Talk:British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition
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BANZARE 1st Cruise - With the SY Discovery 1929 -1930 - by Eric Douglas
Expedition first mooted by Australian National Research Council - Sir Douglas Mawson was invited to take command. SY Discovery made available by British Government.
Name of Expedition - B.A.N.Z.A.R.E. British Australian, New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition. Organization - Organization carried out mainly by Sir Douglas Mawson during the years 1928 &1929. Sir D Mawson, Commander & Leader of Expedition. Ships Company - Captain J.K. Davis, Captain & Master of S.Y. Discovery. Ships Officers & Crew selected in England by Capt J.K. Davis. Mainly drawn from the British Mercantile. Scientific Staff - Australians selected by Discovery Committee. Capt Hurley & Mr Marr joined ship in England. Prof Johnson & Mr Fletcher - Biologists Dr Ingram - Medical Officer & Bacteriologist Commander Moyes R.A.N. - Surveying Officer Mr Howard - Chemist F/Lt Campbell & F/O Douglas R.A.A.F. - Seaplane operations Mr Simmers - Meteorologist - nominated by New Zealand Government Mr Falla - Ornithologist - nominated by New Zealand Government Object of Expedition - 1/ Continuation of Sir D Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1912 - 1914. Embracing :- 2/ Oceanographical survey of waters south of Australia and South Africa and Antarctic coast 3/ Examination of Sub-Antarctic Islands 4/ Delineation of this sector of Antarctic coastline 5/ Study of Whaling possibilities 6/ Meteorological data, magnetic & cosmic ray survey. Note: Wintering on Antarctic continent never contemplated. Description of Ship - 3 masted Barkquentine. Tonnage approx 1900 tons Length 175 ft Breadth 34ft Draught 18ft Engines Steam triple expanding 400 H.P. Normal speed 5 1/2 Knots. Owned by Falkland Is Government & loaned to British Government for 2 years. Ship first used by the late Capt Scott in years 1900 - 1904. Built specially for Polar work & capable of withstanding enormous pressure when beset in ice. Entirely constructed of wood except engine room. Hull built of three layers of different wood. Sides approx 2ft 6in bottom 3ft. Bows solid for 10ft. Cross beams 10in by 10in oak 7ft apart and three beams in a layer from the keel. Start of Expedition - Ship departed England early in August 1929 & arrived Cape Town S Africa early in October 1929. Scientific party travelled by passenger steamer from Australia to Cape Town. Ship departed Cape Town 19th Oct 1929 & arrived off Possession Is Crozet Group Nov 2nd. Scientific Party ashore for one day. Foreshore thick with Sea Elephants. First view of Penguins. Departed Nov 4th for Kerguelen Is 700 miles away. First snow & becoming colder. Warm clothes issued out. Ship averaging 140 miles per day. Saturday 9th Nov 1929 - Sighted Kerguelen but driven northward by South gale. Eventually arrived off Royal Sound 12th Nov. Steamed 20 miles up winding Fiord to old Whaling station Jeanne D'Arc. Coal left here by a ship going south. Cardiff briquettes 500 tons. This Island belongs to France. Controlled by Governor of Madagascar. Size 80 miles by 40 miles. Wonderfully pretty, inland lakes and Glaciers. Mainland overrun with rabbits, seals scarce, penguins on Islands. Departed 24th Nov 1929 - Ship low in water with heavy cargo of coal. Heading for Heard Is (British). Early on morning of 26th Nov sighted Heard Is. Wonderful sight, rugged coast with huge glaciers running into the sea. Highest peak approx 7000ft. Island about 20 miles long & six across. Scientific party ashore, meaning to stay two days, weather bad. Ship puts to sea to weather out gale. Barometer down to 28.4in. Camped on a peninsular. Studied sea elephant, penguins, skua gulls etc. Shot my first sea leopard, savage creature. Ship arrives back and Party get aboard on 3rd