October 12, 1912: A farce at Commonwealth Bay

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

“The first penguin came waddling up the ice-foot against a seventy-mile wind late on the afternoon of October 12.  McLean brought the bird back to the Hut and the newcomer received a great ovation.  Stimulated by their success on the previous night and the appearance of the first penguin, the theatrical party added to their number, and, dispensing with a rehearsal, produced an opera, “The Washerwoman’s Secret,” composed by Laseron.

“Part of the Hut was curtained off as a combined green-room and dressing-room; the kitchen was the stage, footlights twinkled on the floor; the acetylene beamed down from the rafters, while the audience crowded on  from behind the dining-table, making tactless remarks and steadily eating chocolate.  The entertainment proved an immense success, and at midnight we all retired wearied with laughter.”


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