The historic Norwegian sledge and cache

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This week at Mawson: 6 September 2013

The mystery of the Historic Norwegian Sledge and Cache found on the Robinson Islands, Mawson Coast, August 2007 has finally been solved after 53 years.

I am a second generation Mawson expeditioner as my step father Bill Kellas wintered at Mawson as a Bureau of Meteorology observer in 1960. Unfortunately Bill died during my sail down so I didn’t get to share my Antarctic experience with him.

To get a feel of what life was like for my step father down here at Mawson station in 1960 I have been reading the diary of George Cresswell who was Bill’s best friend, and fellow expeditioner. I have found George's diary fascinating, comparing life back then to my present-day expedition and I regularly communicate to ask George questions about the past.

Being interested in the history of Mawson station around 1960 led me to stumble across a document titled “Report on Retrieval of Historic Norwegian Sledge and Cache from the Robinson Islands, Mawson Coast, August 2007” by Dr Gary Dowse, Station Leader, Mawson 2007.

I thought the report was very interesting and I was surprised that no one knew the history of where the Norwegian sledge and cache came from. The Historic Norwegian sledge is still here at Mawson, and I have looked at it many times. Recently when I walked past it I recalled a very brief paragraph in George’s 1960 diary mentioning the recovery of a Norwegian Sledge.

8 Nov 1960
Henk, Syd and Bryl had tried to get out to the caravan (17 miles north) in the Jeep. They got stopped by soft snow and the coil on the Jeep packed up too. Henk wanted to retrieve worthwhile bits off the caravan and also the Norwegian sled that it was mounted on.

Bill D, he and I flew up in the Beaver with GD. We had to walk a mile to the caravan into a biting, cold wind, although only 10-15 knots. We stripped the caravan, loaded everything onto the sled, and towed same ¾ mile to the nearest island – not easy.

We took off most of the stuff and dragged the sled up onto the island. Then had a walk around and saw seals and pups. Henk fell through a hole in the ice. GD picked us up at 2. I had to carry a heavy toolbox on my shoulder for ½ mile.

Report cover: Report on Retrieval of Historic Norwegian Sledge and Cache from the Robinson Islands, Mawson Coast, August 2007 by Dr Gary Dowse, Station Leader, Mawson 2007
Report on Retrieval of Historic Norwegian Sledge and Cache from the Robinson…
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This page was last modified on 6 September 2013.