Dec. Heading S.E. - Becoming colder each day, roughly 10 degrees F for every 100 miles south. Dec 7th 1929 - Sighted first ice berg. First honour to Capt Hurley. Dec 9th 1929 - Met first pack ice. Old pack, very broken. More ice bergs of increasing size. 1/4 mile long 150ft out of water, deep blue colour in crevasses. More birds in vicinity. Dec 12th 1929 - Pack more consolidated, ships progress slower. Whales sporting in pack ice pools. Navigating ship by water sky and ice blink. Sun setting about 11PM. Beautiful sunsets especially in calm of evening. Echo soundings. Winds S.E. Dec 17th 1929 - Moth seaplane unpacked & commenced to assemble m/c. Dec 20th 1929 - Heavy going in pack only making 40 miles per day south. Dec 24th to 26th 1929 - Held fast in pack. Waiting for ice to break up. Dec 29th 1929 - On the 80th meridian of east Longitude and near Antarctic Circle (66 1/2 South). Air Temp down to 28 degrees F. Dec 31st 1929 - Carried out first reconnaissance flight. Great assistance to ship. Sighted apparent land 80 miles to south over unbroken pack. Impossible for ship to get through. Jan 2nd 1930 - Ship steaming to westward Jan 4th 1930 - Nunataks (Rocky peaks) sighted from mast head 30 miles east of Kemp's reported land. Jan 5th 1930 - More flying carried out, surveying coastline. Jan 7th 1930 - Aeroplane damaged by ice falling from masts, spars & rigging. Jan 11th 1930 - First sight of killer whales. Land 20 miles away. Jan 13th 1930 - Steaming along coast of Enderby land. Antarctic continent showing up clearly, visibility wonderful. Jan 14th 1930 - Met Norwegian research ship "Norvegia" Capt Riiser Larsen. She was equipped with two seaplanes. Jan 18th to 22nd 1930 - Driven off coast by S.E. blizzard. Unfortunate at this time. Jan 24th 1930 - Off a huge rock we named Proclamation rock. Seaplane flown securing splendid photos. Landing party raises British flag on land and Sir Douglas proclaims this land for the British Empire. MacRobertson Land - East of this rock he named MacRobertson land. Coal reserve becoming low. Jan 27th 1930 - Ship headed away for Kerguelen Is. Last view of Antarctic coast. Mountain peaks showing up clear. Hours of darkness, running through ice berg infested area. Ship making good progress under sail & steam. Feb 7th 1930 - The distant snow covered peaks of Kerguelen Is showing up. Gale coming on from North west but ship makes Royal Sound safely. Feb 8th 1930 - Ship moored to jetty at Jeanne D'Arc. Overhaul of engines & boilers. Coaling ship in readiness to sweep south again towards Queen Mary land on way home. Happy days spent ashore exploring inland parts of this wonderful Island. Aeroplane assembled & floats. More snow around, especially on high ground. Fierce winds from west. Feb 21st 1930 - Farewell to Jeanne D'Arc. Ship steams round 40 miles to Observatory Bay. Visits to Christmas Harbour and Murray Is (Capt Cook anchored here in 1771 on Xmas day) March 2nd 1930 - Departed from Kerguelen Is. Winter too far advanced to go south so course shaped for Albany W. Australia. Mar 23rd 1930 - Getting into warmer regions. Change into better clothes. Longing for a feed of fresh food. Tinned foods are not satisfying over a long period. Eggs still appear on Menu but only in form of curried eggs etc. Meet P&O S.S. Cathay in Bight, fresh food & papers dropped & picked up by us. Very welcome. April 1st 1930 - Arrived at Port Adelaide. Unloaded scientific specimens. Departed Adelaide April 3rd & arrived Port Melbourne 8th April. Finish of 1st Cruise
Word processed by --22.214.171.124 06:08, 7 January 2006 (UTC)Sally Douglas - from the logs hand written by Eric Douglas
BANZARE 2nd Cruise - With the SY Discovery 1930 - 1931 - Eric Douglas
