This week our carpentry team compare the old style of carpentry at Mawson with the ease of today, while the warmer temperatures this week encourage the return of the Adélie penguins to station and also the wearing of shorts!

Out with the Old, In with the New. The next generation of Mawson Carpenters

After many years it might be time to put poor old Mawson carpenter, Scottish, out to pasture. Although he is ageing gracefully, like many of the heritage buildings here at Mawson, he is increasingly becoming maintenance heavy and needs to be refreshed with a little whiskey more often these days. Whilst he still has his uses, we are also fed up with getting beaten at darts all the time. Thankfully though, he has fallen on his sword, swallowed his pride, and actually let us win a few games of darts, so all is good. I suspect he is just being nice.

Anyway, as I'm not a paleontologist and have talked about the ‘Old Fossil’ enough, here’s some other insights into life as a summer carpenter at Mawson Research Station this year. We are very lucky to have four carpenters for the summer at Mawson this year.

  • Scottish, from Scotland, but resides at Mawson
  • Conrad, from Woombye, Sunshine Coast, Queensland
  • Mal, from Orange, New South Wales
  • Stew, from Bathurst, New South Wales

Each bring a lot of knowledge and expertise with them. A great bond of mateship and team building has seen the carpenters achieve a lot of goals already early in the season.

As a summer carpenter, we were also trained in firefighting techniques back in Hobart to help out with the fire teams on station. Being a carpenter on station, you have to be a 'Jack of all Trades'. Each day is very different and full of exciting new experiences and rewarding moments.

Mawson has increased in size, from the early days. The infrastructure is much more comfortable and spacious these days. All the comforts of home, plus more.

Now, as tradespeople on station we have the latest quality tools and equipment to help make our job easier and safer in many ways.

Often, we think of the early expeditioners and how hard it must have been for them to deal with hardship of the Antarctic weather and environment. How they could only work with very basic hand tools and equipment. How times have changed over the years. One thing that won’t change is the sense of adventure and comradeship we build during our time here. “Magical Mawson, it’s home”

Our memories we make here will be our treasure when we return home. From your friendly Mawson carpenters.

Conrad (Mawson Carpenter)

Adélie's (and Shorts) Back on Station

This week the temperature gauges finally slipped over that magical zero mark and entered the realm of positive degrees! It was cause for celebration as the local Adélie penguins also found it perfect weather for wandering over from their breeding locations on the local islands to reacquaint themselves with the station and return home to their summer abode.

Local expeditioners also too the chance to revel in the summur temperatures shirt sleeves rolled up and shorts and eskies joining the daily trek to the bollard working site out on West Arm. Okay, it was Jess and as a Tasmanian, he has certainly been less concerned about the cold even during the deep dark winter than anyone else on station . . . but still.

Unfortunately alongside all this revelry and celebration of the summer, the flipside is the rapidly degrading sea ice around station. Cracks are now appearing in the local ice and in just one night during the week, around 20 nautical miles worth of fast ice (that is sea ice that is attached to the land) broke away, leaving only a few miles worth attached to the shoreline around Mawson. Very soon, travel will cease on the sea ice and any exploration beyond station limits will need to be up onto the ice plateau to the South.

Cat (Mawson Station Leader)