My Life and Work in the Antarctic

by Warren Cannon (Liz)

The reason why we have builders at the station is to maintain the old buildings as well as undertake the new rebuilding programme. This is a ten year programme costing many millions of dollars which is to be divided between the three stations.

I was fortunate to have been chosen as the foreman of the building programme at Mawson, 1980. The builders consisted of Tony Everett (The Bear) and Brian Ball (Father), both carpenters; Graham Pryde (Jumbo) and Alf Humphries (Phredd), electricians; George Seidl (KCMG) and Garry Hardie (Snoopy), plumbers.

Our major task was to lock up the "Red Shed", which was to be the new two storey sleeping quarters, surgery and amenities building. On completion of the lock up stage, the partitioning of the inside of the building was to be carried out but due to the lack of materials a great deal of this work was incomplete. However heating of building was completed which enabled it to serve as a temporary drying room for field equipment, a gymnasium and summer sleeping quarters.

The new power house building was commenced. All pedestals and structural steel was erected. However this work was hampered by typical Mawson weather and consequently was not completed until the following summer.

Apart from work there are what we call "jolly's". These are trips out and away from the station. Modes of transport include dog teams and track-type vehicles. The most enjoyable trip I experienced during the year was an attempt by dogs to Baillieu Peak. The object of the trip was to re-map the area. This trip was abandoned owing to very large slots (crevasses) located on the ridges on the way.

One of the most memorable events of my life occurred during our mid-winter celebrations in a telephone interview with a Don Lane. As I like many other Mawson winterers, invited a celebrity (Don Lane) to our mid winter dinner, he responded by ringing me during his television show. As a result of this I was able to speak to my wife Lyn, in what turned out to be a very emotional experience for both of us (and the rest of the base). Then after the interview they kept the line open for us to speak to the other wives who were there - Mrs Brian Ball (Kathy) and Mrs Charles Tivendale (Margaret).