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2. Covers A
1. Covers B

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

5. SPECIAL OVERPRINTED MINISHEETS, COVERS, POSTCARDS & DVD TO COMMEMORATE THE RECOVERY AND CONSERVATION OF THE WIRELESS MASTS ERECTED AND USED BY THE 1911-14 AUSTRALASIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION (AAE) ON MACQUARIE ISLAND (APRIL 2011)

The AAE, led by Douglas Mawson, arrived at Macquarie Island on 11 Dec 1911, where a five person team was stationed to install and operate a radio station. Their objective was to receive and relay signals from the AAE's main base at Cape Denison on the Antarctic Continent.

The Wireless Relay Station was established on the northern tip of the island on 'Wireless Hill', the summit of which is about 100 metres above sea level. The aerial comprised four wires 200 feet (61m) in length suspended 80 feet (24 m) above the ground between two masts. It was led into the transmitter in the Wireless Operating Hut from one end being thus of the inverted 'L' type. Normal current in the aerial was about 13 amps. Power for the radio was generated in an Engine House, which was separate from the Operating Hut. The main accommodation hut, known as 'The Shack' was established at the foot of Wireless Hill.

The first radio contact made by the Macquarie Island station was with a ship on 13 Feb 1912, and by 12 May 1912 the team began sending daily weather bulletins to NZ; these continue to this day to Australia. It was not until 25 Sept 1912 that a faint signal was picked up from Cape Denison... 'contact Pennant Hills (Sydney)' was all that was heard. Another signal was picked up in early October 1912.  Four months later, on 3 Feb 1913 and again on 5 Feb, further signals were picked up.  These were followed by a signal received on 8 Feb, the day of Mawson's return to the Huts, saying that Belgrave Ninnis and Xavier Mertz, two members of his team had died during their Far Eastern Journey.  Twelve days later on 20 Feb 2013 two-way communication was stablished with Cape Denison.

The last remaining pieces of the Macquarie Island masts were recovered nearly 100 years later in April 2011, by the Mawson's Huts Foundation in partnership with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, which has responsibility for the island on behalf of the Tasmanian Government. The fragments were returned to Hobart for conservation by the Foundation at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, where they will be displayed.

Mawson's Huts Foundation has produced a number of philatelic and other items relevant to the Wireless Relay Station and the conservation programme, including:

A. 120 overprinted, individually numbered AAT Macquarie Island mini sheets.

B. 131 individually numbered covers with pairs and single 60¢ or $1.20 AAT Macquarie Island stamps serviced on Macquarie Island (14 APR 2011) during the time the team was carrying out the recovery of the remains of the masts, and at Kingston PO (20 APR 2011) the date the Mawson's Huts Foundation team arrived back in Hobart. Special cachets were also applied to these covers. An insert with the signatures of the Mawson's Huts Foundation team is enclosed with each cover.

C. Sets of 10 postcards which illustrate scenes from the establishment of the Wireless Relay Station in 1911-12 and what remains in 2011.

D. A DVD entitled 'History of the Macquarie Island wireless relay station'�1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition' which includes historic footage of the establishment of the station plus footage taken in April 2011 showing the recovery of the remains of the masts by the team from the Mawson's Huts Foundation & the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.  (Format: PAL. Regional code free. Length: approx 15 min.)

Click here to download PDF order form.

A. Overprinted, individually numbered AAT Macquarie Island mint, mini sheets (Nos 1-120). 

(20+ minisheets AVAILABLE)

To Commemorate the Recovery & Conservation of the Wireless Masts erected and used by the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) on Macquarie Island. The recovery expedition took place during April 2011 by members from the Mawson's Huts Foundation in collaboration with the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service.


B. Special covers (i-iv) serviced on Macquarie Island and at Kingston PO. [ALL COVERS (i-iv) SOLD OUT]

*131 individually numbered covers with pairs and single 60¢ or $1.20 AAT Macquarie Island stamps serviced on Macquarie Island (14 APR 2011) during the time the team was carrying out the recovery of the remains of the masts, and at Kingston PO (20 APR 2011) the date the Mawson's Huts Foundation team arrived back in Hobart. Special cachets were also applied to these covers. An insert with the signatures of the Mawson's Huts Foundation team is enclosed with each cover. Each cover comes with one copy of Postcard No.2 (see C. Postcards).

