Field Trip Report No.11 of 1965

Original by Brian Woinarski, edited and supplied by Max Corry





To establish a Tellurometer survey traverse from Mount Twintop to Depot Peak, and to extend same to Peak 7 in the Stinear Nunataks if sufficient time available.


To conduct Tellurometer and vertical angle measurements between Anniversary Nunatak and Mount Twintop.


To consolidate the McNair Nunatak beacon and to erect beacons on Van Hulssen and Anniversary Nunataks.


To measure glaciological ablation stake line as on the Autumn trip.


Personnel and Transport




B. Woinarski

Leader, driver, writer.

M. Corry

Surveyor, Tellurometer operator, driver.

K. Watson

Diesel mechanic, driver.

J. McGhee

Assistant Diesel Mechanic, driver.

P. McGrath

Radio operator, driver.

M. Poulton

Weather Observer, driver, writer.

D. Carter

Senior Technician (Electronics), driver, writer.

J. Gordon

Radio Technician, Tellurometer operator.

P. Bensley

Carpenter, writer, driver.






2 D4 Caterpillar tractors.


2 Snow Tracs


1 Polaris [K95] Sno-traveler (motorised toboggan)




1 Freighter 5 berth caravan on articulated sledge.


1 [RMIT] Fibreglass 4 berth caravan on Nansen sledge.


1 Workshop caravan on articulated sledge


2 Articulated sledges


1 Cargo sledge


1 Small Snow Trac sledge.


1 Small dog sledge.


Operational Procedure

A preliminary party consisting of 4 men, Corry, Watson, Carter and McGrath with the 2 Snow Tracs to leave ahead of the main party. Their job being to complete the beaconing (c) as listed above, and to link up with the main party to obtain the measurements between Anniversary nunatak and Twintop (b) above. The main party with the tractor trains to depart approximately 5 days later, moving to Twintop for (b) and measuring ablation stakes (d) en route. Once items (b) and (c) from above list are accomplished the parties to join at Twintop and proceed with major Tellurometer traverse, item (a) above. For this survey, stations will be set up at approximately 5 mile intervals, it being necessary to use three stations at a time. One forward station for target erection and theodolite readings a central station and a rear station for the Tellurometer and theodolite readings. The Snow Tracs were to have been used for the forward and rear stations, but breakdowns in these two vehicles necessitated us employing the D4s and the Polaris for the final stages of the trip.


Duration of Trip

Friday 5 November 1965 to Monday 10 January 1966. The preliminary party had a generally trouble free trip until the final day when Snow Trac No.8 first cracked a rear axle, then the bearings on the front offside drive sprocket wheel seized, cutting out the bearing housing. As no spare part was available the vehicle was depoted 6 miles from Twintop and recovered on the return journey.



Beaconing proceeded to plan, but only one Tellurometer and no vertical angles taken from Anniversary to Twintop due to bad weather and shortage of time.



Daily skeds with Mawson maintained; but direct contact with tractor train poor.


Daily Log:

For details see Survey Report.



Main Train Daily Log : Thursday 11 November 1965 to Monday 10 January 1966


Thursday 11 November 1965

Today the major tractor trains left Mawson. The preliminary party had set out on 5 November 1965, and were to link up with us again at Mt. Twintop.


The tractor trains having been assembled at Gwamm previously, all that was required for a flying start was for the tractors and personnel to move up to Gwamm and away. So much for the theory. Unfortunately one of the fuel injector mechanisms on D4 nicknamed Mr William sprang a leak and new seals had to be installed at Gwamm. We finally began rolling at 1400, and proceeded without incident over the blue ice until striking the soft snow about 5 miles from Rumdoodle. The heavily ladened trains proved too much for the D4s to pull individually and we were forced to use two D4s in tandem to pull one train as far as the blue ice, then return for the second train. Hitching up to individual trains again we winched up the slope from the moraine onto the iceshelf of the valley between the David and Masson Ranges. The two trains moved well over the ice but 5 miles further on when turning onto the highway between Rumdoodle and the Fang, more soft snow once was encountered. This time we were forced to winch the trains over the more difficult sections, but managed to proceed individually. We reached marker 62/2 and were proceeding on course towards 62/3 when Mr William became slotted. Winched out by D4 nicknamed Orange Bastard (Orange B hereafter) we got moving again only to see Orange B in a similar predicament shortly after. We decided to turn along the valley on the route taken in the Autumn, as I [Brian Woinarski] knew that this was safe for several more miles. We eventually stopped at 2300, approximately 17 miles out from Mawson.