Winter of 1930 - Ship docked and refitted out at Harbour docks Williamstown Melbourne. Nov 1st 1930 - Ship departed Williamstown for Hobart, Tasmania where she duly arrived on Nov 5th. Nov 6th to 22nd 1930 - All stores restowed in their correct groups in the ship's holds. More coal taken on board than 1st Cruise. Fresh food:- eggs 20,000, fruit and live stock 19 sheep. 1000 tons of loading on board (Slight change in personnel) Nov 22nd 1930 - Departed Hobart and slowly steamed outside into ocean swell. Ship rather low in water. Heading for Macquarie Island 900 miles S.E. Dec 1st 1930 - At 1PM this island could be faintly seen and at 4PM the north end showed up clearly. Hills very green, highest past of Island 1500ft. 20 miles long & 3 miles wide. Sea-Elephants & Penguins - Party ashore at 6AM 2nd Dec. Tents erected on shore. Walked along shore to the Nuggets, fine sight, thousands of Royal penguins. Huge rookeries inland. penguins continually coming & going from the sea. Penguins amused us with their surfing. 4th Dec 1930 - All on board & ship steaming down the coast to "Lusitania" Bay. Visit to King Penguin rookerie. 5th Dec 1930 - South of Macquarie Is looking for Bishop & Clarke rocks. Rocks located & photographed. Several growlers or small bergs in sight. Foggy weather. 6th Dec 1930 - Heading south for the head of the Ross Sea where we have to meet the Sir James Clarke Ross (20,000 tons) to pick up 100 tons of coal she has taken down for us. 8th Dec 1930 - Numerous bergs in sight, rough seas had died away. Air temp 29 F. Sheep killed & carcasses hung in rigging. 18th Dec 1930 - Factory ship sighted, loose pack in vicinity. Sight whale chasers. Alongside this ship and coaling commenced. First sight of a modern factory ship in operation, rather gruesome sight, awful stench, blood & bones continually being emptied overboard (Norwegian & English Companies) Whaling Operations - Whales Blue - Normally 100ft long - 100 tons weight Finner - Normally 100ft long - not so heavy Hump back - Normally 50ft long Blue whale yields 90 - 100 barrels of oil. Six barrels to 1 ton and 1 ton of oil - 25.0.0 So whale worth 300 - 400 pounds or even more when in fine condition. Factory ship treats 24 whales per day or over 7000 pounds per 24 hours. (200,000 pounds per month - "Kosmos" - World Record 48 Whales in 24 hours). Ships this particular season expect to earn over 3/4 of a million pounds (six months work). Men work in shifts - 12 hours. Over 300 all told on ship. Chasers - Each ship has from 7 - 9 chasers working. Chasers are powerful small vessels 90 - 100 ft long. 2000 H.P. 15 Knots. Contain a muzzle loading swivelling gun for throwing explosive headed harpoon. Captain or Gunner - Earns 6.10 for every blue or finner whale. Earns 3.10 for a hump whale. Probably earns up to 2000 pounds in seasons work. Ships Complement - Gunner, mate, 2 engineers, 2 firemen, 1 cook & 4 seamen. One man on look out duty. Gunner & mate get little sleep, probably 2 hours per day when whales are numerous. Earns his money. Whale chasing is exciting work. Norwegians expert at killing whales. Terrific strength of whales, known to have towed chasers at 15 Knots for 10 hours. 17th Dec 1930 - Heading for Balleny Is. Much fog & mist. Ship to visit Commonwealth Bay (Adelie land) Queen Mary land & then to chart MacRobertson land etc. 19th Dec 1930 - Large ice bergs in sight, occasionally pushing through heavy pack (25ft thick). Seaplane - m/c shifted on to skid deck & assembling operations commenced. 3PM Ship steaming with wind coming astern, smoke blowing ahead in mist & visibility very bad. 4PM Ship nearly ran into big berg. No hope of seeing Balleny Islands, heavy pack surrounding them. Weather worse than previous year. Xmas Day - In wireless communication with Australia. Xmas dinner excellent. Presents given to all members. Directional wireless picks up signals from "Kosmos". 