Activities associated with the Mechanical Section

by D. Blaby

1980 in Mawson was an exceptional year in the mechanical section in terms of work and programme. This can be largely attributed to the fine effort of the people concerned. Many thanks go to my three diesos and a special mention to Lloyd Fletcher, apprentice Surgeon and dieso. Others who were involved include the building section, the OIC, radio and met also deserve a special mention.


The main purpose for this section was to maintain the power-house as well as plant and machinery which was used in the field for scientific and recreational activities. This was achieved even though a great setback occurred at the beginning of the year when the Nella Dan was unable to offload about 50% of the spare parts for this equipment. As a consequence many parts were manually produced or rebuilt by the staff.

To elaborate further on the achievements of the year, there were fewer power failures than had previously been recorded even though greater power demands were met. However it would have been better if an even greater source of power was available, especially during the winter months when the demand was at its peak.

During the summer of 1979/80 a traverse from Mawson to Mt King and return took place. 179 drums of fuel were delivered in a record time of just under two weeks. This included a 97 km run under 24 hours when the trains were fully laden. The traverse distance to Mt King is just short of 600 km.

Four 1980 winterers were also involved in the Prince Charles Mountains traverse during the summer of 1980/81. 164 drums of fuel were depoted at Stinnear Nunataks as a result of this traverse. The traverse continued on marking the route for future traverses and scientific work as far as the Anare Nunataks.

On the lighter side of the workshop activities was a combined birthday party for Jumbo and myself. On this occasion we two Taureans let off a lot of steam. It reached an explosive climax when Jumbo and I activated Rusty's designed and built Bomb-Alaska birthday cake. Gnome reported that specimens of this cake were still being found in the rafters of the building several days afterwards. Meanwhile Siggy was seen in his army great-coat guarding his much cherished completely rebuilt Mole Mink from being splattered missiles.

David Blaby.