Midwinter’s Day 1912: Mawson’s Hut at Commonwealth Bay

–from Douglas Mawson’s account “The Home of the Blizzard”–

“Midwinter’s Day!  For once, the weather rose to the occasion and calmed during the few hours of the twilight-day.  It was a jovial occasion, and we celebrated it with the uproarious delight of a community of young men unfettered by small conventions.  The sun was returning, and we were glad of it.  Already we were dreaming of spring and sledging, of the ship and home. Away in the north, the liquid globe of the sun had departed, and its glory still remained.  Down from the zenith his colours descended through greenish-blue, yellowish-green, straw-yellow, light terra-cotta to a diffuse brick-red; each reflected the sheen of freezing sea.  Out on the far horizon floated ice bergs in a mirage of mobile bold.  The barrier curving to east and west is a wall of delicate pink overlaid with a wondrous mauve–the rising plateau.

“While others in delight roamed over the whole extent of our rocky oasis, Hannam and Bickerton shouldered the domestic responsibilities.  Their menu de diner to us was a marvel of gorgeous delicacies.  After the toasts and speeches came a musical and dramatic programme, punctuated by choice choruses.  The washing-up was completed by all hands at midnight.  Outside, the wind was not be be outdone; it surpassed itself with an unusual burst of ninety-five miles per hour.”

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