Blizzard - Mawson`s Huts Foundation
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THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE MAWSON’S HUTS FOUNDATION
issue 2 • JUNE 2012
top artist helps hut project
Award winning artist Wendy Sharpe
has joined forces with the Foundation
to help conserve Mawson’s Huts with
a major exhibition of her work to be
shown at the Australian Maritime
Museum in Sydney in July.
Students build scale model
Guest artist on board the Australian
Antarctic Division’s (AAD) flagship
Aurora Australis during the six week
Centennial voyage which included two
days at Cape Denison, Wendy worked
tirelessly to produce over 100 paintings
during her time at sea.
Architectural and design students
at the University of Tasmania’s
Launceston campus have
constructed for the Foundation a one
12th scale model of Mawson’s Huts
which will be used for fund raising
and promotional work.
Sponsored by the Foundation and
strongly supported by the AAD which
provided a “studio” on the bridge,
Wendy was exhilarated by her first
It will be fitted out by members of
the Australian Miniature Enthusiasts
Association (AMEA) whose members
will make all the items by hand.
Winner of the prestigious Archibald
Prize, Sulman, Portia Geach (twice),
numerous other awards and official war
artist in East Timor, Wendy’s Antarctic
work will also be reproduced in a book.
“We were privileged to have Wendy
as the Foundation’s guest artist on
board and she spent a day at Cape
Denison visiting Mawson’s Huts after
being flown in by helicopter,” said
Foundation Chairman David Jensen
AM. “The Foundation is very grateful
to have the support of the Australian
Antarctic Division which facilitated
Wendy’s voyage and provided a
“studio” in the meteorology room on the
bridge where she painted daily.
“Her work is just outstanding and
Wendy has captured Mawson’s Huts,
its interior and the Antarctic in a way
I have never seen. The exhibition is
assured of being a great success.”
Wendy is enthusiastic about her
experience and the work she produced.
“It was a fantastic experience! It was
incredible to have the opportunity to
draw and paint icebergs, penguins,
auroras and the unique light and colour.
“I was lucky that the sea was not too
rough, I might have been seasick but
as it was I could work from breakfast to
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oswaM on her return.
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All her work is for sale and can be
.www exhibition which
can now be viewed online through the
Foundation’s website at www.mawsonshuts.org.au. Some has already been
bought by scientists on board the
Aurora and buyers will be given a copy
of a book being produced of Wendy’s
Antarctic work which will be published
in time for the July exhibition.
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See the story on Wendy’s painted
fridge on page 7.
(Above) Wendy’s Archibald Prize finalist
painting. (Left) Mawson’s Room 1.
Gouache 42cm by 46cm, $4200
The students made the model from
Hoop Pine plywood during their semester. The work was overseen by LARC
(Launceston Assistant Research Centre)
which is also helping to co-ordinate
the building of the full scale replica.
“This was a wonderful gesture by
the students who have taken a
great interest in Mawson since the
decision by the Foundation to build
the full scale replica of the hut on
the campus before transporting it to
Hobart,” said Foundation Chairman
and CEO David Jensen.
“Members of AMEA have also
volunteered to hand make all
the fittings for the interior so the
Foundation will have a fully donated
beautiful model of Mawson’s Huts
for display at selected sites. The
Foundation is extremely grateful to
have their support.”
The Foundations expresses its
sincere thanks to the following:
UTAS students Eloise Coyle, Ben
Cripps, Jeremiah Dwyer, Rachel
Englund, Xin Yi Koh, Jonathan Ong,
Chivonne Prouse, Sam Roberts,
Isaac Williams and Tomass Young;
Launceston Church Grammar School
student Sheph Shaeedy; and
LARC staff Christie Denman, Louise
Goodsall and Dave Jordaan.
hut replica for Hobart waterfront
The Australian Geographic Society has joined forces with the Foundation to construct a full-scale replica of
Mawson’s Huts in Hobart.
It will be constructed in four sections at
the Launceston campus of the University
of Tasmania’s Architecture and Design
School and transported by road to
Hobart to the site generously provided
by the Hobart City Council.
Foundation heritage carpenters who
have worked on the actual huts at
Cape Denison will construct the replica
assisted where possible by students
at Launceston campus. Leading the
construction will be Peter McCabe who
has his own construction business on the
NSW Central Coast.
