Midwinter has long been a major celebration down south.
There are various traditions around the day including variations of a swim, sporting activities, an excellent meal and some sort of performance. Looking at the old station logs, ‘Cinderella’ seems to feature heavily — never underestimate the power of panto – although I have to admit we skipped it this year.
Interesting to see what others have got up to over the years – might have to think about bringing back the golf, but not sure about 1995’s take on the swim…
Station log 21/6/60
Consumed 14 doz beers no wine and this reduced drunkenness. We can take beer better. Magnificent dinner prepared by Brennan midday. Toast with French brandy. In the afternoon a bowls tournament and a recorded presentation of historical pageant of Macquarie Island to celebrate 150th anniversary. Play was written and produced by Jim McQueen — a very good effort. Buffet tea… evening included music by our own orchestra with home-made instruments. Also a radio hook-up with Mawson, Wilkes, Davis. A very happy day.
Station log 21/6/75
Eleven of us went for a swim on western beach and o boy was it bloody freezing. Dinner and Play great success. By 2130 I had had enough and left the boys to their own devices.
Station log 21/6/80
Golf open postponed till tomorrow in view of wind and rain but croquet played instead and most exhausted by it. ‘Cinderella’ the usual glorious riot and several other skits… Hilarious evening went on until 0500 or thereabouts.
Station log 21/6/84
We have survived Midwinter — but only just. All the traditional activities — haggis throwing, a midwinter swim, a huge meal. Cinderella with Coppo and Bernie S memorable as the ugly sisters and Phil as the Fairy Queen; various other songs and sketches and, of course, a fair bit of grog. Left at midnight with most of the party still going strong.
Station log 21/6/88
A gloomy, drizzly day. Our festivities started in earnest after lunch with the Macquarie Island Golf Competition first up. This involves each expeditioner trying to putt three golf balls into a bucket in Market Square from the first lookout on Wireless Hill… I’m surprised the referee (Kim) didn’t wear a crash hat because it must have been like being in the London Blitz down there for a while… Sporting events were wound up with a Rotten Orange Throwing Contest following by the Midwinter’s swim.
Station log 21/6/95
Pentathlon of the Ellie Seal
- Waddle and snort on belly through the snow
- Drink can of beer/soft drink and burp
- Apple dunk in bucket of wallow water (actually made up brown stuff)
- Pillow fight in real wallow
- Swim — fully submerged — in east coast.
- Race to the sauna.
Station log 21/6/04
We started with a Champagne brunch… then it was off to the beach, complete with lifeguard and flags, for the ritual two-ocean dip. About half the company participated and then enjoyed a long soak in the spa to recover… We soon saw the amazing extent of Clinton’s creativity as the table decorations emerged. First an ice sculpture spelling MACCA was installed down the centre of the table, then a soaring ice albatross took its place on a pedestal. Finally, the pièce de résistance – two superbly crafted and painted king penguin butter sculptures. They weighed over 20kg each and were not only life size but wonderfully lifelike.