Australian scientists journey to Heard Island

Newsreel entitled Scientists Go to Antarctica to Study Weather, from the Australian Diary documentary series

Watch: Australian Scientists Journey to Heard Island [9mb]

Title: Australian scientists journey to Heard Island

Newsreel entitled Scientists Go to Antarctica to Study Weather, from the Australian Diary documentary series

Date: 1949
Notes: Ships frequently stopped at Macquarie Island or Heard Island en route to Antarctica.
Keywords: Antarctica, hotspots, meteorologists, penguins, scientists, ships, volcanoes, Big Ben, Heard Island, HIMI, skewer gulls, Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Antarctic,
Record creator: Film Division (also known as Commonwealth Film Unit) – Department of Information
Reference: C20, 1059213

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Narrator: A strange craft for a strange voyage. HMAS Labuan is ready to leave Melbourne with a relieving party of 12 scientists who will spend the year on Heard Island, the Australian research station in the sub-Antarctic. Heading south on the 3700 mile adventure, Labuan skipper is Lieutenant Commander Dickson.

The vehicle deck of the former tank landing craft makes a good gymnasium to keep the personnel fit and active. 


Narrator: In the ward room the expedition leader, Mr Phillip Law, is already planning. Kee Ooi [spelling unknown] is a Chinese biologist from Perth University.

When we sight an iceberg, we know that the Antarctic is really near, although we’re only half way to Heard Island.

Narrator: But now Heard Island itself is looming up, with Big Ben mountains towering 9000 feet above sea level. For the newcomers, one of the few sunny days turns on a sightseeing welcome. HMAS Labuan anchors in Atlas Cove, site of the expedition’s permanent camp.
Twelve men can get through a lot of stores in a year, and the first job is to unload 120 tonnes of food, fuel oil, radio and engine parts.

Narrator: The cargo is ferried to the island by army ducks. The new party will live on this frigid rocky outpost, where the South Pole’s nearer than home, and their closest neighbours are some South African meteorologists, 1400 miles to the west.

Narrator: But the local inhabitants always turn on a warm if inquisitive welcome, with the invitations reading 'white tie and tails'.

A fur seal is another member of the reception committee, and we have no trouble in getting close to a rookery of skewer gulls, the scavengers of the island.

Narrator: Twelve months reading will soon make a dent in that library!
Campbell-Drury demonstrates the home-made wireless which he used to contact Australia. Dr Gilchrist supervises violet ray treatment, which is compensation for lack of sunlight.
Weather expert, Aussie Watt [spelling unknown], discusses problems with his predecessors. The old instructing the new, but all fully experienced technicians.