The Foundation and AG Society
have begun seeking sponsors to
fund the construction cost of just over
“We’ll be approaching companies
and organisations which currently
have an interest in the Antarctic and
also companies still operating which
sponsored Sir Douglas Mawson’s
1911–14 Australasian Antarctic
Expedition (AAE),” explained the
Foundation’s Chairman and CEO
“There are about 30 of these
companies still very active in Australia.
They include Telstra (then Australasian
Wireless Association), Nestle,
Schweppes, Cadburys, CSR, Horlicks,
ANZ (when it began as the Bank of
Australasia) and the National Mutual
Life Association of Australia which
provided a special insurance policy for
each of Mawson’s expeditioners.”
Sponsors will be recognised in many
ways, including promotional space in
a special publication about Mawson,
the work of his expedition and the
conservation project which will be
given to all replica visitors.
The replica will be constructed of Baltic
Pine – from exactly the same source in
Finland as the original timber used by
Mawson – and Oregon pine. All the
timber used will be exactly the same
dimensions as that used on the hut at
It will operate as a museum and be
fitted out to replicate the interior as it
was when occupied by the AAE during
PAGE 2 » The Blizzard
“As a pre-eminent adventurer/scientist,
Douglas Mawson is one of the AG
Society’s touchstone heroes, and we’re
thrilled to be joining the Foundation on
this fabulous project,” said AG Society
treasurer and Australian Geographic
editor Ian Connellan.
a sHowplace of austRalian antaRctica, adventuRe & science
“We think that the replica will be one
of Australia’s finest specialist museums
and we’re working overtime to see this
Sponsors will be recognised in many
ways, including promotional space in
a special publication about Mawson,
the work of his expedition and the
conservation project which will be
given to all replica visitors.
As we went to press, AG Society patron
Dick Smith and the Society itself made
the first cash donations – of $10,000
each – to the replica fund.
The prospectus for the Marson’s Hut
It is planned for work to begin in July.
AAE Commemorative Medallions
The Limited Edition set of the AAE medallion. Just 150 have been produced – cost $215.
Limited commemorative numbers of
Medallions produced by the Royal
Australian Mint specially for the
Foundation to mark the Centenary of
the 1911–14 Australasian Antarctic
Expedition (AAE) led by Sir Douglas
Mawson are now available.
They are a .999 per cent fine silver proof
medallion weighing half an ounce ($105)
of which only 250 will be produced and
a proof like cupro/nickel ($44.50) of
which only 250 will be produced.
Numbered certificates of authenticity from
the Mint are provided with all medallions.
A limited edition set of just 150 of both
medallions are available, framed with
the personal signatures of Mawson’s
two daughters (Jessica and Patricia, both
deceased) and the late Sir Edmund Hillary.
These were signed for the Foundation
when it was launched in 1997. The
edition has almost sold out but a few
remain at $215 and those interested are
urged to place an order quickly.
These are a wonderful collector’s
item with all proceeds going to the
conservation of Mawson’s Huts.
AAE Centenary Celebration Voyage
It was a truly marvellous experience
and incredible privilege to be part of
the very small group invited ashore
to take part in the celebrations. There
was an added bonus however, as no
sooner had Marty, Ian and Christian
‘Psycho’ Gallagher been dropped
ashore, than a fog descended on the
Aurora Australis, stopping helicopter
operations for the next two days. This
window gave the small team the time
to undertake essential conservation
work at the site, most importantly the
replacement of two skylight covers that
were missing from the workshop roof.
In addition, the external and internal
condition of the huts was documented,
minor snow ingress recorded and
environmental and vibration data
loggers were downloaded and
reprogrammed to log for another year.
‘Stay’ the unofficial Antarctic Division
mascot, travelling ambassador and
caretaker was also settled into the
Sorensen field hut where he will spend
the 2012 winter, patiently waiting for
the next MHF relief party.
The official centenary celebrations
commenced early on Monday, 16
January with speeches from the
Australian Antarctic Division Director,
Tony Fleming and eminent historian,
Professor Tom Griffiths (ANU). Tony
rightly acknowledged the marvellous
contributions from the AAE teams at
all 3 bases, allowing reflection on the
somewhat overlooked contributions and
sacrifices made by the AAE teams on
Macquarie Island and in the Western
Party, so well-led by Frank Wild. The
Australian flag was then raised by
Deborah Bourke (AAD) and Dr David
Ellyard (ANARE President) with the
assorted throng cheering and waving
their hats and gloves!
