At home

Interior view of living hut
Interior view of living hut with view through to the workshop; left to right: Close, Whetter, Murphy. (Photo: Frank Hurley)

In their own words

A great change had come over the neighbourhood of the Hut since the last calm spell. The former landscape was found to be hidden beneath deep snow drifts. Only the top of the Hut roof remained unsubmerged. Access to the Hut was henceforth obtained by a vertical drop into the north-western corner of the encircling ambulatory of the main hut and from thence by a snow tunnel to the entrance porch of the workshop.

– Douglas Mawson, ‘Operations and explorations of the Main Base party’, in AAE Scientific Reports Series A: Geographical Narrative and Cartography

In addition to cooking we also all took a turn as cook’s assistant or messman, whose duty was to sweep out the hut, see that plenty of ice was melted for the cook’s requirements, help wash up and generally do all the dirty work. Another job which came in rotation was that of night watchman. Owing to possible danger from fire, it was necessary that someone should be awake all the time. Then the stove had to be stoked, meteorological observations taken and records kept. This turn of duty gave the opportunity, if so desired, to wash out a pair of socks or so, or even to have a bath in the small folding canvas bath provided for the occasion.

– Charles Laseron, in South with Mawson: Reminiscences of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911–1914

See Routine duties for the Winter Quarters [PDF]. © Mawson Collection, South Australian Museum.

Our hearth and home was the living-hut and its focus was the stove. Kitchen and stove were indissolubly linked, and beyond their pale was a wilderness of hanging clothes, boots, finnesko, mitts and what not, bounded by tiers of bunks and blankets, more hanging clothes and dim photographs between the frost-rimmed cracks of the wooden walls.

– Douglas Mawson, The Home of the Blizzard

This page was last modified on October 31, 2016.