Gratitude and happiness at Mawson

Mawson Mnemonics


M is for Mawson (obviously). Here we are at Mawson station, approximately 5,700km from Hobart. It's certainly not an easy trip getting here. However the Aiviq and her crew did a fantastic job of getting us here. Mawson really does have that home away from home feel about it. The station's Adélie penguins and Weddel seals have also welcomed us with open arms (not literally). We have all settled in and found our feet.

A is for aurora. As we look into the crisp night sky we are all in awe at the humbling and stunning sights of continuous aurora. At approximately 11pm most nights, the aurora starts to dance. Beautiful greens and sometimes slight purples take to the sky. We all huddle outside by the porch taking photos and videos, trying not to freeze.

W is for the wind. Without a doubt, Mawson has got to be the windiest place I have ever been. In the mornings we always have a stiff katabatic south easterly breeze blowing approximately 35 knots. On a lighter note, the afternoons are quite pleasant as they seem to drop away just enough to walk back to the red shed without being blown away.

S is for snow. Mawson is definitely known for its very fast moving snow and wind, most commonly called a blizzard. Conditions required for a blizzard to form is a mass of warm air rising over cold air (so our friendly Bureau of Metereology staff tell me). A few tell tale signs of a blizzard include wind, fast moving snow with the wind, runny noses, watery eyes and messy hair. Yet, walking to work in a blizzard is a humbling experience.

O is for "Oh what’s for dinner?" Here at Mawson we are lucky enough to have our chef Donna. Donna's cooking is amazing to say the least. Every night is unique and everything she prepares is incredible. Especially the desserts!

N is for night time. Whether it’s a movie, a sporting event, a friendly game of darts or just sitting down looking out at our magnificent view we definitely have something for everyone. I can’t stress enough how unique and special this place is, and how lucky we all are to be here.

Kade Ely, chippy

Happiness at Mawson

We may be a very long distance from home, away from our loved ones and friends for the next year, situated on a rocky Antarctic peninsula at the base of the ice plateau, with 15 strangers with whom we’ll be spending this year of isolation, and living through blizzards and freezing temperatures. But, there is so much on station that sparks moments of joy and happiness. That is what this week at Mawson has highlighted, and frankly, these moments are everywhere we turn.

Happiness is working in hydroponics under the UV lights in 30°C temperatures, watching the plants grow before our eyes; watering, feeding, pollinating, checking the Ph levels, and eventually (soon) plundering for our dinners. It's finding the first tomato flower on the newly propagated plants and watching the seeds peak above the tops of their starter plugs, knowing that soon we will have fresh, sweet tomatoes to eat.

Happiness is found in the beautiful food we are served every day, with only the small personal contribution of a fortnightly slushy duty. It’s especially found, as we discovered last Friday, when we have made-to-order burgers delivered fresh to the bar for our TGIF gathering.

Happiness in the excitement and joy as we finally get into the field for our first lot of training. Experiencing our initial views of the mountain ranges, driving across the ice plateau and spending a first night out in one of the Mawson field huts - relaxing away from electronic devices with a good book and beautiful views.

Happiness is the knowledge of a great team when we join together on a weekend afternoon, overcoming adversity when a blizz filled science hut is discovered. With one call of “I think there’s a problem with this building” over the radio, the cavalry arrives with shovels and brooms to assist. Within an hour the blizz is removed and the hut ready to be defrosted and returned to operation. Such great humour and good humans.

And happiness is a sunny day with light winds after a week of blizzards, cloud, snow and never-ending winds. Allowing us to get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery around station.

So many reasons for happiness around this place.

Bec Jeffcoat, SL