Station enjoyed midwinters celebrations this week, with a heritage lunch, a chilly subantarctic dip and an exquisite 13 course dinner.

Station update

Midwinters celebration have been the centre of all our activities on Macquarie Island recently.

All week we received messages of midwinter greetings from stations across the Antarctic and subantarctic, and a few from the northern hemisphere research stations as well. Many of us agreed that it was wonderful to experience the connection with other expeditioners from so many nations, all celebrating the experience of a long winter.

On Friday we kicked off proceedings with a heritage lunch, fittingly hosted in the Tas Parks artefacts hut. We donned outfits reminiscent of those worn by early expeditioners, and paid homage to midwinter past with a recreated menu from 1959. We connected with head office at Kingston, and with the other three station via video link, and a fun afternoon was had by all.

On Saturday afternoon, station was abuzz with preparatory activities. Marion was printing out greetings and menus, Justin and Rich were prepping in the kitchen, and the others were assembling decorations and furnishings for midwinter day. Despite a big freeze last week, our pipes thawed for sufficiently long enough to enable plumber Ben to fill and heat our hot tub for the first time this year.

We woke to a cold day on Sunday, with the temperatures hovering around minus three. We slowly assembled in the mess for the midwinter swim, half of us looking nervously out the window toward the isthmus, the other half keep a close eye on the meteorological observations panel. Fortunately, the cold froze the ground solid, meaning that our dash from coast to coast would at least not be hampered by running in soft sand. Most expeditioners assembled for a pre-swim group photo, and then promptly dashed for the west coast dodging rocks, rotting kelp and elephant seals to plunge into the surf. Involuntary shrieks and squeals were released, and the long run over the sand to the east coast commenced. Few of us could feel our feet by the time we made it to the gentle waves of the east coast. More squeals were let out, and the intrepid expeditioners ran for the spa and sauna to warm up.

Sunday afternoon was filled with the ‘Macca Midwinter Olympics', with most participants bringing along a healthy attitude of ruthless competitiveness. Virtual medals were awarded and our attention turned to preparing the mess to host our midwinter meal.

A white-wall restaurant was created in the centre of the mess, and we all assembled for a cocktail followed by a gastronomic extravaganza, the likes of which many expeditioner had never before experienced. A wonderful evening of a modern take on an expeditioner tradition was experienced by all, as we celebrated looking forward to the lengthening days, and future experiences together yet to come.

For the remainder of the week it has been back to work, taking observations, planning and executing projects, and arranging upcoming field trips. After such a wonderful midwinter celebration, everyone has a renewed skip in their step, as we wait with anticipation for the days to lengthen so that we may see more of our beautiful island.

Jacque Comery

Heritage lunch

To kick off Macquarie Island midwinter celebrations, our chef, Justin, prepared a replica lunch from the oldest menu on record: Macquarie Island 1959 midwinter dinner. We dressed in heritage style clothing and relocated the mess to the Tas Parks managed Nissen hut.

There was an array of delights from crumbed sausages and pineapple rings, to seafood cocktail, angels on horseback (oysters wrapped in bacon) and the true classic, sardines on toast! Many other dishes adorned the buffet lunch, none more appreciated than the strawberries and ice cream for dessert.

Special heating had to be brought in to manage the biting cold, as the store itself is merely a tin shed. On a number of occasions throughout the lunch, the driving rain and hail outside made conversation almost impossible.

After our lunch, we embraced the modern digital age by crossing live back to the Kingston head office midwinter lunch via video conference. It was really good to be included in the proceedings happening back home, and also to touch base with the other stations to see what they had planned for their midwinter on Sunday.

Rich Youd

Midwinter dinner extravaganza

On Sunday evening it was time for our last midwinter event. A spectacular dinner was prepared by our talented chef, Justin. Richard, the super slushy, ably assisted Justin in the kitchen and showed great dedication that culminated in the citrus delight that was the ‘Macquarie Island Cocktail’. It was a team effort with other expeditioners also lending a hand by hunting for serving dishes, preparing the tableware, prepping ingredients, doing the washing up and encouraging the chef.

The twelve guests enjoyed culinary delights over twelve beautifully presented courses. The exotic masterpieces included escargot (snails), rabbit pie, squid ink risotto, truffle oil, quail, haggis, gold leaf and a dessert platter delectable beyond description. We were immersed in a unique dining experience and for many of us our tastebuds were challenged with new and exciting flavours. Fresh produce from the station’s own hydroponics facility was an added highlight.

