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Mawson Newsletter, March 1980

This month's newsletter comes to you from the boys at Radio VLV, your friendly station for Raddies etc, and Wyzza's for Charles Tivendale.

Most newsletters seem to commence with news about the little red ship, so I guess that this will be no exception. Nella Dan left here Friday, March 7th, after an enforced stay due to a four day blizzard which Mawson seems to be getting quite frequently. Not all of the cargo, including some personal gear, was able to be unloaded in the time that Nella had at Mawson. Nella finally left Mawson after giving a "brush off" to an explosive proof iceberg that has been blocking the entrance for some weeks. Attempts to blow up the berg (two attempts – both disasters) have failed; score: berg 2, ANARE nil. We have been assured that the berg will rot away during the year, and if Nella cannot get back into the harbour because of it, the 1980 expeditioners will do the rotting away; either way the berg wins. It even carted away Chas Tivendale's glacio antenna on it's journey to the harbour mouth.

Our four day mini blizz caused a few problems for our intrepid duo of Dave Steele and "Friar Tuck" Bob Taylor, I don't think either of them have yet recovered from seeing three quarters of the aerial farm in tatters over East Bay.

Transportation seems to be well to the forefront of news this month. John Marsden’s "little red sled" was also left behind in the frantic rush to get Nella out of the harbour when the strong winds dropped. The Pilatus Porter, which is a very familiar sight around Mawson, was towed from it’s refuge in West Bay across the harbour (by the bargees naturally) to berth in the old hangar which has housed quite a generation of Antarctic aircraft.

The Mawson building crew have been doing all sorts of heavenly wonders with the "red house on the hill". They now want it called "heaven on the hill", but we think it should be known as "the house of the rising more sun". At least it sounds better than "hell on the hill". The new IPSO man, Dave Robinson, has settled in, getting "slushy" first week here, and nightwatch the second week; welcome to Mawson Dave, just like old home week isn't it?

Our flying crew, (with helicopters of course) Vic Barkell, Bruce Cameron, and Leigh have now departed Mawson and Mount King for the warmer climes of Melbourne (warmer??). Seems quieter now but the "Silver Fox" and crew are a welcome sight at Mawson any time.

Six more pups were added to our inventory of Huskies; however half of them did not survive. I guess Mother Nature took charge there.

The arrival of fresh greens and fruit gave Jim Vallance, our Chef, some encouragement. The remaining 1979 party and the "Larcies" from the Nella soon made some large inroads into it though. Speaking of the 1979 party, our sole 1979 man left at Mawson is our Russian friend, Nick Voloshinov. Nick is due to leave Mawson later this month when the Soviet ship "Somov" nears Mawson, and sends in a helicopter complete with hut and replacement scientist for the 1980 season. We shall all be sorry to see Nick go. Card games will never be the same when he has gone; my Russian vocabulary has improved immensely.

Warren Cannon and his building crew blokes are getting stuck into the new power house; alas, some of the wanted material is still aboard the Nella as it was unable to be offloaded.

The Mawson mobile traverse team is going along well, getting plenty of cold weather out there but they are due to arrive at the flesh pots of Mawson in mid April. A noggin or two of rum will warm them up once they get here.

Our genial Doc from Geraldton is keeping busy, he is cementing, "slushying", garbage collecting etc, (wonder what Medibank think of that lot?).

The expedition ship, "Cape Pillar" is soon to be near Heard Island. Many radio "Hams" are trying to contact the Radio man on board for a ham chat. At last count there were 12 countries trying to talk to him. (All at once too).

Some drift is starting to cover Mawson nowadays and Mr Kodak got his money's worth when it blizzed here just after Nella arrived, so he is still making plenty of money from the 1980 crew.

It's happened! Radio Blizz has some opposition in the form of Sjoerd Jongen’s own FM stereo radio station up at Aeronomy.

Jim Vallance’s gymnasium, now occupying part of the top floor of the new sleeping quarters, is currently being patronised by Rob Taylor, Dagur Viljalmsonn and Jim Vallance (claiming to be Antarctica’s fittest Chef, and I'm not going to argue with him).

We should see a rise in patronage following this month’s medical check-ups conducted by Lloyd, complete with his white coat, tie and bedside manner smile, and slightly assisted by Andy Crook as nurse and dieso.

Our other dieso, Jeff Sigston, has his hands full clinging to the seat of the D950 excavator whilst giving tuition to Warren (‘Lizard’) Cannon. After an exclusive interview with Kev Campbell, our raving reporter (Steve) went to Cosray Castle (or Mawson Heights) and found that all is quiet therein. Kev has his bubbling ginger beer and his collection of plants and vegetables to talk to.

Our intrepid OIC, Syd Kirkby, has been snipping around conducting the first (and probably the last) of the haircuts for the year, his first two Guinea Pigs, customers being Andy Crook and Dagur Viljalmsonn.

Guess that's about it for this month.

P.S. Almost forgot, congrat’s to Chas Tivendale and Mrs Tivendale for their baby girl, icebergs can't be all that Charles is interested in.


VLV radio Blizz.

(Stix "Peter Stickland", Steve, Dagur and Tom.)