Mawson’s Huts: Frozen in times.
Lost on the edge of Cape Denison in Antarctica, there is a small group of huts that were built by Australian antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson in the early 20th century. However, they have been abandoned for decades, preserving much of the objects and furnitur of the original expedition.
The small reasearch station was built between 1911-1914 and is now known simply as the Mawson Huts. It stands as one of the last outposts left from the Heroic Era of Antarctic Exploration, and the only one created by Australians. Mawson and his team of 17 men, named the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, travelled to Commonwealth Bay to conduct different experiments, including continental drift, local wildlife, and glaciation.
Due to the harsh and impossible climate, life in the huts was of course miserable. Blizzards and hurricane force winds were usual, and communication was difficult despite a radio that was set up on a nearby Macquarie island. Mawson would later write of the experience, saying, “Temperatures as low as -28 degrees F. (60 degrees below freezing-point) were experienced in hurricane winds, which blew at a velocity occasionally exceeding one hundred miles per hour. Still, air and low temperatures, or high winds and moderate temperatures, are well enough; but the combination of high winds and low temperatures is difficult to bear.”
When the expedition left this place, left their huts with all properties still inside, and the site simply has remained in the cold and wind for two decades. They were briefly used in the 1930s, then abandoned once again. Now some huts succumbed to the terrible winter conditions, but the main hut and the adjoining magnetograph house are still intact, retaining some of the original equipment like the iron stove.
Reaching Mawson’s Huts is not exactly easy, and it’s a site only for enterprising explorers interested in paying a visit. In fact it’s a protected historic site, so if the weather doesn’t destroy them, they should be still there in years to come! It seems that Chimu Adventures operate a voyage to Mawson’s Huts every year from Hobart, Tasmania. The voyages generally stop at Maquarie Island during the route and return via the New Zealand sub Antarctica islands.