances.

The challenge that I take from the ANZACs: how do I focus on developing those aspects of a person that we still value so highly — mateship, friendship, courage, resilience — and allow everyone dignity and a fair go? How does the team at Mawson demonstrate these characteristics?

Following our dawn service we had a ‘gunfire’ breakfast in the mess, followed by a very relaxing day of movies, reading and a very Australian menu of ANZAC biscuits, pie floaters and pizza.

Installing the new BBQ deck

This week the infrastructure team nearly saw the exciting culmination of our final, large summer project: the installation of a new BBQ deck at the emergency power house.

With a fantastic view across Horseshoe harbour towards the icebergs this will be a coveted spot for midwinter after work meetings.

To be honest, it’s not really a BBQ deck. The deck is really a large safety platform that the infrastructure team has been working hard to install since it arrived over resupply. Once the platform is completed, it will allow the mechanical team to more safely access the roof and air ducts for the generators housed inside the building.

The infrastructure team has had to dig through snow to find the bedrock footings for the legs. Chris, the carpenter, had to carefully measure and then pour some concrete footings to mount the platform on. This sounds easy but mixing and pouring concrete in −15 degree temperatures is a team job. The cement was mixed by Cal in the green shed using warm water, then Janelle, Tony D and Jen did a workout running buckets of cement down the hill to Chris so that he could pour the footing under the cover of the Herman Nelson heater. The heater had to stay on the cement for 36 hours to make sure that it had gone off sufficiently that the water in the cement wouldn’t freeze.

Since laying the footings the team has had to wait patiently for a fine day, to mount the platform, it was −18°C and with wind chill factor −23°C so the infrastructure and mechanical team joined forces to manoeuvre the platform into place. The teams are amazing working outside in this weather all day. The steel is so cold that it freezes to the ground, not to mention the impact on your hands if you touch it without gloves on. There are a multitude of extra safety considerations that the teams have to consider each day.

Everyone held their breath as the platform was moved into position and, the footing was in the right place!

Stay tuned for a picture of the finished product hopefully next week.

Thanks for…

This week we say thank you to Tony, our comms tech.

Tony is responsible for maintaining all the equipment that allows us to communicate with the outside world and each other. There are multiple sat phones, an internet connection, VHF radios, audio-visual equipment and the dreaded paging system. All fairly critical stuff that makes our life a little bit easier and is also essential for life around station.

Most recently Tony has been found up at the transceiver hut trying to install a new GSM system that might allow us to text each other instead of radio. Like the infrastructure and mechanical team, this means working in the freezing conditions outside on delicate materials like fibre optic cables.

Unfortunately for Tony it is fairly obvious to the whole team when something breaks and our social media status won’t update, or worse still the phones die on Sunday morning when everyone is trying to call home. There is no hiding it until Monday! He is always patient though and sets about fixing whatever the problem is even if it is at 0200.

Personally, Tony is a passionate New Zealander and family man. I feel like I almost know Daphne, Tony’s wife, and the amazing other half of team Tony. Tony is a signed up member of the darts team and can be found in the bar most evenings ready for a game. Every morning while I read the paper I enviously watch as he eats a pile of hot buttered toast with a black coffee for breakfast, and never puts on weight!

Thank you Tony for constantly putting up with my whining about internet speed and yells of “Tony” from my office whenever the computer freezes.

Jen Wressell, Station Leader