29th Dec 1930 - Alongside "Kosmos" (22000 tons) & taking in 50 tons of coal. Normally Discovery only holds enough coal for 50 days steaming in Antarctic waters. Cardiff Briquettes - Coal in bunkers used by Discovery. Special steaming coal, made up by special process in Cardiff England. Blocks about 11in square by 9in deep. Weigh 25 lbs, roughly 90 to a ton, easy to stow & handle. Used in previous voyages. 30th Dec 1930 - Making in for Commonwealth Bay - 90 miles away. 31st Dec 1930 - Blizzard coming on from South east. Ist Jan 1931 - Ship in perilous position, surrounded by bergs & heavy tumbling pack, terrific wind - 70 m.p.hr. Spray freezing on decks, all hands helping to set sail and keeping steam up. Ship labours in pack. Ship takes shelter behind berg. Wonderful sight, driving snow and pack. 3rd Jan 1931 - Blizzard now abating. Ship making in to coast. High plateau showing up. No mountain peaks in sight. 4th Jan 1931 - Beautiful day. Party goes ashore, visit to old huts. 6th Jan 1931 - Union Jack hoisted and Proclamation read by Sir Douglas. Use skis and crampons. Small sledges used for transporting ice to motor boat. Cases of old food & fuel collected. Kennedy carries out magnetic dip readings. South magnetic pole has moved 100 miles N West ie nearer to Cape Denison. 8th Jan 1931 - I have touch of snow blindness, very painful. Fine weather continues. 11th Jan 1931 - 200 miles west of Cape Denison, winds very light. 15th & 16th Jan 1931 - Seaplane flown. Land sighted 70 miles south. 16th to 30th Jan 1931 - Dirty weather, constant snow and mist. Ship hove to waiting for chance to get south. Magnetic Compass nearly useless. Var 68 degrees W. Termination ice tongue disappeared since 1919 (50 miles by 20 miles) No chance of getting to Queen Mary land. Heavy pack keeping us 60 miles out. 6th Feb 1931 - More whaling ships in sight. Norwegians told us there are 40 Factory ships and 250 Chasers spread round the Antarctic coast. Sun setting at 10PM. 7th Feb 1931 - In same locality as our furtherest east of last cruise (180 East Long - 40 East Long) 10th Feb 1931 - Motor boat & crew had lucky escape from being towed into heavy pack. Painter cut just in time. 11th Feb 1931 - Land sighted again. Seaplane flies over coast and drops the British flag. Lower temperatures 20F. 13th Feb 1931 - Flag hoisted on MacRobertson land. Fine coastline. Rocky out crops, mountains inland. 15th Feb 1931 - Killer whales pass ship. Another blizzard comes on. 18th Feb 1931 - Party ashore for scientific work. High rocky capes. Ship running short of coal, so we must head north now before bad weather comes on. 19th Feb 1931 - Last view of Antarctic coast (Lat 67 S Long 61 E). 10.30PM Auroral display (Aurora Australis) Moving and radiating bands of light, pinkish in colour. Top Yards - Lower & upper top gallant yards crossed to mast. All gear on deck not wanted stowed below. Ship making fair progress north. Winds NE to NW. 1st March 1931 - Lat 57 S. Winds south west. More auroral displays. 2nd March 1931 - Gale comes on from N.W. Ship headed away before it. 3rd March 1931 - Wind round now to WSW, blowing with terrific force (70 m/h). Huge seas everywhere, ship going fine but needs careful handling. Wonderful sight. Ship under bare poles making 8 Knots. 4th March 1931 - Wind & sea abating. 6th March 1931 - 1880 miles from Melbourne. More birds in vicinity of ship. Albatrosses, Cape Hens, Petrels & Nellies. Ship under sail alone, conserving coal for last part of passage. Plenty of work for all in trimming yards. 14th March 1931 - 700 miles from Hobart our proposed port. Engines going again. 18th March 1931 - South coast of Tasmania in sight, can smell the timber on the land. Lovely view after the weeks of endless ice & snow. 19th March 1931 - Ship steamed up D'Entrecasteaux channel to Hobart, arriving at 3.30PM. Given great welcome by the Navy. Especially Rear Admiral Evans. Left Hobart on 22nd March and arrived Melbourne on 26th 147 days out. Hobart to Hobart - Length of second cruise 10,557 miles. Ship returns to England via Cape Town. Two Cruises - Approx 22,000 miles.
