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Mawson Newsletter September 1980
Greetings from Mawson, the premier station of the Antarctic, to all our wives, girlfriends (may they never meet), kids, dogs, cats and canaries and other family members too numerous to mention.
Spring is definitely with us, as the number of birthday this month proves. Our peerless chef extraordinaire, "Jay Gee" (Jim Vallance) was kept busy producing food fit for kings to celebrate the birthdays of "Stix" (Peter Stickland), "Bear" (Tony Everett), "Snoopy" (Graham Hardie), "Lizard" (Warren Cannon), "Steelo" (Dave Steele), "Shep" (Kevin Shepherd), "Terrible" (Ivan Reid) and "Chas Tiv" (Charles Tivendale) and "Phredd" (Alf Humphries) burnt the midnight oil printing souvenir menus for them.
At the beginning of the month, "Godfather" (Syd Kirkby), "Snoopy", "Steelo" and "Bear" returned from their mapping trip to Safety Island full of the joys to be experienced is spending two days "blizzed in" (in a tent with four bodies, unwashed for six days).
Towards the middle of the month, "Shep", "Bear", "Jumbo" (Graham Pryde) (*O.B.E. see footnote) and "Cosin" (Kevin Campbell) left Mawson with two dog teams on a trip to Kloa Emperor Penguin Rookery; unfortunately after only completing a third of the journey, they were forced to return due to badly-rafted sea-ice.
Mawson's professional sled packers, "Lizard", "Brutus" (Dave Blaby), "Shaky" (Steve Harris) and "Genie" (our Russian visitor) almost managed to escape from the station to take a replacement sled runner to the Kloa party, but the decision to return to Mawson was made before they cleared the harbour icebergs. However, later in the month, they managed to complete a trip eastward to Auster Emperor Rookery; unfortunately "Genie" had to forsake this trip due to pressures of work on his radar, and "Big D" (Brian Gaull) took his place.
Our tireless radio techs, "Friar Tuck" (Rob Taylor) and "Steelo", despite bi-weekly threats to burn down the transmitter hut, are managing to keep us in touch with the real world.
Tom's children are all fit and healthy, gambolling in the snow and getting under everybody's feet (in reality they are Vida's pups, but it's hard to tell when you hear Tom talking about them).
*(Overgrown Boy Electrician)
Down in the depths of the Diesos' workshop the boys have been kept busy too. The "Gnome" (Andy Crook) has just finished rebuilding the jeep, which now looks like a refugee from the African Veldt, with its roll bars and tiger stripes, and "Siggo" (Jeff Sigston) has recreated a "half-track" tractor. Of course "Rusty" (Robert Yost) (Mawson's singles pool champion 1980) was usually found either throwing his arms up in despair, muttering to himself, or crawling about the tracks of another D5 which he has put back into good running order.
Several approaches marker beacons have been either replaced or repainted over the last few months by "Weather" (Robert Schahinger), "K.C.M.G" (George Seidl), "Raincoat" (Colin McIntosh), "50/50" (Dr. Fletcher) (Mawson's welding instructor and sometimes Doctor) "Chas Tiv" and "Phredd" somehow "misplaced" one of the islands, (who couldn't read the compass?) and had to relocate the drum marker from Paralactic Island onto Azimuth Island (tsk, tsk).
On his recent trip to Auster Rookery, "Big D" unearthed some cigarettes at Macey Island depot and brought them back to Mawson, earning the gratitude of the many non-Marlboro (ugh) smokers here.
"Nobby" (Rob Petrini), our captive artist has immortalised his art with a mural on the wall of the Ipso office, and "Sojo" our softly-spoken electronics engineer is rarely seen these days, as all his spare time is spent on the ham radio talking to other hams all over the world.
Meanwhile the Mawson Inebriates Cup may be awarded to Dagur our sober, non-drinking radio-op, who is occasionally heard gargling the Icelandic National Anthem (la-la-la-la-la) in the early hours of the morning.
A low-flying Adelie Penguin the other day reported sighting a nude sunbather on the outer reaches of West Arm, the temperature at the time was -150. Subsequent investigation by our roving reporter discovered that our captive Glacio, "Chas Tiv", was the culprit. He said that his goose pimples complained of the cold, and he was upset by a number of "peeping tom" penguins, so he hurriedly dressed.
Elsewhere of the station, our intrepid doctor, "50/50", was heard complaining of sunburn in "uncomfortable places". He had been trying to get an even suntan on his back and on his legs, using a sun lamp, but overdid the cooking.
"Father" (Brian Ball) was heard mumbling through his beard and piles of wood-shavings whilst building a new, lighter, faster, G.T. Model super dog sled, (he keeps muttering about "shaved runners", "lightweight bridges" and "G.T. stripes".
Our atmosphere physicist, "Drobbo", (Dave Robinson) has just finished knitting a "supa dupa" beanie, and is madly soliciting orders for more.
"Terrible" (otherwise known as Doctor Reid) is ecstatic, he has finally got his high-resolution Fabry-Perot interferometer known generally as "the big green thing" working.
"Bear", Lloyd, "Jumbo" and "Drobbo" spent a weekend at Rumdoodle Peak to take photos whilst "Drobbo" and "Bear" drove around to the south of the North Masson Ranges in the mole mink, with the "Bear" taking several $1,000" photos.
This epistle is brought to your notice under the auspices of "Water Watch Plumbing Inc." and "Resistance Electrics Inc." (divisions of Mawson Enterprises Ltd.).
Quote of the year: "It's very hard to be rational in the Public Service" (Anon.).
With love and best wishes to all our families and friends.
Sigh..... roll on Nella Dan.