After the speeches in the lee of
the Main Hut, the centenary party
The wonderfully smooth trip south gave
former Mawson’s Huts Foundation
expeditioners Marty Passingham and Ian
Godfrey the opportunity to put the Aurora
Australis and MHF cachets on the backs
of approximately 700 commemoration
envelopes, in readiness for stamping on
first arrival at Cape Denison.
Unfortunately the fast ice prevented all
but one of the tourist ships from actually
reaching their intended destination.
Only one tourist ship helicopters and
the Aurora Australis, also with long
range helicopters, were able to deliver
The expedition to Cape Denison to celebrate the centenary of the landing of the Australasian Antarctic
Expedition on the 8th of January 1912 departed Hobart on the 5th of January 2012 aboard the Aurora
Australis, arriving at the fast ice edge 20 kilometres out from Cape Denison on the 10th of January.
trekked up to Proclamation Hill, where
Tony Fleming unveiled a plaque to
commemorate the centenary. A time
capsule was then placed amongst the
rocks. The time capsule will be opened
in 100 years when a new group of
enthusiasts will visit Cape Denison to
once again reflect on the achievements
of Mawson and his men and to feel
something of the sense of history
associated with this place, the beauty,
the isolation but most of all the wonder
and unforgiving nature of the pristine
Dr Ian Godfrey is head of materials
conservation at the Western Australian
Museum’s Maritime Museum in
Fremantle and a Field Leader of the
Foundation’s expeditions to Cape
Denison. He and Marty Passingham,
also a Foundation expeditioner, were
engaged by the Australian Antarctic
Division for this year’s centenary visit.
Check out Karen Barlow’s informative
web diary at <http://blogs.abc.net.
2011–12 expedition postponed but another planned
The Foundation’s planned 2011–12
expedition to Cape Denison was
cancelled last summer due to heavy
sea ice blanketing Commonwealth
Bay and preventing all ships getting
within sight of Mawson’s Huts at
that will be used to continue the
conservation work in 2012–13”
Plans for an eight person team
were abandoned just a week prior
to the scheduled departure from
Hobart on the French Government
supply vessel L’Astrolabe.
A total of six visits to Mawson’s Huts
were planned last summer by the two
Sydney-based Antarctic tour operators,
Orion Expedition Cruises and Aurora
Expeditions and the NZ based Heritage
Expeditions. None were able to
land their passengers or get closer
than 10 kms from Cape Denison.
Only Quark Expedition’s Kapitan
Khlebnikov with long-range helicopters
“It was obviously the right call but
a difficult one being the Centenary
year,“ explained the Foundation
Chairman David Jensen. “The
decision saved precious funding
The ice cover, caused by a large ice
berg at the entrance to Commonwealth
Bay, also prevented several hundred
passengers on board cruise ships
reaching the huts this summer.
on board managed to get some of
its passengers ashore from over 20
kms out; they were there for just a few
hours before blizzard conditions forced
a quick retreat.
The Australian Antarctic Division’s
supply and research vessel Aurora
Australis with Director Tony Fleming
on board and invited guests, also
reached Cape Denison by helicopter
and spent two days ashore (see
Despite not being able to land this
summer Orion Expeditions plan two
voyage to Mawson’s Huts during
2012–13 and bookings for these are
The Blizzard » PAGE 3
AAE RELATIVES gather for Centenary
PAGE 4 » The Blizzard
Of the 31 land-based members of
the AAE over 20 were represented
at the celebrations along with three
families of ship’s crew. Organised by
the Mawson’s Huts Foundation the
families were given at a reception at
Government House by the Governor of
Tasmania the Hon. Peter Underwood,
followed by a dinner for 680 guests
attended by the Governor General of
Australia and Patron of the Foundation
Ms Quentin Bryce AC and the Minister
for the Environment Tony Burke.
The dinner was generously sponsored
by Kordia Solutions, the Foundation’s
major sponsor while two of the
AAE’s sponsors, Yalumba Wines
and Cascade Breweries generously
On December 2, exactly 100 years
to the day that the Aurora sailed, the
families participated in a flotilla of
vessels in a replay of the fleet that
surrounded the Aurora as it sailed out of
the harbour. To complete the celebration
programme all relatives attended a
lunch co-hosted by the Foundation and
the AAD who also gave families a tour
of their facilities.
AAD Director, Tony Fleming, himself a
descendant of the youngest member
of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s British
expedition in 1911, addressed the lunch.