Word processed by --126.96.36.199 06:08, 7 January 2006 (UTC)Sally Douglas - from the logs hand written by Eric Douglas
BANZARE 1929/30 & 1930/31 - by Eric Douglas Notes Observed On The Weather & Flying In The Antarctic
On Board the S.Y. Discovery - left Cape Town Oct 19th 1929
Notes Observed On The Weather October 1929 Winds variable until we reached the 40 th. Parallel of Latitude. Winds mainly from the North, North West and West, sometimes gale force and generally increasing at night time. We are now Nov 6th (1929) in the 48th Latitude and occasionally have snow, sleet and rain. Rain when the wind is from the north and sleet when it comes from the west. The Barometer is an accurate forecast of the weather in these latitudes. About one fine day per week and even then it is somewhat cloudy and always wind. The seas have been quite large at times, but no doubt they are moderate seas for this part of the World. The swell generally comes from the west and when the wind comes in from the north hard, a broken confused sea is set up, which makes it somewhat difficult to keep the ship from yawing. Mr Simmers (New Zealander) is the meteorologist on board and he is kept busy reading his instruments at definite times. When we were anchored off the Crozet Islands the wind came down the valleys form the snow capped mountains in terrific gusts which last for about a minute. These winds are cold. We were anchored on the east side, and of course the west winds meet the abrupt mountains on the west coast causing these winds to rise, they become colder and descend along the valleys with increased velocity. When out to sea these winds become steadier and warmer. Kerguelen Island (Nov 12th to Nov 24th 1929) We were here for 12 days (south east end) and the winds were mostly from the S to W. The sky always had clouds, mainly stratus. Very unreliable weather. We never experienced high winds as we were there at the most settled part of the season, but the wind would spring up quickly and snow fall without much change in then barometer. December 1929 Latitudes 60 to 67 South Longitudes 81 to 65 East The steadiest weather was experienced when we were well amongst the pack ice. Light south east winds prevailed, fairly clear sky, clouds forming over the water and generally blue sky over the ice. No very strong winds, no doubt due to us being a hundred miles or more from the Antarctic Continent. January 1930 Latitudes 65 to 66 1/2 South Longitudes 65 to 40 East During this month we experienced three Blizzards. The first one was of short duration (12 hours) the wind reached 65 M/hr in the gusts, average velocity 45 M/hr. The wind came in from the north east, quickly increased in strength, then swung to east, then to south east, remaining in this quarter and increasing in strength until after the Barometer started to rise. The Barometer fell 1 inch during this blizzard. Thick driving snow for several hours. The other Blizzards were not so violent but of longer duration (three to four days). After these blizzards, at least one fine day prevails. Beautiful clear blue sky and light winds from South east. When we were in sight of the Antarctic Coast on these days the visibility was excellent, and objects that appeared a few miles away were actually double the distance that they appeared away (Verified by angles and sights). Air temp near the coast remained round about 30F. Lowest Air temp at sea level 20 F. Four or five hours before a blizzard starts, mountains etc inland take on a mirage and later on their outlines become hazy, then a few hours later the wind and snow starts to come on. Average Barometer reading 29.5 Once we had a blow with the barometer steady and it was not until an hour or so later that the barometer started to drop. February 1930 We are steaming towards Kerguelen Is. The Air temp is rising about 1 F for every 100 miles we go north. We arrived at Kerguelen Is on Feb 8th after twelve days run from Enderby Land. The weather throughout this run was rather good. For the greater part of he trip a steady west wind prevailed with sky fairly free of clouds.
Flying In The Antarctic Flying was carried out only on fine days, generally the first fine day after a blizzard. Sea conditions generally ideal, sometimes slight ocean swell on, which made it difficult getting off. Air conditions perfect, practically no bumps, although some were felt when flying over the Antarctic coast. Engine ran splendid, developed full power and oil pressure remained steady (38 to 40 lbs/sqin). Machine controls gave no trouble and the machine behaved quite normal in the air ie stalling and climbing speeds. Lowest air temperature experienced was 15 F at 4200 ft. With the usual winter flying clothes on and good woollen underwear the low temperature was hardly noticeable. Of course our flights were of short duration, generally about one hour, and it was midsummer. Engine The engine would start up when doped with a mixture of 2/3 petrol and 1/3 ether. But generally it was heated with warm air (conveyed through canvas flue from the boiler room) for about an hour previous to starting up. Temperature of engine raised to 45 F. Starting then quite easy and doping not necessary. (Crank case in air vent covered up. Oil pipes lagged with asbestos) Kerguelen Island From Feb 8th to March 2nd 1930 Air temperature average 40 F. Much less snow about than when we were here in November last. Only the high inland mountains have snow on them, although several days before we left, light snow fell and the surrounding hills were covered lightly. Also the vegetation is much more profuse and green. No trees on this island and the main vegetation is thick moss like growth which practically covers all the small islands and in some places on the mainland. During this stay we only experienced two calm days and clear skys, otherwise very strong south to west winds prevailed. We had a full gale on three occasions, each one lasted for about 24 hours, average velocity 50 miles per hour and over 60 miles per hour in the gusts. Westerlie wind. Barometer fell nearly an inch before each blow, generally from 29.8 to 28.9. Flying was carried out on these calm days, and on one occasion in a fresh north wind. Air moderately bumpy on this day, otherwise free of bumps. Flying mostly over water and sometimes inland near the mountains especially Mt Ross 6500 ft for taking aerial photos. Machine behaved well and engine ran splendid, much easier to start on with the air temp at 40 F, doping not necessary. Engine ran smoother here than when flying in the Antarctic. Air pressure 36 lbs/sqin. On the whole few days are suitable for flying. Winds arise quickly and clouds quickly form. Against this is the ideal water ways for a seaplane or flying boat, shelter from any wind, smooth seas and even when flying inland, forced landings could be carried out quite safely on any of the numerous lakes. We left Kerguelen Island on March 2nd 1930 and a course was set for Albany (Western Australia). At present March 23rd we have been three weeks out form Kerguelen Is and are now past Albany and in the Great Australian Bight, 850 miles from Adelaide (to where the course is now set). The weather during this time has been exceptionally fine and calm. For the first week out of Kerguelen Is fresh west winds were experienced, with the sky fairly clear of clouds. The latter two weeks the winds have been light and variable, the last four days the prevailing wind has been from the east southeast, clear skies every day.
