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13. Centenary AAE Stage V Pt II
12. Centenary AAE Stage V Pt 1
11. Museum
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9. Centenary AAE Stage III
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7. Centenary AAE Stage II
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2. Covers A
1. Covers B

Polar Philatelic Items for Sale on Behalf of
The Mawson's Huts Foundation

7. CENTENARY OF THE AUSTRALASIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1911-14 Stage II

Stage II:
A. The FDI of 2011 AAT stamps at Cape Denison on 14 JAN 2012.
B. The First Day of Use of the new Cape Denison Everyday postmark on 14 JAN 2012.
C. Commemoration of the Centenary of the AAE. Ceremony held at Cape Denison on 16 January 2012.

 

A. The FDI of 2011 AAT stamps at Cape Denison on 14 JAN 2012.
In 2011 three issues of AAT stamps were produced by Australia Post. The “Icebergs” stamps were issued on 7 June 2011 (Stamp News No. 310 May-June 2011, pages 14-15). The first in a four-year programme of stamps celebrating the Centenary of the AAE were issued on 2 August 2011 (Stamp News No. 311 July-August 2011, pages 14-15 & 23) and the AAT Elephant Seal stamp, which was one of the WWF for Nature: 50 years stamps, was issued on 30 August 2011 (Stamp News No. 311 July-August 2011, pages 18-19). Stamps from all three AAT issues on special covers produced by Australia Post (Cover 4.) and the Mawson’s Huts Foundation (Covers 1-3.) were serviced with the Cape Denison FDI postmark on 14th January 2012, the day the Foundation's postmaster, Marty Passingham and his assistant Dr Ian Godfrey, arrived at Cape Denison by helicopter from the Aurora Australis. These and other philatelic items (see below) produced by the Mawson’s Huts Foundation are now for sale to raise money for the conservation of Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison. In all there are 8 different covers and 1 overprinted minisheet.

B. The First Day of Use of the new Cape Denison Everyday postmark on 14 JAN 2012.
In 2010 the first Cape Denison Everyday, moveable-date, Pictorial postmark was issued by Australia Post. It was first used at Cape Denison on 20th December 2010 (see Figure at right) by the Foundation’s postmaster for the 2010-11 Expedition, Dr David Tingay (see photograph below). Unfortunately, there was an error at the top of the postmark, which read MAWSON’S HUT, whereas it should have been MAWSON’S HUTS! There are in fact five huts at Cape Denison built by members of the AAE in 1912. Indeed the main hut(s) are two huts joined together; one was the living quarters and the second a workshop. In late 2011 Australia Post produced a new pictorial Pictorial postmark with the correct wording, and its First Day of Use was 14 JAN 2012 when Marty Passingham used it to service special covers affixed with the Centenary of the AAE se-tenant strip of five stamps (Cover 5.).

 

C. Commemoration of the Centenary of the AAE. Ceremony held at Cape Denison on 16 January 2012. The Mawson’s Huts Foundation’s 2011/12 Conservation Expedition to Cape Denison, which was due to depart from Hobart on board the L’Astrolabe on 2 December 2011 was cancelled. This was because of the thick sea ice that is blocking the entrance to Commonwealth Bay and consequently there was no certainty that the expeditioners would be able to reach the Huts. Icebergs BO9B, BO9D & BO9F were the main cause of the problem, i.e., preventing the sea ice from leaving Commonwealth Bay (see image below). Currently, Iceberg BO9B is 48 km long and up to 22 km wide, a substantial chunk of ice indeed! The original iceberg B9B, from which BO9B originated and which collided with the Mertz glacier in 2010, was 97 km in length.

The latest image of BO9B can be found at:
http://www.natice.noaa.gov/pub/iceberg_images/jpeg/2012148_C15_B09B.jpg

Unfortunately the Centenary year for the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) got off to a bad start. However, the Aurora Australis, with a number of dignitaries on board departed Hobart on 5th January 2012 bound for Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay. Here it was planned to hold a Ceremony to mark the Centenary of the AAE on 8th January 2012 the date corresponding to the arrival of the AAE at Cape Denison in 1912. Once again ice conditions and the weather caused delays. The Aurora Australis could only get to within 20 km of Cape Denison and had to moor in the fast ice. While some personnel (including the Mawson’s Huts Foundation postmaster, Marty Passingham, and his assistant Dr Ian Godfrey) were flown into the Huts by helicopter on the 14th January, fog delayed the rest of the party. Finally, on 16th January conditions improved and it was possible to fly in the rest of the party.

The Centenary of the AAE and the many achievements of the Expedition were commemorated in a ceremony held at Cape Denison on 16th January 2012. The ceremony was held on Proclamation Hill, where Mawson asserted British sovereignty over the region, during a return visit in 1931. The ceremony was conducted by Dr Tony Fleming, Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, and included his reading a message from the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in which she recorded with pride the nation’s immense and lasting gratitude to the members of the AAE and acknowledged their significant contribution to science. Dr Fleming also unveiled a plaque to mark the centenary of the AAE and installed a time capsule containing a collection of messages and objects signifying the achievements of Mawson and his colleagues (to be opened in 2112). He made a moving speech acknowledging the contributions made by all members of the AAE including those at the Macquarie Island station, the Western Base in Queen Mary Land, the main base at Cape Denison, and the officers and crew of the SY Aurora.

