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Date: 13 October 2010
Temperature: -26C
Wind Speed: 20 knots
Temp with wind chill: -39C
Sunrise: 4:48am
Sunset 10:39pm



I recently conserved a single leather slipper from the hut of R.F. Scott’s Terra Nova 1910-1913 expedition.  The slipper looked old, well worn and was crushed almost flat.  An intimate detail was the owner’s addition of straw padding on the bottom, presumably for added cushioning and warmth.  My treatment goal was to clean off the heavy layer of dirt and reshape the slipper in order to restore its original shape.  During the initial cleaning, while carefully unfolding the crumpled tongue, I found, to my surprise, the punched initials, “FD.”

AHT8326_2!_side1_BT.jpgAfter.jpg
Slipper,  Before Treatment © AHT/CricketDetail of Tongue, After Treatment © AHT/Cricket


I read that the men from these early polar expeditions often carved, wrote or stamped their initials onto their belongings and was excited to actually find such a mark.  “FD” most likely is Frank Debenham, a young Australian who was one of three of Scott’s geologists.  In early 1911, Debenham joined the four-man team and completed the Western Journey, which mapped the western mountains of Victoria Land, making geological observations and other scientific studies. This image shows Debenham grinding Geological specimans in July, 1911.

 

 

In his career, Debenham was prolific.  During his time in Antarctica, he had the idea of creating a learning center and repository for Arctic and Antarctic research.  In 1920 he, along with Raymond Priestley, a fellow geologist from Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic Nimrod 1907-1909 expedition, opened the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University.  The Institute is famous for its comprehensive polar library and archives, and to this day, remains Britain’s leader in polar research and glaciology.

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Wanigans

Posted by Cricket and Diana Oct 14, 2010

Posted by Diana

 

Date: October 13th  2010
Temperature: -27degrees Celsius
Wind Speed: 20 knots
Temp with wind chill: -39 degrees Celsius
Sunrise: 4:48am
Sunset 10:30pm

 

Some of the containers here on Scott Base are called wanigans. This was a new word to me. It generally is attached to the containers which have skies attached to them. These containers are pulled around on the ice or snow and used for many things. Some are emergency shelters along the roads and routes used most often. Some of the science events outfit them as laboratories which are then pulled to the area where they want to work. The Antarctic Heritage Trust use wanigans as our kitchen, carpentry shop and conservation lab.

Wanigan.jpg
Science event wanigan © AHT/Diana

 

So where does the name wanigan come from? Well here is another connection with North America. The word is believed to have origins in the Ojibwa language, waanikaan, "storage pit," from the verb waanikkee-, "to dig a hole in the ground." The word has been borrowed into English and is used in Eastern Canada and the US as well as Alaska, to describe a temporary hut usually built on a log raft to be towed or floated to a work site or as in Antarctica a small house, bunkhouse, or shed mounted on skids to be dragged along behind a tractor train as a place for a work crew to eat and sleep.

Campsite Cape Evans December 2009 L Meek.jpg

Campsite Cape Evans December 2009 © AHT/Lizzie