This week at Davis: 6 July 2018

Davis history, future and a short meeting with an Antarctic legend.

Days gone by and those to come

What would P.G. Law think of the establishment of a permanent paved aircraft runway being built in the Vestfold Hills near Davis station? The Australian Government recently announced the construction of a land based runway here. Dr Philip Law was (he passed in 2010) one of the great modern day Antarctic pioneers, he established Davis Station and was Director of the Antarctic Division for many years.

He wrote of the establishment of Davis station: “At 1600 hours on January 13th 1957 work stopped and all hands assembled around a flagpole, which had been strapped to the wall of the first hut being erected, which was the sleeping hut. Phillip Law made a short speech stressing the importance of the new station in the International Geophysical Year program. This was followed by a short account of the achievements of Captain John King Davis, the singing of God Save the Queen, three cheers and then back to work.”

Of a permanent runway he might possibly think it is a good thing by increasing access and scientific research. One thing for sure, it will change Davis station. I met him once you know, at a Melbourne Midwinter dinner in the early 90’s. He leaned across the table, looked me straight in the eye and said “Pass the pepper, would you”. “OK” I replied.

We welcome back the sun next week, but don’t expect the days to get warmer anytime soon! In the meantime we have been experiencing some extended sunrise/sunsets that go on for hours followed by the long nights, which makes for great night sky viewing with the occasional spectacular aurora activity.

Kind Regards,

Richard (Station Mechanical Supervisor).

An early faded photograph of the men that established Davis station at the opening ceremony in 1957.
Davis opening ceremony 1957
(Photo: Unknown)
A photograph of Dr Philip Law taken in 1955, dressed in Antarctic kit.
Dr Phil Law
(Photo: George Lowe)
A photo of the near-full-moon setting over the buildings of Davis, looking south.
Moon setting over Davis
(Photo: R. Graney)
The pink hues of sunset colour the sky behind the islands and icebergs.
Sunset behind the bergs
(Photo: R. Graney)
The colours of sunrise over the Meteorology building, with icebergs in the mid-ground.
Sunrise over the Met building
(Photo: R. Graney)
Aurora Australis lights up the starry night sky with colours over the Marine Plain camp.
Aurora over Marine Plain camp
(Photo: R. Graney)