Three types of cover were produced to mark the ceremony (Covers 6-8.). The covers, which feature the Centenary of the AAE stamps and the Icebergs gummed and booklet stamps, were postmarked at Cape Denison on 16 JUN 2012. An overprinted Centenary of the AAE minisheet has also been produced (Minisheet 9.)

Following the ceremony the postmaster, his assistant and the covers, which had been postmarked at Cape Denison on the 14th and 16th January, returned to the Aurora Australis by helicopter. On 17th January they were taken to the French Antarctic Station at Dumont D’Urville, again by helicopter. Dumont D’Urville is 233 km West of Cape Denison. After a 9-day stay at Dumont D’Urville the postmaster, together with his assistant and the covers were taken by helicopter to the French Antarctic supply ship L’Astrolabe on 25th January and then 7 days later, on 31st January 2012, they arrived in Hobart. Thus, to get to Cape Denison and back the covers were carried on two different ships and on two return ship-to-shore helicopter flights..

Accounts of the voyage to, and the events at, Cape Denison in 2012 can be found in blogs by: David Ellyard, National President of the ANARE Club: http://anarensw.weebly.com/david-ellyard-aae-report-2012-voyage.html;
Karen Barlow, ABC journalist:
http://blogs.abc.net.au/news/in-mawsons-footsteps/ ;
& Tom Griffiths, historian and former Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow: http://ceh.environmentalhistory-au-nz.org/category/aae/

Unfortunately the above blogs appear to be no longer available.

However, the 22nd Issue of the Australian Antarctic Magazine, which is dedicated to “Celebrating 100 Years of Australia in Antarctica”, can still be viewed online: http://www.antarctica.gov.au/magazine

Click here to download PDF order form

 

A. First Day of Issue of 2011 AAT stamps at Cape Denison on 14th January 2012

Cover 1. FDI of Centenary of AAE se-tenant strip of five stamps on cover with image of photograph by Frank Hurley

Covers available


(click for larger version)

Cover 3. FDI of Icebergs se-tenant block of four gummed stamps on cover with image of photograph by Peter McCabe taken from on board the L'Astrolabe

Covers available


(click for larger version)

Cover 2. FDI of Icebergs block of four booklet stamps on cover with image of photograph by Peter McCabe taken from on board the L'Astrolabe

Covers available


(click for larger version)

Cachets on reverse of Covers 1, 2 & 3


(click for larger version)

Cover 4. FDI of AAT Elephant Seal stamp from WWF for Nature: 50 years minisheet from which all but the Elephant Seal stamp have been removed. The other three were non-AAT stamps. This allowed for a clear strike of the postmark, which is enclosed within the remaining frame of the minisheet. These covers have been signed by Kevin Stead, who provided the illustrations for the stamp and the cover. The designer of both the cover and the stamp was Simone Sakinofsky from the Australia Post Design Studio. The background for the minisheet is a scene from Macquarie Island, location not known.


(click for larger version)

Cachets on reverse of Cover 4


(click for larger version)

SOLD OUT

B. First Day of Use (FDU) of the new Cape Denison Everyday postmark on 14th January 2012.

Cover 5. FDU of new Cape Denison Everyday postmark used to service covers affixed with the Centenary of AAE se-tenant strip of five stamps. Printed on the cover is an image of a photograph by Frank Hurley.

Covers available


(click for larger version)

Cachets on reverse of Cover 5


(click for larger version)

C. Commemoration of the Centenary of the AAE. Ceremony held at Cape Denison on 16 Jan 2012.

Cover 6. Commemoration of the Centenary of the AAE, se-tenant strip of five stamps on cover with image of photograph by Xavier Mertz

Covers available


(click for larger version)

Cover 8. Commemoration of the Centenary of the AAE, Icebergs block of 4 booklet stamps on cover with image of photograph by Frank Hurley

SOLD OUT


(click for larger version)

Cover 7. Commemoration of Centenary of AAE, Icebergs se-tenant gutter block of 4 gummed stamps on cover with image of photograph by Frank Hurley

SOLD OUT


(click for larger version)

Cachets on reverse of Covers 6, 7 & 8


(click for larger version)

C. Commemoration of the Centenary of the AAE minisheet.

Minisheet 9. Centenary of the AAE mint, overprinted minisheet celebrating the arrival of the AAE at Cape Denison on 8th January 1912 (approx actual size - 160mm x 80mm).

SOLD OUT

Position of Icebergs BO9B, BO9D & BO9F


Red dot: Approximate position of Mawson's Huts
Green dot: Approximate position of Dumont D'Urville
PolarView/Dr Jan L Lieser (ACE CRC)

Postmasters of the Cape Denison Post Office, 2010-11 & 2012, at work in the Sorensen Hut

Dr David Tingay, Postmaster Cape Denison Post Office from 20 DEC 2010 to 18 JAN 2011
Photo by Matt Tucker, Mawson's Huts Foundation carpenter.

Marty Passingham Postmaster Cape Denison Post Office from 14 JAN 2012 to 16 JAN 2012
AAP image/Dean Lewins, (used with permission for the promotion of cover sales by the Mawson's Huts Foundation).

 

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