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Mawson Newsletter October 1980

The Return of the Penguin
We have travelled afar for nearly a year
By the bergs and drifting pack
But a message is borne on a gale from the land
And the mating call hurries us back.
Back from the cool green depths of the sea
Back from the edge of the floe
While we rested awhile with never a thought
Of the killer waiting below.
We have gamboled and flashed through the curling waves
Through the drift and the driving spray
To the ice-bound rock we call our home
In the land of the nightless day.


October.... one of the more beautiful months, when we can refer to Antarctica as a mighty cathedral of glittering ice and painted sky, made even more beautiful by the re-emergence of the wildlife. The return of the majestic birds and Antarctica’s own ambassador, the Adelie penguin, makes us wish we could share this phenomena with our loved ones.

Each night after evening meals, several expeditioners can be seen on the ice trying to increase their expertise at their chosen hobbies. ANTHONY EVERETT and JEFF SIGSTON on their motorcycle and sidecar provide us with thrills and spills, as does SYD KIRKBY with his go-cart, with GEORGE SEIDL and GARRY HARDIE on their Skidoos trying to keep pace. ALF HUMPHRIES is building up a challenge with his "flying armchair". Not to be outdone, STEPHEN HARRIS with his ice-yacht displays an uncanny ability to read the winds. Rumour has it that GRAHAM PRYDE is not going to let him steal the limelight as he is now working on his own supertuned ice-yacht. KEVIN CAMPBELL has maintained an interest in downhill skiing all year and tobogganing on plastic sheeting is ever popular with CHAS TIVENDALE, TOM MAGGS, KEVIN SHEPHERD, DAVE ROBINSON and LLOYD FLETCHER.

Photography is one of the more popular hobbies and judging by the quality of the slides and prints, our loved ones are going to see Antarctica in all its subdued and hostile magnificence. Photography also introduces another hobby - that of making slide-boxes and many an expeditioner has been helped in this art by our congenial carpenters, BRIAN BALL and TONY EVERETT.
Dog-sledging has provided us with many an hour of relaxation and exercise. Our dog-men, TOM MAGGS and KEVIN SHEPHERD, have seen to it that we have two of the finest dog teams possible. Their run of one hundred kilometres proves this fact. At the moment, four of our men - DAVID BLABY, WARREN CANNON, GARRY HARDIE and ROB SCHAHINGER, are out on the Plateau with two dog teams en route for Ballieu Peak.

Our trusty Diesel Mechanics, DAVID BLABY, ROBERT YOST, ANDREW CROOK and JEFF SIGSTON spend many a heartbreaking hour repairing tired old vehicles so that everyone gets a trip to Auster Rookery. Ham radio enthusiasts, SJOERD JONGENS and KEVIN CAMPBELL, let the world know what’s going one at its bottom, with SJOERD making his own radio station. KEVIN CAMPBELL and PETER STICKLAND have just completed a busy but enjoyable weekend contacting many scout groups throughout the world as part of the International Scouts Jamboree of the Air.

We also have four fine artists here at Mawson. ROBERT PETRINI, GRAHAM PRYDE and ANTHONY EVERETT do canvasses and sketching and ROB SCHAHINGER is kept busy with Macrame. Musical talent abounds: BRIAN GAULL on electric piano, GRAHAM PRYDE, ANTHONY EVERETT and DAVE ROBINSON on guitar, GARRY HARDIE on banjo, KEVIN CAMPBELL on bagpipes, ALF HUMPHRIES on accordion and GEORGE SEIDL on bass provide the instrumentals, whilst vocals leave a bit to be desired. Subsequently some rather ungainly sounds are to be heard from the throats of thirty-one expeditioners.

ALF HUMPHRIES’ talents are displayed in the beautifully hand-printed menus that he draws up for each expeditioner as a momento of their respective birthdays. The physical fitness fanatics, ROBERT TAYLOR, COLIN McINTOSH, BRIAN GAULL, DAGUR VILHJALMSSON PETER STICKLAND and JIM VALLANCE are trying to prove that elbow-bending is not the best exercise, by ROBERT YOST and ANDREW CROOK are trying to disprove this theory by producing an excellent home brew. IVAN REID’s ability with a billiard cue leaves him open to many a challenge at billiards. By far the most popular nighttime games are eightball and darts. Unfortunately, in these fields, we have thirty-one champions constantly vying with each other to stay on top of the bumperboard.

Antarctica is not all play. Work must go on.... but the right blending of these two factors makes for a harmonious well-equipped expedition. We feel that this blending has been attained therefore making our absence from home worthwhile.

Love to all at home from Mawson.