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13. Centenary AAE Stage V Pt II
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Polar Philatelic Items for Sale on Behalf of
The Mawson's Huts Foundation

8. POSTCARDS & A DVD FROM MACQUARIE ISLAND AND CAPE DENISON

A. Macquarie Island Wireless Relay Station

Sets of 10 postcards (17cm x 12cm) have been produced which illustrate scenes from the establishment of the Wireless Relay Station in 1911-12 and what remains in 2011. Eight of the ten scenes (Nos 3-10) are reproductions of photographs from the AAE collection at the Mitchell Library, NSW State Library (reproduced with permission). The other two are per courtesy of the National Library of Australia (No. 1) and Martin Passingham (No. 2), member of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation team on Macquarie Island in 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 was 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 established 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 & 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.

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A. Set of Postcards (10 per set) illustrating scenes from the establishment of the AAE Wireless Relay Station in 1911-12 & what remained in 2011.



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)



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)

   



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)

 



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)



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)

 



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)



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)

 



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)



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

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


B. "HISTORY OF THE MACQUARIE ISLAND WIRELESS RELAY STATION´┐Ż1911-14 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.


C. SET OF POSTCARDS PRODUCED TO MARK THE CENTENARY OF THE ARRIVAL ON MACQUARIE ISLAND, DECEMBER 1911 OF THE AUSTRALASIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION (AAE) LED BY SIR DOUGLAS MAWSON

(Photographs by Martin (Marty) Passingham  2010-11)

SET OF POSTCARDS PRODUCED TO MARK THE CENTENARY OF THE ARRIVAL ON MACQUARIE ISLAND, DECEMBER 1911 OF THE AUSTRALASIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION (AAE) LED BY SIR DOUGLAS MAWSON


1: A frozen lake and landscape on Macquarie Island during the 2010 winter.


2: King  penguins on parade on a snow covered Macquarie Island beach. The second largest of all penguins standing 95 cms( 3ft), they have a 14-16 month incubation period and can dive to depths of over 200 metres (700ft) for food.



3: A mid-winter waterfall cascades down to the sea on Macquarie Island.



4: King Penguins stand proud. These beautifully coloured birds are the second largest of all penguins and breed prolifically on Macquarie Island.


5: Juvenile Elephant seals relax on a Macquarie Island beach. Over 60,000 Elephant seals live and breed on the island. Males weigh up to 3000 kg and are nearly 5m long.


6: A pair of Giant Petrels nesting on Macquarie Island. These large birds have a wingspan of 185-201cm (73-81in).



7: Macquarie Island’s infamous past. These boilers were used to extract valuable oil from the island’s large population of penguins and seals. They remain rusting on the beach.



8: The last remains of 30m (90ft) wooden masts on Wireless Hill, Macquarie Island, which were part of the Wireless Station used to receive and relay signals from Cape Denison, the main base of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by Douglas Mawson. These fragments are now in the Tasmanian  Museum and Art Gallery.

 



9: An Aurora Australis turns the sub Antarctic sky green above the Australian Antarctic Division’s research station on Macquarie Island.



10: Macquarie Island coastline with snow covered hills. Taken on the Western side of the island it shows Cape Davis jutting into the sea.

   

 

D.  SET OF POSTCARDS PRODUCED TO MARK THE CENTENARY OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE AUSTRALASIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION (AAE) LED BY SIR DOUGLAS MAWSON AT CAPE DENISON ON JANUARY 8 1912



1: Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison seen through a summer blizzard.
(photo by Adrian Welke, heritage architect for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation and Australian Antarctic Division 2001-02)



2: Collection of books in Mawson’s Huts  left behind by the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Douglas Mawson when they departed for home in December 1913.
(photo by Adrian Welke, heritage architect for Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition to Cape Denison 2001-02)

   

3: Baltic Pine timber on Magnetograph House, Cape Denison, shaped by ice particles driven by winds averaging over 80 kph every day. The scientific shelter was used by the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Douglas Mawson to record variations in the earth’s magnetic field near the South Magnetic Pole.
(photo by Dr Chris Henderson  medical  officer for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition in 2008-09)

4: The cubicle in the Main Hut at Cape Denison used by Douglas Mawson, the leader of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition.  Taken with the afternoon sun shining through a skylight.  His pillow remains on the bunk.
(photo by Dr David Tingay, medical officer for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition in 2010-11)

   



5: Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison covered after an early morning snowfall.
(photo by David London official photographer for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition 2008-9)

6: The Western Wall of Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison, showing the battens that once held down sail cloth canvass, now long shredded, to reduce snow ingress into the hut.
(photo by Geoff Ashley, heritage consultant to the Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition to Cape Denison 1997-98)

   

7: Cape Denison from the air showing Boat Harbour where the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition landed  in January 1912.
(photo by Martin Passingham heritage carpenter with the Mawson’s Huts Foundation Expedition to Cape Denison 2010-11)

8: The tin left by Douglas Mawson in his cubicle when the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition left for home in December 1913. The note pasted to the lid reads “Lists stores and gear. To be carefully guarded and handed to me on return from sledging DM”
(photo by Linda Clark conservator for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition to Cape Denison 2001-2)

   

9: Timber on the Transit Hut at Cape Denison shaped by ice particles being driven at speeds in excess of 300 kph for nearly 100 years. Transit Hut was used by the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition to take star sightings.
(photo by Dr Jody Steele, archaeologist for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition to Cape Denison 2009-10)

10: Mawson’s Huts at Cape Denison during a warm weather spell.
(photo by Stirling Smith, archaeologist with the Mawson’s Huts Foundation expedition to Cape Denison 2010-11)


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