At Mawson we have a diverse team of expeditioners all with their own roles down here. We have Mechanics (Diesos and “The A team”), a Plant Operator, Plumbers, Electricians, Hobby-ologists (sometimes called Carpenters or Chippies), a Chef, a Comms dude, Bureau of Meteorology gurus, a FTO (Field Training Officer, otherwise known as a professional bushwalker), and last but not least, a Station Leader. We all are here for our trade and/or skill set, but being down south also gives us expeditioners an opportunity to learn a new skill, or even brush up on current skills, or complete projects with the assistance of other trades.
It also gives us opportunities to get out of our comfort zones with Survival and Field Training. It is an important part of living and working here in Antarctica. Although some of us returning expeditioners dread that night in the Bivvy (effectively a one-person waterproof bag), it’s all part of the experience.
Our team of five were fortunate to have a crystal clear night with the stars shining brightly with a hint of an Aurora, zero winds and around −15°C. No photos as my camera was frozen. A couple of the other training teams were lucky, or should I say unlucky, to be bivvying out in 40+ knots which means very little sleep. Our backyard is this extraordinary part of Antarctica.
We have our guitar enthusiasts, in which we always see and hear their noise, oops I mean their tunes, beating away in the “Dog Room”.
Our dart players practicing for the big inter-station comp later in the year. Beware Casey, Davis and Macca, we have Col so be very scared you lot, very scared.
We are a community here in Antarctica so the training for specific additional roles also play a big part of heading down south with pre-departure trades specific sessions, Search and Rescue (SAR), fire training and LSA (Lay Surgical Assistant) in Hobart. Regular training and scenarios on station during the season also gives us a chance to improve our knowledge and skills.
We also have our “other” roles on station and get a chance to learn something from others. Such roles include: a postman, librarians, a brewing team, a hydroponics team for our fresh veg, being a slushie. Slushies (kitchen hands/assistant cheffies/cleaner-uppers) play a huge and important part in the daily runnings of station. Slushies also have control of the local radio station 107.5 with all day hits blasting away.
We have our fitness fanatics who take time out to teach and encourage others — yoga, a boot camp every Friday morning, boxing classes, and climbing.
Our Friday arvo catch up and reflection of the week gone are proving popular with the Ops/Comms Mini Golf, BOM bowls night and pizza, the Dieso BBQ night and the “Take 5 Bar.”
Us Diesos have been busy teaching some very important life skills to the less fortunate on station like Station Leader Matt, the Doc Frank(nStein) and the bushwalker dude Mark (FTO), assisting with servicing of some of stations vehicles and machines.
The banter is alive and well here at Mawson, and all teams work very well together to keep things on station running smoothly, the Diesos just do it better.
We have an awesome backyard here at Mawson and an even more awesome team looking after and improving life and infrastructure for future expeditioners heading south.
Good job — Stay Safe.
Mawson Station Mechanical Supervisor and Deputy Station Leader