Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Office at the End of the Earth; Graham Cook's Cool Career Ensures He Enjoys the Best of Both Worlds

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Office at the End of the Earth; Graham Cook's Cool Career Ensures He Enjoys the Best of Both Worlds

Article excerpt

Byline: Lesley Apps lesley.apps@dailyexaminer.com.au

LIVING and working in Antarctica has to be one of the most fascinating career options out there and Clarence-based station manager Graham Cook is here to spruik it when he delivers a talk on it at Grafton Regional Gallery tomorrow .

But first things first, there are some serious questions to ask before you sign up to what is basically 18 months in one of the most isolated locations on the planet.

So do you guys need fridges down there?

"Yes we do," Graham laughs. "Otherwise everything freezes. And you can't drink frozen beer.

"We do enjoy a good social life down there. It's not all about work."

Graham has spent the past 10 years working in the vast frozen environment of Antarctica, spending 18 months away from home at a time then six months off back in the Clarence.

"Generally you spend about 12 months on the ice and a few months doing pre-departure training and then debriefing on your return. I've been station leader, the equivalent of general manager, in all three of our stations Mawson, Davis and Casey."

The exhibition Graham will be promoting and speaking about is Traversing Antarctica: The Australian Experience, acknowledging 100 Years of this country's presence in the region. It was officially opened last night and Graham's talk will be presented tomorrow from 11am.

Graham said the pioneering period a century ago was known as the heroic era, 1911-1915, when Charles Mawson first arrived and stayed over a winter.

He said Australians continued to visit over the years, establishing our first permanent station there in 1954 named after the legendary explorer. "A lot hasn't changed since then but we do have many more comforts down there now. It's not five-star but it's close."

He was aware the exhibition was coming to Grafton so was a shoo-in for guest speaker since he lived at Glenugie.

He said it was a great display featuring interactive displays, historical photographs and information and some interesting items of taxidermy so you can see what the wildlife is like.

"The kids will really enjoy it as it's entertaining as well as educational. …

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