My first six months as the station boilermaker

Time flies!

Six months and one week ago, I was lucky enough to be a part of the intrepid group of people, stepping onto the MPV Everest to head to Mawson station for the next twelve months. With the resupply at Davis station along the way, it was an interesting five weeks at sea. Work started early for me and a small group of very helpful people, who all assisted with getting the Mawson station resupply underway via helicopter.

Once on station, as with any new workplace, there was a small adjustment period locating the appropriate tools and putting a few personal touches to the welding bay. The major project that I was looking forward to sinking my teeth into had been put on hold, and so began my Mawson working experience, being a jack of all trades, and master to only one!

My roles of boilermaker/welder and WHS Officer on station have now been supplemented by the additional roles of contract painter, electrical trades assistant, kitchen hand, mechanical aide, and apprentice plumber. These roles, plus a few additional tasks thrown in, have seen me being very busy over my time here, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Due to the volume and diversity of the work that I have been doing, it was actually a shock when I realised we were into the second half of the season already.

But it is not all work and no play! I have been fortunate enough to have been on three trips off-station - overnight trips to Rumdoodle hut on the plateau, Colbeck hut across the sea ice and a day trip to Mt. Henderson to assist with maintenance on the transmitter tower there. With a lovely walk around the local islands in the mix too, this has certainly led to copious amounts of pictures and fun being had.

This week at Mawson station we have been steadily preparing for a possible air drop to bring in extra supplies and much needed spare parts, and the potential for the expeditioners to receive a package from home. Last weekend was the Antarctic 48hr film festival, where all Antarctic stations have 48 hours to produce a 5 minute film including five unique components. We all had a barrel of laughs making our video, and massive thank you to Gemma, Aaron and everyone involved for directing, filming, acting and dancing Mawson station to the (hopefully) winner's podium.

Chris Bayly