Chef, thank you for the wonderful experience and superb midwinter grand finale!

Andrea Turbett

Macquarie Island 68th ANARE midwinter dinner menu


Macquarie Island cocktail


Pacific rock oyster shot duo

Cabernet sauvignon vinaigrette

Bloody Mary


Sautéed escargot

Roast garlic, parmesan and parsley salad, sourdough roll


Teriyaki braised blue swimmer crab miso soup

Nori, tofu


Locally brewed Irish stout and beef cheek ragout

Potato and chive ravioli, rocket and parmesan


Slow cooked rabbit pie

Prosciutto, cauliflower puree and truffle oil


Lemon sorbet

Gadgets Gully premium subantarctic mountain water with locally sourced lemons


Szechuan braised duck dumplings

Tomato chilli jam, prawn sushi, salmon roe


Warm smoked quail

Potato dauphinoise, sage noodles and port jus


Wild mushroom and feta tartlet

Beetroot, rocket and truffle salad


Champagne and squid ink risotto

Seared lobster, gold leaf


Pan-fried barramundi

Saffron and lemongrass broth, citrus foam



Tasmanian highland whiskey preserved apricots, mustard cream, oat biscuit and single malt shot


Dessert assiette

Spiced sticky date pudding with brandy snap, butterscotch and cream

Lime tartlet

Mars Bar cheesecake

Chocolate and blueberry ganache


Mulled wine, port

Tea, coffee, chocolates and cheese

Macca midwinter olympics

The ‘Macca Midwinters Olympics’ was a seven round extravaganza of sports events enjoyed by all of station. Many tie breakers were required to separate the close results produced by such an athletic and competitive group of elite sports people.

Round one — Coits

This seemed like it was going to be an easy round. “How hard can it be to throw a rope ring at a stick?”, we all thought. The answer was soon revealed with only four of us managing to get a single coit on the post. The rest of us scored zero. The victor from round one was Dan.

Round two – Shootin’ hoops

The aim of the round was to shoot eight basketballs at the hoop. An element of difficulty was added by the mount on our hoop moving, thus altering the angle of the hoop with every round. A variety of throwing styles and varying degrees of patience was exhibited. Ranger Andrea’s ongoing training saw her sink consistent shots, whilst Nick, Duncan and Mark exhibited some secret basketball talent. Round two was taken by Duncan in a six round tie break with Andrea.

Round three – ‘Dartastic'

The aim of round three was to use nine darts to hit 20, ten, one and 15 in that order. This was a divisive round with people either nailing the points, or missing the board altogether. Justin emerged from the kitchen to take the round.

Round four – Putt putt

The skilled putters of the 68th ANARE skillfully putted a ball down a complex putt putt course in the hallway of the southern aurora donger (SAD), navigating such obstacles as ‘The Cat', the gumboot maze, the ‘Eiffel Tower', and Mick Davidson’s wooden things, to sink a ball in a bucket at the end of the hallway. Degrees of difficulty were added by the concertina doors installed on the 17 rooms along the hallway. Our resident golf semi-pro was deposed in an upset in a tie breaking shoot out, going down to the Ranger in Charge, Andrea.

Round five – Three legged egg and spoon race

This was a dash in subzero temperatures from the helipad to the Macca front gate and back. Much skulduggery and cheating was entered into, and slow and steady most certainly did not win the race. Mark and Anna emerged unscathed and victorious.

Round six – Ping pong

A first to seven knock out round was held. Despite a recent commitment to table tennis activity over the past few weekends, the majority of participants actually had no idea what was going on! Still we managed to hit the ball back and forth over the net taking alternating turns, and a victor was identified. Some of still didn’t know what was going on. The BOM team of Dan and Duncan took the round.

Round seven – Foosball

The final round was held back in the mess, with a first to five foosball round robin, whose draw was only slightly less complex than a wiring diagram from the space shuttle. Early upsets occurred with higher seeds being knocked out. First time players were finding themselves in the finals rounds. Dan triumphed over Duncan in the end, proving that dinosaurs really do have more fun.

The overall podium placing saw Duncan in first place, Ben in second place and Dan in third place. The real winner was the power of the onesie, with Dan rockin’ a dinosaur suit and Ben wearing a vintage wool number. Virtual medals were awarded, and the rest of us took our dummies and went to decorate the mess.

Jacque Comery 

The last word