1. List: MAWSON'S HUTS - Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay (Adelie Land)
    MAWSON'S HUTS - Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay (Adelie Land) thumbnail image


    Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay -

    Monday 5th Jan. 1931

    We were awakened at 7AM and told that the wind had gone down. What a difference on deck after yesterday, brilliant sunshine, practically no wind and feeling rather warm. We had breakfast then lowered the motor launch over and loaded her up. At 8AM we pushed off, there being twelve of us and all the gear so we had a full load. The run into the boat harbour from the ship is about two miles. When we neared Cape Denison, hundreds of Penguins could be seen on the rocky slopes, we turned a rocky point and a magnificent little harbour unfolded before us, it was about 100 yards wide and 300 yards long with ice clad sides, the tops of which were ten feet or so out of the water. At the top end could be seen the main hut, it appeared to be in good condition externally. Soon we came alongside the ice at the top end and then several scrambled ashore to make the boat fast. Steps were cut in the ice and we then passed all the camping gear and scientific equipment ashore. I returned to the ship with one A.B. to pick up the Skipper and a few of the crew. This was carried out in quick time and on the way back we skirted the foot of the high ice face, it towered above us well over a hundred feet high. When the boat was made fast I went ashore to have a look around. The main hut was well weathered on the outside but still appeared to be strong and holding well together. On looking through a broken window in the smaller extension of the hut it appeared to be full of frozen snow. Frozen snow was loaded into the motor boat and carried off to the ship, this was repeated several times until our tanks were full, roughly four tons were brought off in this way. Stu relieved me in the afternoon from running the launch and I had a good look around. Quite warm ashore tramping around on the frozen snow. I put the skis on and had a play for about an hour in the vicinity of the hut on a nearby slope. We made the last trip to the ship at 8PM, all came off except six, they were Sir Douglas, Hurley, Falla, Cherub, Kennedy and the Doc. We are going ashore at 7AM in the morning

    Tuesday 6th Jan. 1931

    Another glorious day. We were up early, had breakfast and left the ship at 7.30AM. The run in to the old hut is about two miles. When we arrived the two tents were still up, but the chaps on shore had gone about their jobs hours before. They had made an entry in the main hut through a skylight, snow was packed near the roof but the hut was fairly clear and one could walk about. Beautiful snow crystals were attached to old books, bottles, bunks and rafters, somewhat like inside a crystal cave. Hurley took flash light photos of the inside. I found an old Burberry blouse and souvenired several books. I stayed ashore and gave Frank Hurley a hand lumping his gear about and a large party set off to visit the Mackellar Islets (by motor boat) which consist of a group of small islands mostly covered by snow and situated about a mile due north of the boat harbour.
    I forgot to mention that yesterday at noon the Flag was hoisted and the Proclamation read out. Sir Douglas read this and the Skipper hoisted the Flag, after this three cheers were given and the Ceremony was completed.

    The Proclamation Runs As Follows
    In the name of His Majesty George the Fifth, King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the seas. Emperor of India.
    By Sir Douglas Mawson “Whereas I have it in Command from His Majesty King George the Fifth to assert the Sovereign rights of his Majesty over British land discoveries met with in Antarctica. Now therefore I Sir Douglas Mawson, do hereby proclaim and declare to all men that from and after the date of these Presents the full sovereignty of the Territory of King George V land and its extension under the name of Oates land, situated between Longitudes 142 and 162 east of Greenwich and between Latitudes 66 South and the South Pole. Included herein are the following Islands; The Curzon Archipelago, May Archipelago, Dixson Island, Mackeller Islets, Hodgeman Islands, vests in his Majesty King George the Fifth, His Heirs and Successors forever.
    Given under my hand at Cape Denison on the Fifth day of January 1931”.
    The Proclamation is signed by Sir Douglas Mawson and is Witnessed by K Mackenzie, Master of the Discovery.

    We brought along a portable H.M.V. gramophone and played it to the Penguins in a nearby rookery, they did not appreciate good music, but kept picking at the instrument in their anger. We also introduced Mickey the mouse (a three ply cutting of Mickey standing about two feet high). In the rookery he was received by pecks and beating flippers from the birds standing on their nests. Later on we planted him in a pathway that the penguins take when walking along the icy foreshore, and here he was an object of great interest.

    There were quite a number of Weddell seals about, and when one came near them they just rolled over on their side and opened their eyes sleepily at the strange human beings, then seeing that they were not hurt they promptly went to sleep again.

    It became so warm walking about, that soon we just had our singlets and trousers on, this warmth is due mainly to the reflection from the snow, and soon causes sunburn to the face and hands.

    At 1PM we made back to the Hut and set the Primus going. For water we scooped up a panfull of clear snow and soon we had delicious tea. Our food ashore consisted of Rex Pie, tinned fruit and bread, and it is surprising the amount one can make disappear after a few hours tramping around.

    After lunch I had a run from the ship at 3PM and the remaining gear and stores were put aboard. I then nailed up the skylight and collected a case of Shell petrol and a tin of Castor oil from the old dump at the rear of the hut.

    As to the condition of these twenty year old stores the surprising thing was the good condition they were in, practically no metal had rusted badly and steel wires were as good as the day they were made. The wood exposed to the blasts were well scoured by the blasting effect of driving snow, but the wood itself was in good condition, this was probably due to the cold dry air that predominates the whole year round

    At 3.30PM we had a final look around then all aboard, good bye was said and we headed out to the ship. It had been a most enjoyable and interesting experience to see Adelie land and also to gaze on the hut and scene of operations of the 1912 -1914 Mawson Expedition.

    At 4PM our anchor was raised and the ship steamed slowly in towards the barrier face. I went with Frank Hurley and Stu in the motor boat, we came along behind the ship so that Frank could obtain cinema of the ship coasting along the ice face.

    At 4.30PM we came along side and were hoisted aboard, then our course was set away to westward. Soon the rocky outcrop (Cape Denison) had faded from view and so our last glimpse of Winter Quarters and Adelie land. LAT 66 58 LONG 142 38.

    Eric Douglas Antarctic Collection (Gilbert Eric Douglas 1902 - 1970) - from the log of the second BANZARE Voyage 1930/31.

    Sally Elizabeth Douglas

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    created by: beetle on 2011-12-03 14:12:27.0
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  1. Research in Antarctic DISCOVERY RETURNS TO HOBART THRILLING EXPERIENCES RELATED Valuable Scientific and Geographical Data HOBART, Thursday.
    Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954) Friday 20 March 1931 p 10 Article
    Abstract: Emerging slowly from the banks of low-lying clouds covering the harbour, the Royal Research Ship, Discovery, this afternoon conveyed Sir Douglas Maws ... 2601 words
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  3. Mawson's Hut, Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, January 2001 / Doug Thost
    Thost, D. E. (Douglas Ernst)
    [ Photograph : 2001-2010 ]
    Languages: No linguistic content
    View online
    At National Library
    Mawson's Hut, Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, January 2001 / Doug Thost
  4. Mawson's huts : an Antarctic expedition journal / Alasdair McGregor
    McGregor, Alasdair, 1954-
    [ Book : 1998 ]
    At 46 libraries
    Mawson's huts : an Antarctic expedition journal / Alasdair McGregor
  5. The resource described by this item has been deleted from Trove
  6. The resource described by this item has been deleted from Trove
  7. The resource described by this item has been deleted from Trove
    The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931) Friday 31 October 1930 p 15 Article Illustrated
    Abstract: The vast organisation necessary for an expedition to the Antarctic was revealed by Sir Douglas Mawson. leader of the expedition, on Wednesday 281 words
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