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Adventurer swaps hot Aussie Christmas for freezing Antarctic

Allan Cooney of Toowoomba spent Christmas day in Antarctica.
Allan Cooney of Toowoomba spent Christmas day in Antarctica.

FOR most Australians, Christmas is a day for backyard cricket, prawns and sunshine.

But for former Toowoomba man Allan Cooney his day was spent working in below freezing conditions.

Mr Cooney took up his post as the leader of the Australian Antarctic Division's Casey station two weeks before Christmas.

His job is to oversee the running of the busy outpost and manage up to 80 scientific and operational staff members.

He was expecting to spend Christmas Day "unpacking" the division's flagship, the Aurora Australis.

"The ship brings a year's worth of supplies with everything from food to gym equipment and just about everything in between," Mr Cooney said.

"The whole process will take about seven to eight days and hopefully, weather permitting, we can finish the job by January 2."

However, the ship got stuck in ice on the 25th and station staff instead spent the day doing other duties, including entertaining a tuckered out Santa and his crew.

"Santa may be a little late getting to us but we suspect he will be finished his other work and will stay a while to celebrate Christmas before the long ride back to the North Pole," Mr Cooney said.

"There is not much reindeer tucker here so they may have to get by on fruit cake."

On Tuesday, the temperature didn't get above zero degrees and snow fell in the afternoon at Casey station.

Mr Cooney is quickly learning that his year-long tenure in the Antarctic will be in stark contrast to his former life in Australia.

"We will miss New Year as well so I have decided we will celebrate Chinese New Year on the February 10," Mr Cooney said.

The Australian Antarctic Division&squot;s Casey Station.
The Australian Antarctic Division&squot;s Casey Station.

Topics:  toowoomba



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