Biscoe Hut 1954
Biscoe Hut was one of five buildings erected at Mawson when the base was established in 1954. Its eight metre square space contained the original living and sleeping quarters, mess and kitchen. The hut was one of three prefabricated by the Norwegian Polar Institute for the 1949–52 Norwegian-Swedish-British Antarctic Expedition (NSBAE) to Queen Maud Land. However, the Norsel only had room for two kits so the third had to be left on the docks.
Dr Phillip Law, first ANARE Director and principal advocate for expanding Australia’s role in Antarctica, had travelled to Maudheim in 1949. In 1952, he persuaded the Australian government to purchase the abandoned hut and two of the Auster aircraft from the expedition for use on the first ANARE expedition.
The interior of Biscoe as it was early in the first season is described by the French observer André Migot;
Inside there were ten identical compartments for the ten members of the team, five on each side of the common room, which was to be a meeting-and-recreation room as well as the dining room and kitchen with a large Aga cooker. In front of the hut there was an entrance lobby, a meteorological room in which the static anemometer would be kept and, finally, a toilet.
The other two buildings which were sent to Maudheim Station have not been sighted since the late 1950s; their fate determined by the inevitable progress to the sea of the ice tongue on which they were constructed.
Next page: Architecture, construction and uses