Nearly 100 relatives of members of the 1911–14 AAE gathered in Hobart in December last year to celebrate the
departure of the men who sailed into the unknown on the former whaling ship the SS Aurora 100 years ago and helped
shape Australia’s Antarctic history.
The Blizzard » PAGE 5
AAE covers attract world’s attention
Philatelic collectors and Antarctic enthusiasts worldwide are benefitting from the efforts of the Foundation to conserve
Mawson’s ’s Huts.
It produced its first specialised covers
during the summer of 1997–98
with the support of Australia Post
and during the last few years has
begun producing series of covers
leading up to the Centenary of the
AAE’s departure from Hobart on 2
December 1911 and their arrival at
Cape Denison on 8 January 1912.
Melbourne based Polar philatelist
specialist Peter Cranwell has become
the Foundation’s philatelic consultant
and has produced an attractive range
of limited edition numbered covers to
help the Foundation raise funds for the
conservation of Mawson’s Huts. Peter
has become an important member of
the Foundation’s small team and fully
donates his time and considerable skills.
Two postmarkers, a first day of arrival
for the expedition and a general one for
use during the stay, are proving popular
with the Post Agent being asked to
cancel an increasing number of covers.
The Foundation has also produced its
AAP Image/Dean Lewins
The covers are attracting world-wide
attention, particularly since Australia
Post designated Cape Denison as
an official Post Office in 2010–11.
Australia Post now appoints a Postal
Agent each summer who is a member
of the Foundation’s expedition.
Foundation expeditioner and Postal Agent Marty Passingham franks Mawson’s Huts’ covers
at Cape Denison.
On board the Aurora Australis carrying
VIPs for the centenary celebrations
were two members of the Foundation
The Foundation’s new website has
been launched to make it more friendly
and informative to browse. It also
allows visitors to purchase items or
make donations. The design work has
been done by Tom Synnott (www.
weareuntitled.com), a young but
very experienced designer based in
Surry Hills, Sydney who has become
an enthusiastic follower of the
Mawson and the AAE are such an
integral part of Australia’s Antarctic
history that its important school children
understand their contribution.
Rob Easther, the Foundation’s Hobart
Expedition Manager has rewritten the
History and Conservation sections,
giving more concise information with
“Mawson was the pioneer of
Australia’s present day operation
undertaken by the Australian Antarctic
Division and the Foundation wants its
viewers to understand that and learn
more about the important research
work being undertaken by the AAD’s
research and scientific staff based on
Macquarie island and its three bases
at Mawson (not to be confused with
Mawson’s Huts), Casey and Davis,”
“We particularly want to attract students
to the site and to get their views.
Visit our new-look website at
PAGE 6 » The Blizzard
engaged as special advisors, one of
whom was nominated as Postal Agent.
Marty Passingham, a heritage
carpenter and a veteran Foundation
expeditioner, was ashore for just two
days and assisted by Dr Ian Godfrey, a
Foundation materials conservator, they
cancelled over 1000 covers.
“It was an exacting but very rewarding
task which I took very seriously
knowing that collectors from all over
the world must have good strikes,”
said Marty (see photograph). “The
Foundation’s covers also generate
some revenue for the conservation
work. While time consuming I really
did enjoy the job.”
The Cape Denison covers will be
offered for sale through the Foundation
(www.mawsons-huts.org.au) and Peter
in the next two months but currently
being offered are a series of items
produced to mark the AAE’s departure
from Hobart and the arrival at
Antarctic fridge now for sale
Electrolux Australia has generously
donated one of its top range 520L
stainless steel Westinghouse fridges
for artist Wendy Sharp to paint and
this is now for sale for $8500.
Books for sale
Available through the Foundation
are the published diaries of three
members of the 1911–14 expedition.
Rise and Shine is the diary of John
George Hunter, chief biologist for
the expedition at Cape Denison. It is
beautifully written and was published
by his son William (Bill) to mark the
centenary of the AAE. It was a family
effort with Bill’s daughter Jenny Hunter
editing the diaries for publication and
his wife Cynthia also playing a major
role. It is available exclusively through
the Foundation with a $10 donation
from each sale going toward the
conservation of the hut John Hunter once
lived in. Only 500 copies were printed
with 224 pages and over 80 images.