Friday 12 November 1965

All up by 0930 after getting to bed finally at 0200. The D4s proved easy to start and we were rolling by 1110, this time with the tractors in tandem, pulling only one train, as we expected the uphill route to Hordern Gap would be too much for the D4s individually. We reached the Gap uneventfully at 1300, fuelled up had lunch then Jock [McGhee] and I [Brian Woinarski] returned with the two D4s for the other train. Once again we proceeded without incident, although the soft snow made progress rather slow. We stopped at the Gap for a cup of tea then set off again at 1910, with each D4 pulling its own train. Soft snow soon put a stop to this however and we were forced to revert to tandem again. Drift began shortly after this and we stopped after passing the first marker after the Gap as no more markers could be made out through the drift. We returned for the second train and called it a day at 2130, with the drift getting worse every minute.


Saturday 13 November 1965

Woke at 0700. Wind 25 knots with heavy drift, so back to bed until it cleared up. Unfortunately the wind did not abate and no movement was possible for the day. Contacted Mawson at 1615 and learned that the Snow Tracs were similarly drifted in.


Sunday 14 November 1965

Up at 0700 but weather still too poor for movement. By 1100 it had cleared up and we were rolling at 1210. We proceeded along the highway individually as were on blue ice again, then we hit the soft snow again about a mile further on. We managed to proceed in second gear with both trains until Mr William ground to a halt and Orange B was uncoupled and came over to link up in tandem. Just as Orange B pulled up in front of Mr William he (Orange B) dropped a track through a very deep slot. We then discovered that Mr William had also broken through the same slot which ran parallel to the train. Fortunately Mr William had reversed over the spot and the breakthrough did not do any harm. We uncoupled Mr William and Jock [McGhee] drove him with a very fine margin between the sledge and slot. He then winched Orange B free. As these slots were on the main highway we decided to detour, as it was impossible to discern the slots because of new snow cover. We headed back north into the valley between the Casey and David ranges, travelling several miles west over the clear blue ice before turning once again in a southward direction. Even on this blue ice Mr William became slotted but was easily winched out by Orange B. We reached the highway again several miles beyond the slotted area, but were forced once again to tandem as we were in soft snow again. Much shuffling back and forth delayed our progress, and we finally stopped for the night at 2300 beside the 62/13 marker, 9 miles from Twintop. The Snow Trac party have beaconed Anniversary Nunataks and expect us to work the Tellurometer from Twintop every half hour commencing at 1100. I guess we will be a little late.


Monday 15 November 1965

Drifted in all day. Wind gusting to 25 knots lifted the soft snow into thick drift with any thought of progress out of the question. The Snow Trac party were similarly drifted in. Spent a lazy day with Mike [Poulton] excelling as the "Pastry King". Early to bed ready for an early start tomorrow.


Tuesday 16 November 1965

Drifted in again, drift and whiteout put paid to any thought of movement. On the 1615 sked we learned that the Snow Trac party were similarly grounded. Late this evening the weather began to moderate and we hope to move off tomorrow. Mike [Poulton] sighted two snow petrels over the caravans at 2130. Outside temperature -6°F.


The trains are not too badly drifted in but some digging will be necessary before we move off.


Wednesday 17 November 1965

Weather fine a light ground drift and 15 knot wind at 0700, no drift and only 5 knot breeze at 1200. All up at 0500. John Gordon acted as cook while the rest dug out the D4s ready for heating with the Herman Nelson. Both vehicles were buried to the top of the tracks and were difficult to dig out. We eventually began to roll with one train in tandem at 0810. We towed this until reaching the blue ice approximately 1˝ miles from Twintop Depot. Jock and I [Brian Woinarski] then returned with the two D4s and brought up the second train. After a brief spell for lunch we began hauling individual trains again, but were forced to tandem again when Mr William refused to proceed through soft snow which covered the blue ice in patches. Reached the depot in time for the 1615 sched with Mawson, then on to a position just beyond the old fuel dump about a mile further on. Here easy access to Twintop was afforded by a gradually sloping snow accumulation. Through Mawson we arranged to contact the Snow Trac party by Tellurometer tomorrow at noon. After tea Jock [McGhee] managed to get the [RMIT] fibreglass caravan heater operating, then we all climbed to the top of Twintop, taking most of the gear necessary for tomorrow's measurement. (the beacon installed last year has been blown to pieces, only one panel remaining in position.)


Thursday 18 November 1965

One week out and still held up. Blizzed in again, heavy drift with 40 knot winds. Spent the day reading, sleeping and playing cards. Radio contact with Mawson at 1615 and learned that the Snow Trac party were similarly weatherbound. Jock [McGhee] is not having any success with the fibreglass caravan heater, which continually blows out. We have an emergency fireside heater so are not unduly worried.


