Being a mechanic in Mawson’s relentlessly harsh conditions is certainly tough to say the least. Sometimes it might take hours to get one piece of equipment running just to use it for an hour! Don’t get me wrong though, we love it. It’s an incredible experience which we’re proud to be a part of.
Our main duties as mechanics for the station are varied and quite involved. These include station mechanical support for all vehicles, power generation engine and fuel management, snow clearing and machinery operation, general engineering services and also vehicle recovery.
We have a strict service schedule for all mechanical equipment on station which keeps us incredibly busy — when we are not also busy being fire chiefs, LSAs (Lay Surgical Assistants), SAR (Search and Rescue) Team, brew-masters, station safety officers, hydroponic workers and slushies (the Chef’s daily kitchen hand).
Our day will usually be in the order of wake up and coffee…then more coffee, then we start work! Powerhouse duties for the lucky person of the week starts at 8am and involves checking all the engines’ vitals and fuel meter readings. This happens four times daily: 8am, 12pm, 5pm and 9pm (we share this task with the station electricians).
In between these half hour slots of delight, we are generally either servicing or repairing Honda quad bikes, Hägglunds over snow vehicles, Toyota hilux utes, Cat dozers, loaders and excavators, Grove cranes, JCB telehandlers, Stihl chainsaws, demolition saws and ice drills, Honda generators, electric forklifts and Foremost Pioneers. When you say all of those fast it seems easy lol! There’s plenty to do and it keeps us busier than a one-armed bricklayer.
Outside of work, maybe the best part of our job is brewing the beer. Dieso Millsy is a true brewing expert and has created some amazing beers for us this year. From Saisons to Extra Stouts, Pilsners to Altbier, and of course the traditional Lagers and Draughts, nothing beats a cold beverage after a tough day swinging spanners.
Life on station outside of work is always full of activities. Weekly volleyball has become quite competitive and usually results in grazed skin and all-out attack at the net. Our darts competition has seen some incredible shots and everyone is progressing as the months trickle by. Table tennis has also made an appearance with the matches producing quality rallies from everyone, including our self-proclaimed Olympic champion Comms Officer. A week in station life goes by in the blink of an eye!
Soon enough though, it will be midwinter and we'll all be lining up for our dip in the icy waters off the wharf…not certain yet whether I’m looking forward to this.
One thing about Mawson station though, we will remember it for the rest of our days!
To all our friends and family back home, much love!
Tom & Millsy (Mawson Dieso Team 72nd ANARE)