*Please note that the small number of covers available is due to the poor quality of the Macquarie Island postmark on some of the covers, which have been withdrawn from sale.

The covers are as follows:

i. Cover with pair 60¢ Elephant Seal & single Pleurophyllum AAT Macquarie Island stamps (1-36)

Cachets on reverse of covers i - iv

ii. Cover with pair 60¢ Pleurophyllum & single Elephant seal AAT Macquarie Island stamps (37- 72)

Signed card (insert) in covers i - iv

iii. Cover with pair $1.20 Mawson's Stacks & single Caroline Cove AAT Macquarie Island stamps (73-105)

Reverse of signed card (insert) in covers i - iv


iv. Cover with pair $1.20 Caroline Cove & single Mawson's Stacks AAT Macquarie Island stamps (106-131)

i-iv. A copy of this postcard (C 2) will be included with each cover purchased.


C. Set of Postcards (10 per set) illustrating scenes from the establishment of the AAE Wireless Relay Station in 1911-12 and what remains in 2011.  (PLENTY OF SETS OF POSTCARDS AVAILABLE)

1. The AAE's five man Macquarie Island team: From the left are Charles Sandell (wireless operator, mechanic), George Ainsworth (leader and meteorologist), Arthur Sawyer (wireless operator), Harold Hamilton (biologist) and Leslie Blake (cartographer, geologist).


(Photo courtesy of the National Library of Australia)

3. The engine house on Wireless Hill, Macquarie Island, which housed the generator driving the wireless system. It was also called De Dion Hut after the name of the generator, and was situated some distance from the wireless operating hut so the sound of the engine did not interfere with monitoring the radio.


(AAE collection at the Mitchell Library NSW State Library)

2. All that remains of the two 30 metre Oregon pine (Douglas fir) masts erected in 1911-12. The three pieces were recovered in April 2011 for conservation by the Mawson's Huts Foundation in partnership with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and are now with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

(Photo Martin Passingham/Mawson's Huts Foundation)

4. The Wireless Hut which operated the relay system. Two members of the AAE slept and monitored signals for 24 hours each day. Only a few boards remain, buried under thick Macquarie island tussock.

(AAE collection at Mitchell Library, NSW State Library)

5. A winter view of the wireless relay station on the summit of Wireless Hill, Macquarie island, showing the masts and aerial.

(AAE collection at the Mitchell Library, NSW State Library)

8. A copy of the original plan for the wireless relay system installed on the summit of Wireless Hill. It began operating in January 1912 just a month after landing and picked up the first signals from a ship near Suva, Fiji, 4000 kms away. However, it was not until September 25 1912 that the first signals were received from Cape Denison.

(AAE Collection at the Mitchell Library, NSW State Library)

6. The Telefunken wireless system supplied by Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) in Wireless Hut on Macquarie Island. The same system was installed by the AAE's main base at Cape Denison.

(AAE collection at the Mitchell Library, NSW State Library)

9. Engine House and Wireless Hut on Macquarie Island's Wireless Hill. The two huts were some distance apart so the radio signals being monitored by the two men were not drowned out by the noise of the generator.

(AAE collection, Mitchell Library, NSW State Library)

7. A flying fox erected by sealers was used to transport supplies to the summit of Wireless Hill including fuel for the generator, provided by Shell, to power the wireless system. It was also used to transport the masts up the steep incline.

 (AAE collection at the Mitchell Library, NSW State Library)

10. The AAE's main accommodation and working hut on the isthmus, on Macquarie Island was known as 'The Shack'. Sadly it was bull dozed in 1948 to make way for a scientific station operated by the Australian Antarctic Division.

(AAE collection at the Mitchell Library, NSW State Library)


D. DVD entitled: 'History of the Macquarie Island wireless relay station 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition'
The DVD includes historic footage of the establishment of the station as well as footage taken in April 2011 showing the recovery of the remains of the masts by the team from the Mawson's Huts Foundation and the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.

Format: PAL. Regional Code free. Length: 15 + minutes.

(PLENTY OF DVDs AVAILABLE)

 

 

 

 

 

 


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