Friday 19 November 1965

Weather cleared but 40 knot winds still gusting. Pat [Bensley], John [Gordon] and I {Brian Woinarski] prepared the rest of the gear to be taken up to the summit. This necessitated strapping the 12 volt 15 plate battery on to an "H" frame pack, and lashing a spare beacon panel onto another. John [Gordon] and I [Brian Woinarski] then set off up the mountain. On the first call over the Tellurometer we contacted Max [Corry] at Anniversary [Nunataks] (much to his and our surprise). Unfortunately the wind was far too strong for theodolite readings and in general not good for survey work at all. (I [Brian Woinarski] had erected the heliograph only to have it blown over as soon as my back was turned). Max [Corry] decided to take only one Tellurometer set of readings and then bring his party over to us and continue the main traverse. Having completed this set we dismantled the gear and carried all but the Tellurometer back to the caravans. While we had been working on the mountain, Jock [McGhee] had serviced the D4s and attempted once more to get the heater to work, but without success. We will use the Fyreside heater instead. Mike [Poulton] had been preparing his meteorological gear and Pat had come up and helped us carry the equipment back. In the evening the Snow Trac party arrived but with only one vehicle. The other had been depoted 7 miles back with a suspected seized brake drum. They will return for it in the morning.


Saturday 20 November 196

Weather fine. This morning the Snow Trac departed with Keith [Watson], Peter [McGrath] and Dave [Carter] aboard. They returned at 1450 without the second Snow Trac. The trouble was not in the brake drum, but a badly damaged bearing and housing in the offside front drive sprocket wheel. We have no spares with which to replace it and there are none at Mawson. We were faced with a dilemma. Either the remaining Snow Trac returns to Mawson and the Mechanics turn up a bush and housing to replace it, or depot the vehicle and proceed on using the Polaris for our forward station. As the first alternative would mean almost a week delay, even if all went well, (there was always a possibility that the second Snow Trac became slotted on the way to or from Mawson) we decided to take the second alternative, i.e. to proceed with the Polaris etc. We informed Bill Edward the Senior Diesel Mechanic at Mawson of our predicament and he confirmed our decision as he checked and could find no similar sized bearing on the station. The remainder of the day was spent servicing the vehicle and erecting a new beacon at Twintop.


I [Brian Woinarski] took the first of a series of skin and nose swabs from the men tonight. This is to be done every 10 to 14 days as part of the doctors physiology programme.


Sunday 21 November 1965

Weather fine and calm. Temperature -8°F at 1200. This morning Keith [Watson], Peter [McGrath] and Dave [Carter] drove Mandy the Snow Trac [No.7] over to the depoted vehicle, returning inside two hours with the majority of the field gear etc. with which it had been loaded. The rest of the party were busy servicing and preparing the vehicles and equipment for tomorrow's departure. This evening when everything was shipshape, Max [Corry], John [Gordon] and Dave [Carter] climbed to the Twintop summit to take angle shots of the prominent features with the theodolite and also to take a panoramic series of photographs for survey purposes.


Monday 22 November 1965

Up at 0715. Weather looked reasonable for travel although there was fairly steady 25 knot wind and a little ground drift. We got rolling at 0900, leaving Max [Corry], Peter [McGrath] and Dave [Carter] as a rear guard behind us. They will remain at Twintop until we have completed the first Tellurometer measurement with them on a point on the highway approximately 20 miles down.


The first 2 miles or so was plain sailing over blue ice, then we hit the soft snow and had to double shuffle again. The drift closed in after only a mile or so of this, and a halt was called. After waiting for some time for conditions to improve, without any such sign, we pulled up the trains for the night. Drift and 40 knot winds all rest of the day. No radio contact with either Mawson or Twintop.


Tuesday 23 November 1965

Conditions improved by lunchtime today and we anticipated a break sometime in the afternoon. At 1600 we were still waiting for the weather to clear. John [Gordon] contacted Peter [McGrath] at Twintop and also spoke to Mawson. For some reason or other the Twintop trio intend coming over to us this afternoon (we are only 4 miles from them). By 1700, the weather had cleared sufficiently for us to prepare to move. We had just connected up the trains when the Snow Trac arrived. They had not expected us to move today. We waved goodbye to them as we headed South, they North.


