Chapters 1 & 2
From Petone to the Antarctic
As a technical trainee back in 1957, I worked in the Dominion Physical Laboratory... Fortunately for me the Auroral Research Station needed an electronics technician for their radar on Bluff Hill...
Heading for the ice
I headed south in the Endeavour a small wooden ship that evoked questions like, “You aren’t going south in that?” or “You must be crazy.” ...we entered brash ice...The tiny Endeavour struggled on through the ice, but in sight of Ross Island, the ice won. ..the ice breaker Akta came to our rescue...we sailed line-astern through open water then ice again...Eventually the Endeavour could go no further. We stopped...our transport to Scott Base arrived... At Scott Base we entered through the yellow front door...
Chapters 3 & 4
The original Scott Base
After a false start... not Butterpoint, but Pram Point...the base was prefabricated... all equipment unload onto the ice 3 miles from the base... transport in on sledges pulled by Ferguson tractors... building started 10 Jan 1957 and finished 27 Feb... no cranes or lifting gear used in building the base... everything done manually including moving two 3 ton Lister generators... first party biggest at 24 most years after that 14...
Scott Base grows
The base started with 5378 sq. ft. and by 1964 had grown to 15,477... this happened in two expansions 1960 and 1963... the expansion show in diagram form base a model of base at the Canterbury Museum
Chapters 5 to 15
Ten chapters dealing with the construction, erection, extensions, and often changes in use.
A-hut, which incorporated the mess, kitchen, radio
room and the leader’s office, was the first hut built...
B-hut, the science lab, a 25 x 20-feet structure... we at Scott Base made regular weather observations...
The Ionosonde probing the ionosphere... two sleeping blocks, C-hut 38 x 20 feet and D-hut 28 x 20 feet... E-hut, a 30 x 20-feet was one of two power generator buildings and the base’s ablution block... for short time in had a 1960s coffee bar... first to change roles, in 1963 became the base’s administration and coms centre... 1960 Arrival Heights first used... Auroral radar...F-hut sledge room and second generators... soon lost the generators and gain a ablution block... K-hut new in 1960 house bigger generators...
the planned base had no garage... first year party built one out waste packaging materials...it lasted 20 years... and so the huts continued through the alphabet.
How we got around
All the transport land, sea, and air and for good measure some aircraft mishaps and remarkable rescue in two-seater Auster...Fergie tractors, weasels and and airforce Land Rover... from dogs to motor toboggans... a small wooded ship with sails to USS Glacier the mighty icebreaker... aircraft from the the Globemaster to the Auster and all the planes in between... the arrival of the first Hercules C130 in 1960... USN Seahorse helicopters... Charlene a wingless R4D taxi.. RNZAF Beaver crash and rescue... El Paisano, Project Magnet Super Constellation crash and a lost radar... an Otter down and later a R4D shot itself down...
Chapter 17 & 18
The long cold winter
The last aircraft leaves the ice… our isolation begins… We had had nothing but daylight... 20 February our first darkness… 24 April the sun disappears until 19 August. July and August the coldest months reaching -54.9C. We all had jobs to take us outside, dog handlers… regularly travelling 3 miles to Arrival Heights… slowly the daylight hours increased until the end of the October continual daylight had returned. We had celebrated Midwinter and the US Independence day and had some ramifications from the Chilean earthquakes
Going home – in seven hours
Once your replacement arrived you waited for the next
available transport back to New Zealand. Some went on ships… I went by air… both time by Hercules C130s… 7 hours as opposed to 7 days in the Endeveavor… I had an oﬀer of a position at the Auroral Station Lauder in Central Otago or a new position at Plant Chemistry Division in Palmerston North... I went north to Palmerston North.
A new Scott Base
The final phase in the life of the first Scott Base was its dismantling and the building of the new “hotel-like” base… a reverse osmosis unit to distil fresh water from the adjacent seawater was installed, ending 23 years of digging snow… It may be interesting to note this building included freezers!...
Then in the second part,100 years makes a diﬀerence, looks back 50 years to Scott’s huts and forward 50 years to the second Scott Base. Three sets of photographs showing the diﬀerences that 50 years makes to the type of accommodation… Each set gives examples of the building, kitchens and messes from the three eras: Scott in 1910/13, and the New Zealand parties in 1960/63 and 2010/13.
Chapter 20, appendix and index
Three special visitors
…three sailors from the original Terra Nova and my current research on Scott’s Northern Party. There Antarctic experience including a winter in a snow cave… there 250 mile sledge journey home…
photos and lists of the two wintering over teams... book list... 27 book covering late fifties to early sixties.
Finishing with an 11 page index.