Cost: $44.95 plus postage of $16.50
“It’s the first time I painted a fridge
and thoroughly enjoyed it as it’s in
keeping with my Antarctic work,” said
Both sides feature Adélie penguins
which breed at Cape Denison with
12 down one side and 10 down the
It will be on display at the Australian
National Maritime Museum,
Sydney July 23-–30. Wendy has
also produced a beautiful etching
titled “Mawson’s Penguins” for the
exhibition. Twenty limited, signed and
numbered copies are for sale at $450.
Macquarie Island documentary
Antarctic Diary is the “illegal” records
of Stanley Gordon Taylor as a fireman
on board the AAE’s ship “Aurora”. All
crew were banned by the Captain
( J K Davis) from keeping a diary or
taking photographs. Stan did both and
the result is entertaining. It has been
published by his descendants.
Cost: $35 plus postage of $16.50
Mawson’s Forgotten Men is the diary of
Charles Turnbull Harrisson, an artist with
the AAE’s eight person Western Party
which spent 12 months on the Shackleton
Iceshelf. Edited by Heather Rossiter, it is
an engaging narrative complemented by
Harrisson’s sketches and watercolours.
Cost: $49.99 plus postage of $16.50
The history of the AAE’s Macquarie
Island wireless relay station is told in
a 15 minute video now available
exclusively through the Foundation.
Filmed by Frederique Olivier in April
2010, one of a three person party
which recovered the remains of the
wireless masts in a joint operation
by the Foundation and Tasmanian
Parks and Wildlife Service, it was
co-produced by Frederique and Hark
Attack, a Sydney based production
company head by Jon Harker.
Peter Maxwell, Field Leader and
materials conservator, and Marty
Passingham, heritage carpenter,
were the other members of the party
who recovered the fragments, an
important part of Australia’s Antarctic
history, for conserving and eventual
display in the Tasmanian Museum
and Art Gallery.
The recovery operation which took
only a few days, was assisted by
the French Government supply
vessel L’Astrolabe and the Australian
Antarctic Division which has a base
on the island.
Cost: $35 including postage within
Thanks to Ricoh
The Foundation wishes to express
its sincere thanks to Judith and Jim
Andrews, Joint Managing Directors of
the Ricoh Business Centre in Hobart
who very generously printed the 32
page programme for the December 1
Centenary dinner marking the departure
of the AAE from Hobart.
Judith and Jim also printed the menu for
the AAE relatives’ lunch on 2 December
and earlier last year the catalogue
for the Foundation’s photographic
exhibition of work by Foundation
expeditioners since 1997–98.
The Foundation remains eternally
grateful to them both and their staff.
The Blizzard » PAGE 7
GEOFF HARRISSON GIFT TO FOUNDATION
The grandson of Charles Turnbull Harrisson, artist and member of the AAE isolated Western Party, has generously
donated to the Foundation one of his grandfather’s oil paintings and sheet of music printed on AAE official letterhead.
Geoff Harrisson who lives in Hobart
with his partner Regina, made the
offer to the Foundation’s Chairman
David Jensen at a special lunch for
AAE descendants during the Centenary
celebrations for the AAE’s departure.
“These are rare and valuable items
which will help the Foundation’s fund
raising efforts,” said David. “This is a
very generous gesture by Geoff and
Regina for which we are extremely
The oil painting is signed but untitled
Above: The splendid oil painting by Harrisson. Left: The sheet of music on Aurora
and shows four men and dogs hauling
a sledge. The words for “Rolling Home”
are typed in red on the A4 sheet of
music with two choruses at the bottom.
They will be kept and offered for sale
by the Foundation at a suitable event.
Both items are for sale through the
Foundation and anyone interested
should contact the Foundation through
The Foundation has launched a
campaign to attract new members
with four attractive levels of
sponsorship paid annually. These
are bronze ($300), silver ($600),
gold ($1250) and Platinum
Orion Expedition Cruises
has generously donated a
two berth cabin valued at
$50,000 to help raise funds
for the replica of Mawson’s
Huts in Hobart.
All levels offer membership of the
Australian Geographic Society
and these can be viewed through
the Foundation’s website www.
This is for a luxury cruise to
Cape Denison this summer
and all readers of “The
Blizzard” are encouraged to
consider this fabulous offer.
Published by the Mawson’s Huts Foundation Ltd
Level 10 60 Margaret Street
Sydney NSW 2000
ACN 077 696 649
Written by David Jensen AM
email: [email protected]
telephone: 61 2 9321 8242
mobile: 0414 333381
Design by Elizbeth Haywood
PAGE 8 » The Blizzard