Comments by Eric Douglas on Sir Douglas Mawson - as related to John Thompson of the ABC and published in - Five To Remember - Landsdowne Press 1964. __________________________________________________________
No 1 - The Discovery. In the meantime, from 1929 to 1931, Sir Douglas had been the leader of B.A.N.Z.A.R.E. This word stands for British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition. I was one of the two airmen who were lucky enough to be with it, and we made two voyages south, returning to Australia after each voyage.
We had to sail to Capetown to join up with Captain J.K. Davis who brought Captain Scott's old ship, the "Discovery" from England.
She was a wooden ship, probably the strongest ship ever made, and I’ve kept her particulars in my log. "Steam Yacht Discovery: three masted barquentine; three hundred and fifty-seven tons; length, one hundred and seventy-five feet; breadth, thirty-four feet; depth, eighteen feet; engine, steam, triple-expanding, four horse-power."
The ship was first used by Captain Scott in 1900 - 1904, and was built specially for polar work. The hull was built of three layers of different woods, sides approximately two feet-six inches thick, and the bottom of the ship was three feet thick. The bow (sides) were solid for ten feet, and there were cross-beams of English oak, ten inches by ten inches, seven feet apart, throughout the ship, in two tiers, except for the engine room. So it was like a hollow log. It was rather a slow sailer and when it was overloaded, as it usually was, it was rather wet.
No 2 - Heard Island. Sir Douglas said the it wasn't much good getting down to the Antarctic before December - otherwise we'd have the pack ice too far north - so after calling at Kerguelen he elected to go across to Heard Island and spend a few days exploring.
We did that, and about eight of us went ashore in the motor-launch. Luckily we found a small hexagonal hut that had been built by sealers, and after we'd kicked out the sea elephants and titivated it up a bit it was quite habitable. Sir Douglas didn't mean to stay more than two or three days, but while we were there a gale came on and we saw the ship up-anchor and disappear in the snow and mist. Sir Douglas said, "Righto, you chaps, we'll have to kill a few seals and get a bit of food stored." So we did that, and three or four days went by.
Then one morning we saw the ship come in, and we spoke to them by semaphore, and they said that the glass was falling and that we'd better come off. Well, we went to the motor-launch, and Sir Douglas said that as the seas were still a bit high only three or four of us should go off, so three or four of us set off with him, and we eventually got to the ship quite safely. But it was then blowing up and we couldn't return, so we stayed aboard the ship that night, and in the morning Sir Douglas said he'd run off and pick up the rest of the party, and for myself to go with him.
We set off together, and after running about a mile from the ship we had to clear a rocky headland, and Sir Douglas said, "The engine of the motor-boat hasn’t been giving any trouble, has it? "and I said, "No, it's been running very well." And with those words it misfired and stopped.
We weren't in a very good position because we were fairly close up to the high cliffs and there was a reef about two hundred yards on the lee of us, and the boat was too big for us to row. I said I'd have to get the engine going, and Sir Douglas went up forward and threw out the heavy anchor, but after the rope had run out, I think about a hundred and fifty feet of it, it just dangled on the rope. The water was very deep.
