Archive for the ‘Ninnis’ Category

Spinning Yarn: Marion meest Clancy of the Overflow! #91

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Actor Jack Thompson is a man passionate about Australian History, as evidenced by his portrayals of Australian historical figures. He has brought to life such characters as Clancy of the Overflow in Man from Snowy River, The head shearer in Sunday Too Far Away and the Defending Lawyer Major JF Thomas in Breaker Morant. He is well-known also for his heart connection with the explorers Burke and Wills. It is no wonder then, that he was a guest speaker at the Mawson’s Huts Foundation Luncheon in Sydney, recently.

 Mr Thompson has lent his distinctive voice and heartfelt passion to a specially made documentary presentation, to be screened later this year, about the famous Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, and his expedition to the Southern Continent, last century.

 Imagine my thrill in meeting such an amazing man, listening to that magnetic voice, and spinning yarns of history with him! At the podium on stage, his yarn was one responsibility – that it rests on all of us to ensure that younger people know of the courage, strength and endurance of the men who gave us our nation and its territories. He fully supports the work of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation.

 And so do I.

Spinning Yarn: Inside the Hut #66

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

 Though now more exposed to the air than ever before, the main Hut still keeps some of its secrets. Crouching to go inside through the doorway marked in blue “A.A.E.”, you must watch your step on the still knee-deep snow and ice covering the floors. The Workroom welcomes you with its old wooden shelving bending and straining under the weight of the snow and ice in the place where, back in 1911, the radio and its operator used to sit.

Behind is the more modern equipment for restoring and cataloguing used by the Mawson’s Huts Foundation team who work in situ.  The plastic boxes are definitely from a different era, waaaay out of place in this setting.

I stopped and marveled at the structure and resilience of the building. I stopped and marveled at the artifacts left neatly in their places. And I filled my lungs with the aroma and smells of the last century.

Spinning Yarn: We arrive at Cape Denison #56

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

 When we left Dunedin, we had 3m swells and a lot of us were sick, still finding our sea legs. Four days later, by the time we reached Cape Denison, we were not sick and did have our sea legs.

 And God blessed us with a mirror calm sea on which to glide into Commonwealth Bay, and on which the Zodiacs zipped unconcernedly around flotillas of welcoming penguins and ‘bored’ meetings of weddell seals. We landed on the “beach” – Expedition Team carved snowbank – under the protection of the Cross in memory and honour of  Ninnis and Mertz.

 Activate the 5m rule. Pretend to be BORG. Do not approach the wildlife – if they want to investigate you, then that’s ok.

 Isabelle had the distinction of being the oldest member on the ship, and was brought ashore in the Zodiacs with the rest of us, but with the added equipment of her wheelie chair. She may not have been able to go inside Mawson’s Hut (the wheelie would not fit) but she did have some great encounters with the penguins, who were as fascinated by her walking frame as she was with them….

Spinning Yarn: This is the Truth #10

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

    It is almost 100 years since Ernest Shackleton and his men sailed the Endurance into history. And it is not quite 90 years for the rest of the Antarctic Explorers from the Heroic Age. Look at us now! Passenger ships full of tourists visit Antarctica in the southern summer.

 There is no way I am a professional explorer, nor do I have extensive experience in Polar Regions, yet come the end of this year, in December, I embark on my own trek to the frozen continent. I do have a sense of adventure, I guess. When I tell people I will be going to Antarctica, reactions are mixed – some say “Wow! I have always wanted to go there! Can I come too?”, while others say, “What do you want to go there for- it’s cold!”  I say, BRING IT ON.

 Geographically, Antarctica is still remote, and isolated. It takes a bit of effort to get there — many people make the first leg of their journey from South America, and travel to the Antarctic Peninsula. My trip, however,  leaves from our other neighbour, New Zealand. Dunedin, actually.

 Spiritually, Antarctica  is very close to the hearts of many people, including me. Australia claims the major part of it due to the work and exploration of Sir Douglas Mawson and his Expedition. My heart and spirit hear the ice calling to me, and so,  I GO.

Spinning Yarn: The Mawson connection #9

Monday, June 28th, 2010

   On the Australian $100 note, Sir Douglas Mawson looks out onto a modern world. He is wearing a balaclava that his wife knitted for him. There, in the middle of the forehead, she deliberately dropped a stitch, to show him that even imperfect things are useful, and important.

 I do not know if she spun the wool herself first, but the garment was made with the love she had for him, a connection so valuable and tangible – his lifeline. No doubt it helped save his life and greatly contributed to his safe return from Antarctica.

Spinning yarn in the practical sense is a satisfying thing to do. Creating the yarn and the garment is a process that brings you closer to the person who will wear the result, because it is made with love. Artists feel the same about their work, too I would imagine: they put part of their soul into a visible and tangible form, be it painting or sculpture, and it is there for all to see and admire. Spinning yarn has the added quality of warmth and personality.

Spinning Yarn: Who needs a Time Machine? #7

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Antarctica is the only place on Earth where you can walk into history and actually be there! It is a pioneer place preserved by God, and Ice, in the exact same way the Explorers saw and lived it. Their buildings are still there. It remains untouched.

 My connection with history is one of the heart. As a spinner, I am preserving a pioneer skill, one with practical application and one with loving connections to the people of the past. What better place to show that connection than to physically return to the location of the last century and join them there?

We all have a yearning to belong to something, some group or community. We understand ourrselves when we understand our origins. It gives a sense of security and of ‘one-ness’ that awakens our sense of purpose. My trip to the fozen south gives me an unexplained sense of Destiny. And it is exciting!

Spinning Yarn: Time Capsule #6

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

 The Heroic Age of Exploration focuses on Antarctica at the turn of the last century 1900- 1025. It is during this time that all the famous names that we associate with the frozen continent – Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen, Mawson, Dumont D’urville – began in –- shall I say — “Ernest” to visit and explore.

 Bringing the State of the Art equipment of the times, they began to unlock the secrets of the polar region while fighting for their very survival in the most arduous and trying conditions provided by a land that was encouraging their deaths. And some did die.

 There is much history in Antarctica.