What is in the big "Red Shed"
The Mawson Red Shed as it is affectionately called because of its bright red colour, is more formally known as the SMQ/LQ. The initials refer to the more boring title of Sleeping Medical Quarters and Living Quarters. So for most of us at Mawson it is the home that we head for after work. The chef and the doctor work within the building, so they work from home, I guess. In one end of the building there is the medical facility that has featured in recent stories a laundry, plant rooms, bathroom, and our bedrooms. This is usually the quieter end where we can retreat to our own rooms, surf the web, read, sleep etc. All rooms have a phone and computer access. At this end, the southern end of the building there are two levels. The northern end of the building has three levels. There is a basement level where ghosts and goblins lurk in dark corners. No not true, this is where a lot of the plumbing that carries waste out of the building and water into the building can be found. There is also a small brewery where we make home brew and a underfloor space that is used to store a pile of props and clothes for themed parties or special occasions along with some general storage space.
On the second level you will find the kitchen and dining area. The kitchen is well equipped to cater for our small group of 15 and can also cope well with the larger teams in the summer. You will also find storage space for dry foods, refrigerators and freezers in this area. Restaurants around the world would love to have the view that we have from the dining area. The view to the north looks out at islands and icebergs and to the east we can see more islands scattered across the scene and a few kilometres of incredibly blue ice cliffs where the Antarctic plateau comes to an abrupt end as it meets the ocean. There is also a small cardio workout room on this level with a cross trainer, bike, running and rowing machines and a few other bits and pieces to keep us agile.
The upper level is the recreation area and again the views along the coast are sensational. At this time of the year the ocean is frozen so there is no open water, the scene is of islands, frozen ocean, bergs and ice cliffs. Later in the year the ice will break out and the view changes with open water and waves lapping up to the ice cliffs. There are binoculars and a telescope permanently set up to catch wildlife such as petrels, seals and orcas in the bay if we are lucky enough to see it. On this level you will find a small cinema, a well stocked library, a darts area, pool table, a small bar and some very comfortable lounge chairs. There is a quiet room off the main lounge that houses a display of heritage items and this is used as a quiet reading area or a place to practice music. There is an assortment of guitars, a keyboard, drums, and other instruments made available to us if we are so inclined.