Skip navigation
You are here: Home > NaturePlus > Blogs > Tags

Blog Posts

Blog Posts

Items per page

Author: Stefanie White

Date: 26/02/14




Returning to visit Scott's Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans was an incredibly rewarding experience. The sun was especially bright that day making our view from the helicopter ride from Scott Base sensational.  Upon arriving we found Adelie penguins and seals playing in the shore break. Entering the hut is a magical experience where one steps back into the time of the historic explorers.  As we walked around the hut I noticed several objects that our previous winter team (which I was part of) conserved and had been returned to their place in the hut by the recent summer team.


The stories associated with artefacts play a major role in their interpretation, historical significance, value and conservation treatment and upon seeing the artefacts we conserved, I felt a personal connection and a new story that I associate with those artefacts. I was reminded of all the conversations, the deliberations, the analyses and the treatments that we carried out last year. I remember the excitement in the lab, when Stefan conserved Clissold's cooking pot, which now takes prime place in the kitchen area of the hut.

LM Clissold's pot (Small).JPG

Clissold's pot, conserved by Stefan, returns to its central position in the kitchen area of the hut


The Finnesko boots, which I spent so many hours reshaping and rediscovering now hang at the Hut's entrance.

Conserved Finneskoes in Scott's Terra Nova hut (Large) (Small).jpg

Finnesko boots hang beside the entrance to the hut


Not only did Marie conserve an enamel dish uncovering the residue of caramelized sugar on its edges, but also convinced our chef to recreate a Scott style rhubarb pie in a similar dish at Scott Base, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. That enamel dish now sits on the wardroom table in the officer's area in the hut.

The conserved enamel dish on the officers table (Large) (Small).jpg

The conserved enamel dish on the wardroom table in the officers area of the hut


I look forward to the stories that I may associate to the artefacts I conserve this year!


Author: Stefan

Date: 12 June 2016

Temperature: - 31C

Wind speed: 5 kts

Temp with wind chill: -40C



Above is the obituary of one Thomas C. Clissold, taken from The Polar Record.  Having worked as a Chef for many years it always amuses me when if I happen to mention Clissold's name, my work space neighbor (Jaime) retorts, "Oh! Mr Grumpy ". Although Clissold can seem very stern of expression in Ponting's photographs, if you have worked in catering it's very easy to understand why the rigours of life might give you a furrowed brow.


Our Chef, Damian is a joy to have on base.  He's a true talent and manages to maintain a very laidback and jolly disposition.  But as the long Antarctic winter marches on you can see why someone like Clissold would have been in a unique position. Whilst many of the men would be finding differences in behavior and working practices endlessly grating and annoying, it’s an entirely different prospect to cook a hot dinner for someone you might not like day in, day out.


Cooking pot BT.jpg

Cooking pot before treatment


Food and its quality determines so much of what happens with morale on base, and in reading how miserable a poor cook made life on the Discovery expedition, you can see how much of an impact Clissold's service was to a happy life in the Cape Evans hut.

cooking pot.jpg

Cooking pot after treatment


I've recently been lucky enough to work on one of the cooking pots, (famously featured in a Ponting photograph), with Clissold at the stove………….looking grumpy.


Author: Marie

Date: 25/03/13

Temperature: - 32C

Wind speed: 15 knots

Temp with wind chill: -49C

Sunrise: 9am

Sunset: 9pm



If you have ever seen Dead Poets Society you would remember the boys shouting 'Captain, my captain'. The title of my blog is not a joke about Captain Cook, but rather an acknowledgement of the crucial role of a cook on an expedition.


For historic image of Thomas Clissold making pies in January 1912 see SPRI/


Shackleton, relating the Endurance's terrible journey, mentions the cook several times for his great ability to make everyones life better by combining seal fat with seal grease in the most lovely way (yes, they were badly starving).

Marie Pic 2.jpgThe cook making pies, March 2013 © AHT/Marie


The Terra Nova expedition cook, Thomas Clissold, was so brilliant that Scott wanted him to join the South Pole party! He was said to be the most inventive person, and he built many utensils and gadgets to make his work slightly easier (such as a mechanism to warn him when bread had risen enough in the oven). But Clissold broke a leg and stayed on Ross Island.

Marie Pic 3.jpgEnamel dish in the lab


Here and now, our cook Damian, is so important to everyday life, making a feast for morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with limited supplies. He is also the main reason why we're going to the gym before dinner, as we need to fit into our clothes by the end of winter as badly as we need to eat some more chocolate cake. And to give an accurate idea of our wellness, I should add that Stef used to be a chef and Jaime is baking fresh bread on Sundays!

As I was conserving enamel dishes, covered with burnt sugar on the edges, I remembered Ponting's picture of the cook. And Damian was kind enough to make us a rhubarb pie for the occasion.


Author: Gretel
Date: 6 April 2012
Temperature: -15 ° C
Wind Speed: 10 knots
Temp with wind chill: -25 ° C
Sunrise: 8.46am
Sunset: 7.07pm

Captain Scott's birthday dinner 1911.jpg

Captain Scott’s last birthday dinner 6 June 1911 © Herbert Ponting

On Thursday 29th March 100 years ago, Captain Scott made the last entry in his diary before succumbing to starvation and exhaustion in the freezing cold, on his return trek from the South Pole.

"Since the 21st we have had a continuous gale from W.S.W. and S.W. We had fuel to make two cups of tea apiece and bare food for two days on the 20th. Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far.
It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.


For God’s sake look after our people."

At Scott Base we marked the momentous occasion with a commemorative dinner. It was a solemn and yet celebratory affair. Speeches  and toasts were made and remembrance given not only to Captain Scott but to all those whose lives have been claimed by Antarctica.

Earlier in the day the Scott Base winter team posed for a photograph to mark the event. We recreated from scratch the scene of the last birthday dinner for Captain Scott, held at Cape Evans on 6 June 1911. According to his diary, that night Scott and his men dined on ‘Clissold’s especially excellent seal soup, roast mutton and red currant jelly, fruit salad, asparagus and chocolate’. Comparing menus I think we at Scott Base had the better cuisine. I’ll leave you to compare the photographs...


Dinner at Scott Base 2012 (2).jpg

Recreation of Scott’s birthday dinner at Scott Base 29 March 2012 © Steve Williams