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Obituaries & Tributes

Obituaries and Tributes 2019


Vale- Charlie Weir

Station Year Season
Wilkes 1967 Winter
Casey 1969 Winter
Davis 1985 Winter
Mawson 1987 Winter
Macq Island 1989 Winter
Mawson 1991 Winter
Macq Island 1993 Winter

I received the sad news this evening that Charlie Weir has died. Many of us will have spent time down south and in Australia with Charlie and will have fond memories of him.
Charlie was a Dieso and Plant Inspector. His times down south included W67, C69, D85, M87,Q89, M91 and Q93. I know he had more recent periods down south but I don't have a record of them.
Charlie was awarded the Antarctic Medal in 1990. Note from the AAD website
"Charlie Weir has the distinction of having served at five ANARE stations over a 22 year period. In addition to the mechanical tasks on the station plant, he also did outstanding work on preparing vehicles and equipment for traverses.
Charlie's arrival at Casey in 1969 was at the time of the changeover from Wilkes station to Casey, a task which was made more difficult due to the late arrival of the relief ship.
Charlie has proved to be an excellent all-round expeditioner and has supported many scientific programs."
Charlie Weir's funeral will be at Woodenbong Public Hall, 21 Unumgar St., Woodenbong, NSW 2476, Thursday, 21st March at 11.00am NSW time.
Email received from Jan Adolph, 13/03/19

I wintered with Charlie at Wilkes, his first trip, in 1967. Charlie was well liked by everyone. He was a great team member, and highly regarded as a very capable mechanic. He was at our 40 year Wilkes re-union but health issues prevented him travelling to our 50 year re-union in 2017 . He was one of nature's hard working gentlemen. Rest peacefully Charlie.
Message from Geoff Payne, 14/03/19

 

Vale- Jim (James) Edward Bleasel

It is with great sadness that I write to let you know former Director of the AAD, Jim Bleasel, died in the Royal Hobart Hospital over the weekend.
Jim (James Edward Bleasel) headed the Division from 1984-1988. He oversaw a high-tempo period of the Division's history, with a major rebuilding program and increased scientific activity.
During his tenure shipping was a big focus. The AAD chartered the Icebird alongside the long-serving Nella Dan to help transport the cargo and equipment needed for the station rebuilds. But in 1987 the Nella Dan dragged anchor at Macquarie Island and was driven aground. She was irreparably damaged and eventually scuttled off the Island. It was also during Jim's Directorship that the decision to build our current icebreaker, Aurora Australis, was made.
Jim spearheaded a push to expand Australia's presence in Antarctica, establishing a number of small summer stations, including Law Base in the Larsemann Hills, Edgeworth David Base in the Bunger Hills, and a hut at Cape Denison, near Mawson's Huts.
With a background in engineering, specialising in electronics and communication, Jim was particularly keen to improve the communication systems in Antarctica. In 1984 the first satellite link, INMARSAT, was established to Mawson station and quickly extended to Davis, Casey, and Macca. By the 1990's all stations were linked to head office and Australia by telephone.
Jim also introduced long-term planning, improved recruitment practices including the first female Station Leader, the RTA of rubbish and a new science research grants scheme administered by an Antarctic Science Advisory Committee.
He retired as Director of the Division in 1988.
A Service for Jim will be held at St Mary's Cathedral, Harrington Street, Hobart on Wednesday (February 6, 2019) at 1.00 pm.
Email received from Rob Bryson, General Manager, AAD, via Jan Adolph, 4/02/19

I'm sad to forward this message on to you about the death of Jim Bleasel.
From my perspective Jim was always very friendly, sociable and supportive. I can remember some great "End of Voyage" dinners on the Nella Dan and Icebird with him too!
Email received from Jan Adolph, 4/02/19

 

Vale- Brian Turnbull

Station Year Season
Mawson 1984 Winter

Sad news to start the New Year I'm afraid.
Brian Turnbull passed away on 2 January. Brian was OIC at Mawson in 1984 and a long time employee of the Antarctic Division. Brian was the Ant Div Project Manager, working with Dept Housing and Construction (later Aust Construction Services) on the Antarctic Rebuilding Program.
There will be a Celebration of Brian's Life at the Kingston Beach Golf Club, Channel Hwy, Kingston Monday January 21, 2019 at 2.30 pm.
Email received from Jan Adolph, 05/01/19

 



Vale- John Charles McNally

Station Year Season
Macquarie Island 1961 winter

My uncle was a radio officer and captain of Army Dukw on Macquarie island 1961 expedition.
He passed away peacefully on the 4th March, 2019 aged 82 years, leaving his wife Virginia McNally.
He has resided in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney since 1980.
I wrote a biography of my uncle when I was 15 which talks about his time on Macquarie Island.
Email received from Michelle Howden, 12/03/19

 

Vale- Alan Elcheikh

Station Year Season
Amery Ice Shelf

Alan Elcheikh passed away yesterday (Monday) morning.
He had been ill for some months with leukaemia. He is survived by his wife Fiona and 2 young children.
I'm pretty sure he wasn't an ANARE club member, but he's been going south since the early 90's and was much loved by all. He was an engineer who worked on the Amery Ice shelf drilling project for many years, as well as with the US Antarctic program on Operation Ice-Cube, drilling to install sensors deep in the ice near the south pole. He has most recently been back with AAD.
The funeral service to remember and celebrate Al Elcheikh's life will be held this Saturday, 9th February at 11am at Millingtons Funeral Centre, 25 Mcintyre St, Mornington.
Fiona has asked people not to bring flowers. Instead please donate to the https://www.leukaemia.org.au.
Email received from Darren Harpur via Jan Adolph, 5/02/19

 

Vale- Kent Keith

Station Year Season
Macquarie Island 1956 Winter

Ian McLeod (M58) has just informed me that Kent Keith, zoologist at Macquarie Island in 1956, passed away in Canberra on 3 January.
Another sad loss of one of our early expeditioners.
Email received from Jan Adolph, 5/02/19

 

Vale- David Johns

Station Year Season
Macq Island 1954 Winter
Mawson 1957 Winter

It's not been a good start to the New Year!
Sadly, David Johns passed away peacefully on Monday, 7 January aged 89. David wintered at Macquarie Island in 1954 and Mawson in 1957 as a Cosray Physicist.
He was a long time member of the ANARE Club and a regular attendee at the Tasmanian Mid-Winter Dinner. In 2018 he was the last person to stand in the count back of "Calling the Years."
A Memorial Service for David will be held at the Uniting Church in Australia, 2 Swan Street, North Hobart on Monday, January 14, 2019 at 11am.
Email received from Jan Adolph, 10/01/19