What to do?

Dish of bacteriological preparations
A dish of bacteriological preparations incubated by McLean in the hut. (Photo: Frank Hurley)
Hunter and Madigan dredging on bay ice, digging the trench for the hauling rope

Mawson’s original plans for the AAE had encompassed the possibility of a second year in Antarctica, but he had not seriously considered it, and when the ship left was as unprepared for it as anyone. No-one really knew how they were going to occupy their time.

In hindsight, Mawson noted in The Home of the Blizzard that ‘every avenue of scientific work was not yet closed’, pointing out the value of routine weather and magnetic observations and collecting rock and marine specimens. Most of them had paperwork to attend to – ‘working up the scientific work’ from the previous year’s observations and sledging journeys. And Bage had unfinished business with the stars, fixing the longitude of Cape Denison.

Then there were the daily duties such as cooking, cleaning, managing the stores of food and other supplies, night-watchman and attending to the new dogs (survivors from Amundsen’s polar dash) – and when weather allowed, outdoor tasks such as digging in the snow for buried cases and maintaining the wireless masts and aerial.

This page was last modified on August 5, 2015.