Today a few of us are lucky enough to head “Off Station” on what we call a Jolly, (recreation time off station). We jump in the IRB’s and head across the bay to the abandoned Wilks Station. Wilks was originally established by the U.S. on the on the 29th of January 1957 then handed over to Australia on the 7th of February 1959. Australia used the station until 1969 when the new Casey Station was occupied.
Once at Wilks we make the walk through the ruins of this unique part of Australia’s Antarctic heritage. You can see so many buildings completely buried in ice and snow, with just their roofs peaking through the surface. It was amazing to think that there used to be a complete working station here, now hidden below years of snow. We make it the hut that will be our home for the night, the famous Wilks Hilton. Its an old Transmitter hut and now acts as one of the favourite recreation huts for expeditioner’s from Casey. The hut oozes character and charm of yesteryear. We settle in and head out to explore the station.
I could easily spends days walking around these old remains, it was just incredible to see parts of buildings that used to house expeditions back in the early days of Antarctic Research. It gave me a little insight into what it might of been like here back in the 60’s. Now days we have WiFi, phones, Radio comms back to Australia, ducted heating, we even have a spa. These expeditions back in the 60’s were made of much tougher fibre then any of us.
After many hours of exploring and deep discussions with my mates about how it might of been like to be here we sit down to watch the sunset over Casey. I had another Antarctic moment on that rocky outcrop. I am sitting here, at an Abandoned Research Station in Antarctica, watching the sunset. How did I get here? How did a this bloke from the Girrawheen end up working as en Electrician in Antarctica?
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One Life, One Search,