November 6, 1912: Mawson’s field parties on the eve of departure from Cape Denison

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

“November opened with more moderate weather, auguring still better conditions for midsummer. Accordingly, November 6 was fixed as the date of final departure for several of the parties.  Everybody was on the tiptoe of expectation.

“The evening of November 5 was made a special occasion:  a farewell dinner, into which everybody entered very heartily.  However, on the morning of the 6th we found a strong blizzard raging and the landscape blotted out by drift-snow, which did not clear until the afternoon of the following day.

“At the first opportunity, [H. D.] Murphy’s party got away, but found the wind so strong at a level of one thousand feet on the glacier that they anchored their sledge and returned to the Hut for the night.  The next morning saw them off finally, and, later in the day, [F. L.] Stillwell’s and [Cecil T.]Madigan’s parties got under way, though there was still considerable wind.

“My own [that is, Mawson’s] party was to leave on the 9th for, assisted by the dogs, we could easily catch up to the other eastern parties, and it was our intention not to part company with them until all were some distance out on the road together.”

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