The Living Quarters
The men of the Australian Antarctic Expedition came from diverse occupations
and various parts of the world, to a place so isolated and so far from civilization that there could never be
any hope of rescue, should there need to be one.
They came to do a job, in the cause of science and for King and Country. So determined, so
committed as to endure the often cyclonic isolation and barely livable low temperatures of this barren landscape,
which came to be known as the “Home of the Blizzard” .
Their wooden hut, designed with the help of Sir Douglas Mawson, took a few weeks
to erect, having first to blast into the bedrock to make foundations. Bolted down and at last laden with all the supplies
brought from the ship, the Aurora, the team moved in to its now small living space, ready to face the long,
dark, sunless winter.
A Bunk for each man, named and decorated by him, only Sir Douglas, as leader
could claim an extra space, a buffer against the enclosed and confined area. It was a place to plan and
The stove kept the hut warmish, staving off the onslaught of freezing wind and interminable cold,
the acetylene assembly providing artificial light. Dinner was at the big table in the middle of the room.
And all around us - the modern explorers - the everyday tools and equipment, the leftover clothing,
the books and journals, the unopened food supplies, the ghosts of seals and penguins -- shadows of the past --
tried to communicate their stories to us, if only we would listen.