Tradie lands really cool job
Monday, 15th January, 2018
By Myles Burt
While everyone back home had been sweating through a heatwave, Broken Hill’s Shane Mann is cooling right down as an expedition mechanic at Casey Station in Antarctica.
Mr Mann worked for Cav Power and had been applying for positions on the frozen research base for years until finally being given the once in a lifetime opportunity this year.
Now he is an expedition mechanic and over the winter period he will be a mechanical supervisor in a place where temperatures will drop to around minus 35 degrees.
He said Casey Station hosted a diverse group of people from places like Queensland, Western Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Most came from mining, civil, farming and military backgrounds and, like himself, wanted to experience something very different.
“With the community side of it, you’re not really alone,” Mr Mann said. “You’re not very isolated.”
He had to do survival and field training that involved sleeping outside with only a sleeping bag, or “bivvy bag”, for protection. He said that he was now finding it very easy to climatise and looking forward to the Mid-Summer Swim on Australia Day, where station workers have a quick dip in the freezing glacial waters.
“Apparently everyone just runs in and runs out - that’s how cold it is.”
Mr Mann is also tasked with hauling cargo and escorting university research teams from the Station Airfield 80kms away.
For this he has to relying upon technology to navigate the icy desert.
“There’s no roads - it’s all GPS.”
He said he’s seen Adelie penguins, seals, Antarctic bird life but was still waiting to see a pod of whales to enter Newcomb Bay.
“You’ll be doing your job and then a couple of penguins will just wander past.”
The Australian Antarctic Division is now looking to fill 150 positions at their three Antarctic Stations and Macquarie Island Station.
Chefs, station leaders, tradespeople, engineers, IT and communications operators are all wanted for four to 18 months stints.