Another year, another innovation

Telephone from the 'Shack' to the Wireless Station
Telephone from the 'Shack' to the Wireless Station, on the hill, half a mile distant. A local production. (Photo: Charles A Sandell)

On the night of 7 March 1913, Ainsworth received a request from Mawson that the Macquarie Island party remain on the island until the end of the year. Ainsworth asked Sandell, Sawyer, Blake and Hamilton if they wanted to return home in April or remain till the end of the year.

‘The loyalty of my fellows was undoubted,’ Ainsworth wrote in his report later published in The Home of the Blizzard. Though any of them could have returned if so inclined, ‘I am proud to say that they all decided to see it through.’ The men had been looking forward to returning to a more comfortable life, so it was ‘a slight shock to find that the door has been slammed, so to speak, for another twelve months.’ The men recovered their composure in a short time, he reported.

Now resigned to another winter on the island, Sandell rigged up a telephone service between the Shack and the wireless station on the top of the hill. The link, using parts made by Sandell, took effect from mid-April. ‘An ingenious and valuable contrivance’ was how Ainsworth described it.

The buzzer was fixed on the wall close to the head of my bunk and I could be called any time during the night from the wireless station, thus rendering it possible to reply to communications without loss of time. Further, during the winter nights, when auroral observations had to be made, I could retire if nothing showed during the early part of the night, leaving it to Sandell, who worked till 2 or 3 A.M. to call me if any manifestation occurred.

– George Ainsworth in the Home of the Blizzard

This page was last modified on July 3, 2014.