A new band takes over at Mawson, as we introduce ‘Black Ice'. Christmas day was a success and works are carried out in communications. An old favourite vehicle, the Pioneer, assists with a drum line recovery mission.

'Black Ice’ concert

The Christmas celebrations began on Christmas Eve with a magical display by Charlie ‘The Unbelievable’ followed by the inaugural ‘Southern Lands’ concert by Mawson’s talented ‘Black Ice’ band. This entertainment was enjoyed by all and was a great chance for people to show another side of their talents.

Step aside ‘NTR’ as they become RTA’d*, 'Black Ice' is now the band in residence down south.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day was an excellent day with the talented Kim hanging up his ‘The Edge’ bass player’s outfit to display his even greater talent back in the kitchen.

The culinary delights he created were preceded by ‘Bad Santa’ arriving dressed as his alter ego, Evil Knievel, with flowing silver cape and quad bike maxed out to the station limit of 15 kph. A very impressive skills display indeed with the ribbon-cutting finale being indescribable.

Presents were handed out by Santa along with his little helper ever willing to assist.

Kris Kringle was the big winner again this year with most of the presents going their way.

A few people, including Santa, headed out Boxing Day on a recreation trip to Fang hut while the rest remained on station like well fed snakes to laze about and digest the previous days delights and keep the reindeer fed.

Communications riggers

The communications riggers (Ron and Paul) have been busy cleaning off the old Conical Monopole mast recently and installing a new HF antenna. They have been making the most of the low wind days that the meteorology boys have been surprisingly accurate in predicting. Mawson has a well-earned reputation for high winds so light days (>20 knots) make climbing much more tolerable.

This antenna should be commissioned in time for our incoming 1 January 2016 arrivals and will improve aviation communications quality for flights between Mawson and Davis stations.

Drum line recovery

Using the old (still impressive) Pioneer, three of us recovered 60 drums in one day and brought the motley collection back to station to be sorted. These drums were installed many years ago as line markings on the tracks leading from Mawson station and Henderson, Rumdoodle and Fang huts.

The Pioneer was made by Foremost and was mainly used for mining and forestry work in North America as it’s an all terrain vehicle and can cope with ice through to swamps. Perhaps due to its rugged good looks and sheer size, the Pioneer is fondly thought of on station. As there is a “You break it, you fix it” rule in place, the diesos (diesel mechanics) do most of the driving.

The machine is due to be retired as it is a high maintenance asset but there is no modern equivalent to replace it. The hope is that a total rebuild, as with our Hägglunds, would see many more years of service.