If the Casey Red Shed is ‘probably’ the largest single structure in Antarctica, then the carpenters of Casey station ‘probably’ have the single most important job in all of Antarctica.
A Casey carpenter or ‘chippy’ plays a diverse role on station. Chippies can commonly be found building new walls, plastering, painting, cabinet making, renovating sections of the red shed, or working on our large cool room style doors.
When we’re not topping up the station supply of man glitter (sawdust), we can be found working on the exterior of the buildings, ensuring that they stay up and the blizzards stay out.
A recent project for our team was the installation of a new solar system comprising 105 panels. The first Australian Antarctic solar farm, deemed as “probably one of the largest systems in Antarctica!” So let’s take a look at these record-breaking blokes in further detail.
Conrad — Hailing from the town of Woombye on the Sunshine Coast, there’s only one thing Conny knows more about than pineapples — and that’s carpentry. There isn’t anything Conny won’t have a crack at. Most weekends you'll find him down at the workshop, making anything from photo frames to ice axes. If Conrad were a species of timber he’d be Blackbutt — straight as a die with plenty of character.
Rhys — The most seasoned of all of the carpenters and a bank of Antarctic knowledge. Rhys made his first trip to Antarctica in 2013 and has returned every year since. Rhys loves the pace of winter and spends his time writing, playing guitar and organising the station band. If Rhys were a species of timber he’d be Blackheart Sassafras — not for an inability to express emotion, but for his dynamic characteristics and finish ability.
Alan — The master of the plaster and a repeat offender to Antarctic seasons. Alan is a jack-of-all-trades and always happy to share his knowledge. When Alan’s not burning out the treadmill you’ll find him cutting laps around the cross country ski loop. If Alan where a species of timber he would be Huon Pine — at home in the Tasmanian wilderness and easy to work with.
Aaron — From Bangalow NSW, Aaron is the youngest of the chippies. Its Aaron’s first season in Antarctica, though his previous experience in alpine areas makes him no stranger to cold-climate building. Out of work you’ll find Aaron playing guitar, riding fat bikes or working on his hollow wooden surfboard. If Aaron were a species of timber he’d be Red Cedar — rare as hens’ teeth, hardy, yet smoothly textured.
And there you have the team. An enthusiastic group of carpenters working on one of the most incredible construction sites life can offer. Each of us from diverse backgrounds, with unique skill sets, that blend together well with each other and Casey station life.