Archive for the ‘Mawson’ Category

Spinning Yarn: #106 Ancient Pattern Unearthed – then Discarded!

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

 Well, I have decided that, as nice as this one is, it is just too big. I am not happy with it and I would not put this one up for auction.

So let’s have another look at that photo….the one showing the blue balaclava…..ok – this is going to be a replica – not a duplicate – and that makes the difference. 

In 2 days of knitting and I had just enough Antarctic Spun yarn to finish the smaller size! Praise God!

 (I suppose I could have gone back this year to do more…..)

 

Spinning Yarn: Not Baggy Green at all! #105

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The practice Balaclava is indicative of the original garment, yet with plenty of room for a helmet underneath! and Earmuffs, and a scarf, and goggles…. Not doubt VERY warm and deserving of being warn, yet who has a head big enough for this particular one?  Time to re-visit the pattern! …and Sir Douglas would approve of that too!

Mawson looks out in approval….#104

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Before attempting the balacava with the actual Antarctic  Yarn,  I have better try a practice pattern, eh? I’ve nutted out the pattern using similar yarn, that we spunl Melbourne Show.  Using the correct needles and the bulky white yarn, I began the 7×7 rib, to see how it would turn out. As you can see, Sir Douglas is pleased….

Now on to the real thing…..

Spinning Yarn: More Heart of the Great Alone #100

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

 Herbert Ponting was Scott’s photographer, equally skilled with an artistic eye and plenty of film! The shots he took are stunning and evoked the same surprising emotional response– Amazement! Incredulity! Recognition!  I was stunned at how much the ice had changed, yet not changed.

 So many penguin photos – gosh, I took a few of those, myself!! – and so many seal shots, but also the artistic angles. There were the obligatory “happy snaps” and the documentary shots too. Would anyone know or believe that men even went down to Antarctica, had these pictures not been taken? And would anyone have understood the immensity, or the scale, or the proportions of the ice, or seen the beauty of Nature at her most extreme?

 We owe these men, Hurley and Ponting, the utmost respect and admiration, and we owe the expeditioners more of the same.

Spinning Yarn: The Heart of the Great Alone. #99

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

It amazed me how much this exhibition meant to me. As I devoured each of the displays of fabulous black and white photographs of Antarctica taken 100 years ago by the famous Frank Hurley, I was transported not only back in time, but also back to the Frozen Continent, to see it through the eyes and heart of this skillful and daring man.

 Frank Hurley shared the huts with Mawson and his team, not only in his specialty as  photographer but also as a sledger. He man-hauled his fair share sleds and did his share of depot-laying, same as the rest of them. His company was valued on several scientific missions.

 His famous prints are the product of his labours in the tiniest of darkrooms in the most trying conditions of cold and cramped workspace. Some of his chemicals are still in his darkroom at the Huts, the labels still readable and corks still in the bottles.

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: Flying through the Southern Ocean #89

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

 Orion has stabilizers – the wings that extended below sea level, to help balance the ship – so our ride might have been a bit more exciting than we had expected with the high rolling seas, but it was also quite comfortable. As I lay in bed trying to sleep, I imagined any number of wooden ships of the last century – the Discovery, the Endurance, the Aurora, the Terra Nova – all loaded to beyond the crates lashed to the upper decks, ocean water streaming in over the sides of the ship, determined to stay on course and arrive safely in both directions. I imagined the sounds of the creaking boards, the shifting loads, the howling dogs, the scuffling and scrambling of horse hooves, the shouts of the crew, the barked and hurried orders from the Captains, and then heard our own Captain over the PA announcing that the stabilizers needed to be re-set so please either sit or lie down until this had been done by the hardworking and efficient engineering team.

 The rolling seas had exposed the wings, the Captain told us, putting undue twist on the engine when the water took away the resistance. Ten minutes was all the time needed to make the corrections and extend the wings once more. The wooden ships were not so well-equipped

 It was lovely being rocked to sleep.

This is the french barque BALEM from the cover of “sail.ie” , but you get the idea……..

Spinning Yarn: The Cross on the Hill, Part 2 #70

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

 Left behind!  All the effort, all the energy, all the hope….

 How would you be?

 Mawson struggled to the Hut, but WAS SEEN by the 6 men that Captain Davis (in the Aurora), allowed to remain for another year, on the off chance that Mawson and the team would re-appear.

 The men did not recognize him.

 They did, however, take him in and nursed him back to relative health, but it took the full 12 months. Mawson later stated that he would not have made it back alive to Australia had he left on the Aurora that day…

 The men erected the cross.

Spinning Yarn: The Cross on the Hill, Part 1 #69

Monday, March 14th, 2011

On the left side of the site overlooking Boat Harbour stands the huge cross, erected to the memory and sacrifice of Belgrave Ninnis and Xavier Mertz, who lost their lives on the way back to the Hut from that last exploration and mapping trip with Sir Douglas Mawson.

 The three men, as The Far Eastern Party, were on their way to exploring and mapping as far east as they could.  They were 480kms from the Main Base when they decided it was time to turn back.  As they began the return journey Ninnis and most of the food, most of the supplies, with the best dogs, disappeared down a crevasse. There was no reply to the frantic and concerned calls from Mawson and Mertz, and no way the men could mount a rescue. After 3 hours and no result, Mawson and Mertz knew they had to go on alone, as quickly as they could. Going back to the previous camp for the discarded goods, they found a tent and a few supplies, but not enough. To make it back to the Main Hut, they would have to eat the dogs….

 Canine meat was not nourishing – the dogs themselves had very little left to eat, and they worked and pulled till they literally dropped dead from exhaustion. Canine meat also has an overabundance (for humans) of Vitamin A, which became a deadly poison and from which Mertz suffered and died, leaving Mawson alone to struggle the last 100kms, battling extreme fatigue, starvation, thirst and cold – and the weather – and his body disintegrating.

 Days and blizzards later, well overdue for the planned January 15th rendez-vous, Mawson came over the hill at the Main Hut, only to see the tiny ship – the Aurora – way out on the horizon –leaving!

Spinning Yarn: The Past is Present #68

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I have stood in the spot where Sir Douglas and his team lived and worked for 2 years in the most trying and difficult conditions.

I have seen with my own eyes the workroom where the masses of information and data were collected, where radio messages were sent and received and where their supply of fresh meat (seal and penguin) was prepared and stored.

I have witnessed the living conditions of the main Hut and seen the signatures of the men who inhabited this place.

I have glanced at their novels and reading materials, read the labels on the remaining food containers, and imagined the warming wood stove in operation, heating the inside of the Hut to a milder than outside temperature.

I have been privileged to see the photographer’s work area and wonder anew at his skill with chemical and camera.

I have walked the site where the explorers made their magnetic observations, where life went on in spite of the 200km winds and -40º temperatures.

 I have experienced Antarctic history!