Very slow progress with individual trains. Orange B with Mike [Poulton], Jock [McGhee] and myself [Brian Woinarski] plus the large caravan, miscellaneous sledge, and food sledge stopped at stake 62/T2 at 2250.  Mr William and Co pulling in at 0012. We unhitched the tractors, refuelled them, then parked them obliquely behind the workshop caravan as we had done on the Autumn trip.


Weather : Temperature +6°F, wind 30 - 10 knots, mileage : 8 miles.


Wednesday 24 November 1965

Weather bound again all day.


Thursday 25 November 1965

Woke to hear wind and drift whistling around the caravan. By 1800 conditions had improved and we were able to move off at 1945. We eventually made 62/T4 at 0100 and after refuelling etc. we hit the sack.


Weather : Temperature +10°F, wind 25 knots, mileage :6.8 miles.


Friday 26 November 1965

Up early, all helped unload the Polaris. Jock [McGhee] and Keith [Watson] cleaned out the petrol starter motors of both D4s, both having somehow got drift in them, causing trouble starting yesterday. By 1400 we were ready to set up our first Tellurometer station and informed the Twintop trio of this on our 1400 sched. We then set off on the Polaris and one D4 to a high spot ahead slightly east of a point about midway between 62/T4 and the previous marker (Johny's grave). Duly set up marker [NM/S/80] and John [Gordon] proceeded to work the Tellurometer. Within 45 minutes the Tellurometer measurements were completed and John [Gordon] then set up the theodolite and took a series of vertical [angle] measurements. We left the Tellurometer set up as a target for Max [Corry on Twintop] and returned to the train and prepared the dog sledge for tomorrow's move on. We then returned, picked up the Tellurometer and back to the train for tea. (pork fillets with apple pie to follow). The Snow Trac party came in at 2300. Max [Corry] was a little disappointed as refraction had prevented him obtaining his horizontal angle readings. We will have to complete these on the return journey.


Saturday 27 November 1965

Up at 0730. High wind would prevent any survey instrument measurements being taken, so delayed departure until 1000, when the wind had moderated somewhat. Pat [Bensley] and I [Brian Woinarski] led the way on the Polaris, with the two trains following, while Max [Corry] went back to the survey station [NM/S/80] in the Snow Trac. We reached the marker beyond 62/T5 at 1245, and set up the target. Unfortunately our Walkie Talkie radio did not work and we could not make contact at 1300 as arranged. A slight ridge hid the rear station and we were not sure whether or not they could see the target. By this time Mr William and train had reached 62/T5 so Pat [Bensley] and I [Brian Woinarski] returned to them and radioed out at 1400, that we would dismantled the tower and reerect it back about 1 mile north on the ridge. (no contact again but went back and dismantled tower as they would have had time to take horizontals if tower visible).


Dismantled tower but had trouble starting Polaris. It eventually started but cut out again when 200 yards from Mr William. Keith [Watson] managed to get it going again after half an hour's effort. Peter [McGrath] made contact with Mike {Poulton] in Mr William. His party (Snow Trac group) and Orange B were at the ridge about one mile back. We drove up to them on the Polaris and the Snow Trac returned to the first station. We set up NM/S/81 on the ridge and completed theodolite and Tellurometer readings. All then returned to the trains. After a tea break, John [Gordon] and I [Brian Woinarski] set off on the Polaris for the next drum on top of the ridge. We set up NM/S/82 there. The Snow Trac party blew a tyre while returning to NM/S/81. Fortunately they had only gone 400 yards from the train when it happened. Much time and effort spent replacing the wheel (different sized wheels on new Snow Trac to old). It was eventually replaced and they went back to NM/S/81. John [Gordon] took some readings from NM/S/82 but was forced to curtail readings when scintillation became too severe. Both vehicles returned to the D4s by 0100. Bed by 0130. A long day with a number of setbacks, which I suppose must be expected for the first few days.


Sunday 28 November 1965

Passed through Depot A today. Weather fine, temperature +3°F with 10 - 15 knot wind. Tellurometer and theodolite now becoming reasonably efficient. In all covered 11 miles today and are now at 62/T7 with survey station NM/S/84 approximately half a mile back. The progressive station stages are based on light of sight readings which because of the unevenness of the terrain, vary considerably in distance apart. The forward party proceeds to a point where it can still see the rear station, at the same time trying to pick this point so that the next forward station can be observed at the furthermost point from it. Trouble with the Snow Trac radio, the portable battery charger and flat batteries means that tomorrow we will spend here remedying these faults, as any of them could effect the program if not rectified. The Tellurometer measurements were completed at 0030 and all back at the caravans by 0100. Issued a "tot" of rum to celebrate passing through Depot A.


