This week at Macquarie Island: 21 April 2017

This week at Macca, we had our first field familiarisation trip, reflect on the inaugural Macca 'premium cinema experience', and Cumpstons Cottage celebrates its 20th birthday.

Field familiarisation training and the Macca premium cinema experience

Between 10-12th April our first team of expeditioners embarked on field familiarisation training. Led by our highly experienced Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service ranger in charge Andrea, chef Nick, meteorology senior observer Matt and myself, we spent three days and two nights off station.

We travelled to the Bauer Bay and Brothers Point areas, staying in the field huts and undergoing training in field survival skills, navigation, and parks/wildlife awareness. In addition, we got a serious dose of the majestic Macca wildlife with some amazing king and royal penguin interactions at Sandy Bay. Everyone came back full of smiles, epic tales of wildlife awesomeness and singing the praises of a field delicacy known as Fray Bentos (arguably the best steak and kidney pie in the world).

After the return of our field training team, the station got together to debrief during our formal Saturday dinner.

Formal Saturday nights are a long-held tradition across the Antarctic program, where everyone makes an effort to dress nice (read: no hi-vis or outdoor gear) for a night of fine dining, laughs and stories from the week.

Saturday nights often mark an organised social event or proper celebration of an expeditioners birthday from the week past. Speaking of which, prior to the departure of our field training team, we held the inaugural Macca 'premium cinema experience' on 8th April. Everyone enjoyed a great night in our comfy cinema chairs watching the stations movie pick of ‘Deadpool’, whilst dining on some decadent movie food including salt and pepper calamari, trios of sliders and everyone’s favourite - movie lollies and chips.

On Tuesday 18th April, we marked the 20th anniversary opening of Cumpstons Cottage with a celebratory morning tea. Thanks to our multi–talented doctor Jan Wallace, we were treated to a sumptuous feast of muffins, cherry slice, and coffee and tea made to order!

Finally, this week we all celebrated the Easter long weekend with much cheer, chocolate and (thankfully) no rabbits!

From all of us at Macca, we hope you all had an equally enjoyable and safe Easter break.

Kyle Williams - Station Leader, Macquarie Island 70thANARE

Macquarie Island expeditioners taking a break on the grass and enjoying field training
Macquarie Island expeditioners enjoying field training.
(Photo: K. Williams)
Expeditioners climbing up Macquarie Islands steep slopes
Expeditioners tackling Macquarie Islands steep slopes.
(Photo: K. Williams)
A King penguin standing tall on the pebbles at Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island
King penguin standing tall - Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island.
(Photo: K. Williams)
Station Leader Kyle played host for the Macca Premium Cinema Experience
Station leader Kyle played host for the Macca premium cinema experience.
(Photo: J. Wallace)

Cumpstons Cottage turns twenty

Tuesday 18th April 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of Cumpstons Cottage on Macquarie Island.

Cumpstons Cottage is a prefabricated two storey house erected during the 1995–96 summer season. The cottage is comprised of living quarters for the station leader, doctor, chef, ranger in charge and also contains the station leaders office.

Cumpstons Cottage is named in honour of the late John Stanley Cumpston (1909-1986), who was a true renaissance man: A diplomat, geographer, historian, publisher, prominent sportsman, barrister, an officer with Australian Imperial Force serving overseas in Tobruk and Lebanon, first secretary in the Department of External Affairs, as well as contributing to very important welfare initiatives including establishing the Sir Leslie Morshead War Veterans Home and the Brindabella Gardens retirement home in Canberra.

In 1939 Cumpston had assisted in the preparation and publication of the first reliable map of Antarctica. For this and his ongoing geography studies of Antarctica he was awarded a doctorate of letters from Melbourne University, as well as having his contribution to Antarctic knowledge marked by the naming of the Cumpston Massif. His classic text about Macquarie Island – published in 1968 – still remains a vital reference for all of some 50 years on.

Cumpstons Cottage itself was officially opened by Terry (Scobie) Pye on 18th April 1997 and was the final result of construction efforts by the expeditioners of the 49th and 50th ANARE. ’Scobie’ casts a legendary shadow over all things Macquarie Island, having spent two winters and nine summers on Macca in a variety of roles.

To quote from the 1997 station log written by station leader Phil Barnaart of the 50th ANARE: '…the end of summer season dinner was held tonight with the pre-dinner drinks in the new office in Cumpstons. Building officially opened by Scobie Pye – a man who has not only worked on the building but has had a 25 year association with the sub–Antarctic.'

Happy 20th Birthday Cumpstons Cottage!

Kyle Williams - Station Leader, Macquarie Island 70th ANARE

Cumpstons Cottage anniversary plaque
Cumpstons Cottage anniversary plaque.
(Photo: K. Williams)
John Cumpston
John Cumpston
A photo of a page of writing from the Macquarie Island Station Leader's Log 18-19 April 1997
Macquarie Island station leaders log 18-19th April 1997.
(Photo: K. Williams)
Terry (Scobie) Pye
Terry (Scobie) Pye
A photo of expeditioners from the 49th ANARE Macquarie Island 1996
49th ANARE Macquarie Island 1996.
A photo of the 50thANARE Macquarie Island 1997
50th ANARE Macquarie Island 1997.
A photo of Cumpstons Cottage, a wooden two story hut.
Cumpstons Cottage, Macquarie Island.
(Photo: K. Williams)
The 70th ANARE Team Macquarie Island celebrating Cumpston's Cottage 20th anniversary
70th ANARE team Macquarie Island celebrating Cumpstons Cottage 20th anniversary.…
(Photo: K. Williams)
A picture of a book - Macquarie Island by John Cumpston
Macquarie Island by John Cumpston.
(Photo: K. Williams)