Chairman Glen introduced Rotarian Peter Mentha as Guest speaker. Peter began life as a plumber, going on to own his own business, before converting to teaching plumbing in the TAFE system. Peter spoke about two working visits to Antarctica
He reminded us that Australia has four Antarctic bases – at Macquarie Island, and at Mawson, Davis & Casey on the Antarctic mainland, and showed us photographs of the landscape, base buildings and wildlife.
Through an acquaintance, Peter was encouraged to apply to be a member of the over-wintering party, and after passing the medicals, the interviews and the psychological tests, he was successful in spending 1979 on Macquarie Island, temperature range -2 to 9C and 1982 at Mawson Base, -35 to 3C, during which time he also visited Davis Base.
As a plumber Peter’s primary tasks related to supplying water to the base by melting ice and dealing with waste water. The base buildings were heated by circulated hot water, these days called hydronic heating, the heat source being large diesel engines used to produce power. Peter took us through the wide range of animals which inhabit the area, with illustrations of many.
He also spoke about life on the base, emphasising special activities which occur at Christmas, New Year and Mid-winter, and of the various tasks which are carried by the scientific staff. All in all, it was an interesting overview of life in a very As well as the visual images shown, in different locations. Peter had on display several items of clothing and footwear he had used.
Peter was thanked by Chairman Glen, after he had answered several questions from members.