June 1912: Night Watch at Commonwealth Bay

–from Douglas Mawson’t account, “The Home of the Blizzard”–

“The whole world is asleep except the night-watchman, and he, having made the bread, washed a tubful of clothes, kept the fire going, observed and made notes on the aurora every fifteen minutes and the weather every half-hour, and, finally, having had a bath, indulges in buttered toast and a cup of coffee.

“The Hut is dark and a shaded burner hangs by a canvas chair in the kitchen.  The wind is booming in gusts, the dogs howl occasionally in the veranda, but the night-watchman and his pipe are at peace with all men.  He has discarded a heavy folio for a light romance, while the hours scud by, broken only by the observations.  The romance is closed and he steals to his bunk with a hurricane lamp and finds a bundle of letters.  He knows them well, but he reads them–again!

“Pearly light rises in the north-east through the lessening drift, and another day has come.”

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