Friday, 16 November 2012

Family history

53 years prior to my arrival at Mawson station, my step father Bill Kellas was wintering at Mawson station as a Bureau of Meteorology observer. Back then expeditioners were real experditioners and conditions were tough without all the mod cons and fancy equipment I will have at my disposal. During his visit to Mawson, Bill was the first person to bring a motor bike to Antarctica. You can read more about this here.


Bill also has two small Islands named after him North West of Mawson station.(Kellas Islands) This was common practice back then. Most of the buildings Bill worked in at the station are still there and still in use. They are now protected under the heritage act and are maintained by station staff. It is going to be a strange feeling working in the same buildings where Bill worked 53 years prior.
In Bills day, most of the travel in Antarctica was done by dog sled. Here is an example on display at the Australian Antarctic Division headquarters. Maybe Bill even used this sled?  There are many fascinating old relics stored at the Australian Antarctic Division headquarters including old skiddo's, accommodation huts, tractors and many other interesting artifacts.

Huskies were used up until 1992 when they were all removed from the continent as part of the Antarctic treaty. All the dog kennels are still at Mawson and I am told you can still smell the seal blubber that was used to feed them in the dog food storage area 20 years on.

All that’s left

It’s amazing the changes in just one generation as my mode of transport will be by quad bike close to station and by Hagglund during deep field trips.



  1. The huskies would have been good for the cold nights.

  2. I have just returned from Svlbard where dogs are very common... I really can't believe that they have removed Huskies from the environment. Here is a story for you! A Canadian Special Forces team member asked a member of the Danish Special Forces Sirius Team why they use Dogs and not snow mobiles? to which he replied "Well! you can't Eat a snow mobile, Eh!"... That's called survival vision!