I'd always had an idea that if the engine did cut, it would be due to water coming out of the fuel-tank through condensation, and going down the fuel line and freezing into ice. That was just what happened. I kept a piece of piano wire on board, and poked this wire up the pipe to break the ice, and the petrol rushed out, and I coupled up, started the engine, and put the clutch in half a head. Then we tried to pull the anchor up. Well, we were both up forward and I remember we pulled and pulled until the both of us were exhausted. We fell into the bottom of the boat, and Sir Douglas said to me after a while, "Well, shall we give it another go?" I said, "Yes Sir," and with that, we tackled it again and eventually got it aboard.
Then we got round and picked up the other party, but in the meantime the weather had deteriorated quite a bit. We pushed out to sea, and snow squalls started to come down and blot out the land. We had a compass, we'd taken some bearings, so we were able to keep a reasonable course, but the sea was quite dangerous.
I noticed that Sir Douglas, who was holding the tiller, had to prop one of his eyes open by holding the lids with his fingers; the other eye was frozen shut. I asked him several times if I could take the tiller, but he refused, and in the end I just sat down and pushed him to one side, and I thought he would reprimand me, but he just said, "All right". I took the tiller and steered the boat out to sea for another half-mile, and then, with the compass bearings I'd had before, I put the boat before the sea, and later on we could hear the bell on the "Discovery" tolling. The drill then was to run down and try to hit the ship straight ahead. This was more or less what we did.
Suddenly the ship loomed up out of the murk, heaving and plunging, and we rounded up on the lee side, and there was pandemonium getting to the lifelines, every man for himself.
No 3 - The Dux I found that Sir Douglas had a wonderful commanding personality. He didn't order you to do anything; he sort of just asked that a thing be done; but he asked in such a way that you found yourself doing it. He was always enthusiastic, never seemed to get tired, certainly never tired of telling us things that we asked him.
To me he was a great men, but I think like all great men, he was rather a simple man in so far as you could play on his unsuspiciousness. For instance, many times there'd be six or seven of us hauling on a rope with him, pulling up a dredge full of marine life, and after perhaps a quarter of an hour of pulling on the rope everybody would be feeling a bit done. Sir Douglas would never think of saying, "Right, rest chaps", because his enthusiasm would just carry him on, and the only way we could defeat this was for someone to start an argument. Someone would remark, "Look at that iceberg; it must be at least a hundred years old", and he'd say it in quite a loud voice. Sir Douglas would look up, and he'd say, "Belay the rope, chaps", and we'd belay the haul. "Now", he'd say, "come over to the rail. That iceberg is not a hundred years old. It's at least two hundred years old." And he would then give us a talk and show us the strata lines, and this would go on for perhaps ten minutes until we'd had a spell. Suddenly he'd shout out, "By God, chaps, no-one's working. Back on the rope."
And this was a manoeuvre we could repeat as many times as we liked. He would stop work every time to explain something, and of course we loved that; we loved him all the more for it.
Another characteristic showed up in many of the motor-boat trips we had. He invariably took the tiller, and if you're coasting along Macquarie Island, for instance, you've got to look for reefs.
I remember a place called Buckle Bay, when we were making into a penguin rookery, and on board we had Captain Hurley as well as Dr Ingram and others, and Hurley said to me, "There's a few reefs about here, and the Dux (that was Sir Douglas) the Dux is steering. How can we get him away from the tiller?" I said, Well, I don't know how we can do it, because Sir Douglas was telling us about marvellous things we'd find ashore, but as sometimes happened he was not taking any notice of the dangers that might be surrounding him. Hurley and I could tell by the raging of the seas that we were getting near shallow water, and we thought, "Well, we can't say anything to him, so we'll just have to chance it", and sure enough, as we came up over a sea and went down, great rocks protruded through the water behind us. Sir Douglas didn't look astern, and he never knew about the incident. But he was always impatient to get to his scientific work, and he discounted all dangers in between.
Similarly, when we were flying him (He may have thought about it, but he never let on), he didn't seem to worry about any dangers to himself.
We were working along the MacRobertson Coast, and we were in a part of the land where Sir Douglas said he wanted to get a flight in. The weather wasn't good, but we decided to do the flight, although it was a little risky.
