A new Antarctic book
published 25 November 2019
The New Zealand base on Ross Island,
its building, expansion, and the living conditions in the pioneering days. Along with the transport used and some tales of mishaps and rescues.
 Entwined with the stories from  1960 and 1963 wintering parties.
268 pages and 370 photographs
($NZ49.95 startup price through this site)
RRP $NZ59.95
free postage within New Zealand overseas buyers please inquire 

For two periods in the early 1960s young science technician Don Webster wintered over in Antarctica, helping build extensions to the New Zealand station at Scott Base. It was barely two years after Sir Edmond Hillary’s record-breaking 1957-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.


In this book Don describes in detail the design and construction of the buildings of the base, providing an invaluable historical record of both the physical base itself and also of daily life there in the summers and winters of those early years. Storms, severe cold and aircraft accidents are described in vivid detail.


An outstanding feature of Scott Base Antarctica: The Early Years is the hundreds of photographs, many by the author himself, providing a unique and invaluable record of this pioneering period in New Zealand’s presence in the great southern continent.


Chapters 1 & 2 covers my background and describes the lifestyle and technology of the period – the late fifties and early sixties. This is followed by my preparations and my journeys to Antarctica by sea and air.

Chapters 3 & 4 give an overall description of the old Scott Base and its construction and show pictorially its evolution.

Chapters 5 to 15 provide details of the huts, the early changes as the base grew, and stories of what went on in them. Chapter 12 details the building the first remote station at the now-designated quiet scientific area at Arrival Heights.

Chapter 16 talks about the transport we used in the early years and includes a few aircraft mishaps.

Then Chapter 17 & 18 cover the winter and wintering-over in 1960 and 1963, and my trips home.

Chapter 19 shows the changes in huts and accommodation spanning 100 years by comparing Scott’s Cape Evans, 1913,  base and the two Scott Bases, 1963 and 2013.

Chapter 20 tells of meeting three sailors from Scott’s ship Terra Nova and of my current work. 

Appendices - one listing further reading on this time and area of Antarctica

Index -  eleven pages of indexing


Don Webster retired from a career in electronics and computing and now lives in the lower North Island, New Zealand, with his books, cat and computers, not necessarily, he says, in that order. He has a keen interest in early Antarctic history, aircraft and travel, and is a collector of Antarctic books. 


During his frequent travels he has spent many weeks at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, England, and the archives at the Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada.  He has visited many aircraft museums and second-hand bookshops in Canada, England and the USA. 

The author


Scott Base Antarctica The Early Years provides the first detailed account to outline changes to the base, the physical sciences undertaken, station life and details of personnel during Don Webster’s time. This has been well documented with never-before-published photographs, which make this record very important…

We need more publications such as this and I congratulate Don for his initiative and perseverance in preserving and sharing his knowledge and experiences.

David L. Harrowfield

The Polar Room, Oamaru, New Zealand

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