We got the aeroplane overboard, and Sir Douglas strapped himself into the seat behind. I could see that this was probably going to be the hardest flight that I'd ever had to make, because there was a north-westerly swell and a south-easterly wind, and I had to taxi away to the north-west to get enough room to take off. The swell was so great that when I was Taxi-ing down-wind the floats of the machine were burying.
Eventually I got into position, but when I began my run the swell kept throwing me into the air without proper flying speed. That didn't worry me much - I knew I could control that - but what worried me was that I was eating up distance. I only had about another two hundred yards to run before I met the pack-ice. However, I just kept at it, and kept at it, and when I got about eighty yards from the pack-ice I managed to hold her into the air. I sort of sank back; I felt, "Thank God for that." And a voice came over the intercom phone, "Well done, Douglas." And that was typical of Mawson.
When we came back from this flight, we landed safely, but it took us several goes to hook up on to the ship, and when we did hook on and the aeroplane was plucked out of the water, the ship gave an unholy roll.
We were swung in right over the ship, and then we were swung right out again. The chaps on board were trying to fend us off with poles and brooms, and we swung back again and were just about to crash into the ship when the sling broke. Down we went into the water. The aeroplane fell into the water tail first, and the tail and rear of the machine sank out of sight. She was just sitting on her floats like a praying mantis, and just at that moment Sir Douglas fell from the centre section right down to the floats and into the water.
I undid my strap and climbed onto the floats, but I realized that I couldn't pull him out. Fortunately, the aeroplane slowly came out of the water and righted itself on the floats, and no harm was done.
But the point is that while all this was going on, and while the motor-boat was making towards us from some hundreds of yards away, Mawson was shouting directions in a loud voice, telling us what we had to do, and he never stopped giving directions and encouragement. There was no thought for himself. He was only thinking about the aeroplane. And that's how he was.
No 4 - Postscript. The upshot of these two voyages was that Sir Douglas discovered and claimed MacRobertson Land. He discovered Princess Elizabeth Land. He verified all Captain Biscoe's claims about Enderby Land. He gave names to places like Amundsen Bay and Taylor Glacier and Riiser Larsen Mountain. In fact, he allotted many names, but characteristically named nothing after himself.
After the expedition was over, until he died in 1958, I made about five visits to him. And what I always marvelled at, every time I saw him, was that within ten minutes he'd be down on the floor with maps and photographs, and he was just as enthusiastic as he was when I first knew him.
In fact, if he'd lived to be a hundred, he would never have lost enthusiasm. Mawson didn't grow old. His body may have grown old, but his mind was just the same as ever, and I never lost my feeling or opinion about him. He was my guiding star, my chap to look up to. I think everyone has someone to look up to, and he was the one person that I looked up to. __________________________________________________________ Eric Douglas Collection. Word-processed by Sally Douglas in July, 1999.--188.8.131.52 (talk) 22:49, 6 May 2008 (UTC)--Beckysharp (talk) 22:52, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Sources: (1) Antarctica - Great Stories From the Frozen Continent - Reader's Digest - First Published 1985 - 919.9'904 & ISBN 0 949819 64 6. (2) The Winning of Australian Antarctica - Mawson's BANZARE VOYAGES 1929-1931 - Published for the Mawson Institute for Antarctic Research University of Adelaide - First Published 1962 by Angus & Robertson - by Grenfell Price - General Editor - P M Thomas (3) Mawson's Antarctic Diaries - Ed Fred & Eleanor Jacka - A Susan Haynes Book - Allen & Unwin Australia - University of Adelaide 1988 - 919.8'904 & ISBN 0 04 320209 8 (4) The Voyages of the Discovery - The Illustrated History of Scotts Ship - Ann Savours - Forward by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh - First Published in Great Britain by Virgin Books in 1992 - ISBN 0 83669 811 5. (5) Moments of Terror - The Story of Antarctic Aviation - David Burke - "to all those brave Antarctic airmen" - New South Wales University Press - First Published 1994 - 919 8904 & ISBN 0 86840 157 9. (6) The Third Brother - The Royal Australian Air Force 1921-39 - C D Coulthard-Clark - Allen & Unwin in association with the Royal Australian Air Force - Commonwealth of Australia 1991 - 358.400994 & ISBN 0 04 442307 1 & ISBN 0 04 442308 --184.108.40.206 00:48, 23 April 2007 (UTC)