Monday 29 November 1965

Spent the day at 62/T7. Jock [McGhee] repaired the fan on the welder and also the generator housing. John Gordon worked on the radio but could find nothing wrong with the Snow Trac set. The "Walkie Talkie" sets are practically useless except for very short distances (up to half a mile). This has made contact between survey parties difficult once the Tellurometer had been dismantled.


Tuesday 30 November 1965

Weather not very good as the wind was over 20 knots and slight ground drift was blowing. Max [Corry] decided to attempt the next leg. Pat [Bensley] and John [Gordon] got away on the Polaris at 1130 and Max [Corry] took Dave [Carter] and Mike {Poulton] back with him in the Snow Trac to NM/S/84. At 1200 Keith [Watson] took Mr William and his train on towards the next station, leaving Jock [McGhee] and myself [Brian Woinarski] ready to move on with Orange B We moved on only 10 yards and Jock [McGhee] realised that there was something wrong with the D4. At first he thought it was the air cleaner and he heated this and pulled it down. Eventually he traced the trouble to the impeller blades being completely broken off from the turbo charger. By this time 1500, Max [Corry] arrived at the caravan, with Keith [Watson] and Mr William coming in from the opposite direction at the same time. Max [Corry] had a sad tale to relate; first he had not been able to observe his back marker at NM/S/83, then his batteries had failed again, and finally the Polaris crew were off course and also had battery trouble.


Keith [Watson] and Jock [McGhee] worked on Orange B until 1930, then both D4s were connected to the train and we drove on to the other caravan about 3 miles further on. Meanwhile Max [Corry] and his crew had gone on along the highway up to 62/T8 and hence across to the train. The Polaris crew of Pat [Bensley] and John [Gordon] had also been across and had located the trail markers. On arrival at the train something went wrong with the Snow Trac gearbox and Max [Corry] could only engage third and fourth gears. Keith [Watson] remedied this in a few minutes on his arrival with Orange B's train. Orange B now losing oil as not getting sufficient air. Jock [McGhee] will attempt to adapt a setup akin to that on Mr William tomorrow.


Wednesday 1 December 1965

Another day of setbacks. To begin with Max's Tellurometer batteries had frozen. These had to be thawed out and recharged. Next the fanbelt to the water pump on the welder broke and Jock [McGhee] had to manufacture a new one. The weather this morning was not good for survey work but it cleared up by early afternoon. Max [Corry] took a 44 gallon drum over to the next survey point as a marker. At 1600 we set off for the first and final measurement of the day. John [Gordon] and Pat [Bensley] went across to the new station, while Peter [McGrath], Max [Corry], Dave [Carter] and I [Brian Woinarski] went back to the previous station, with Peter [McGrath] and I [Brian Woinarski] being prepared to go back to NM/S/83 if Max [Corry] was still unable to pick out the marker. Fortunately he was able to see it quite clearly, as we discovered a hole in the wall of the rear offside tensioning wheel [of the Snow Trac] on arriving at NM/S/84. We vulcanised a patch over the hole while Max [Corry] and Dave [Carter] concluded their survey readings. Peter [McGrath] had contacted the [tractor] trains to learn that John [Gordon] and Pat [Bensley] had had battery trouble. I [Brian Woinarski] suggested that they return with a new battery and complete their readings, which they succeeded to do. At the same time we learned that Keith [Watson] had set off in the D4 to inspect the Snow Trac tyre. He eventually arrived but could not repair it on the spot, so removed the wheel and took it back on the tractor to the trains. When Pat [Bensley] and John [Gordon] had completed their readings, Mike [Poulton] drove the Polaris down to NM/S/84 and picked up the survey gear. The rest of us walked the 3 miles back to the [tractor] trains, leaving [Snow Trac] Mandy until tomorrow. During our absence Jock [McGhee] had completed the work on Orange B, manufacturing inlet and exhaust pipes, also repairing the Herman [Nelson] heater hose, and finally when the Polaris returned, he changed the oil in it. All in all we got quite a bit of work done, but also had a number of setbacks. Such is life ---.


Thursday 2 December 196526 November 1965

Weather fine. All pointed to it being a good working day. Unfortunately once again things went wrong. Our first Tellurometer reading was completed with a coverage of over 4 miles, we were pleased with this. While completing this leg, Jock [McGhee] and Keith [Watson] went back to the Snow Trac and fitted a different sized wheel to the Snow Trac as the cover had to be replaced and all that was available was that on the spare from the depoted Snow Trac, and it was a different size. When this was finished they drove the Snow Trac up to Max's station. This was the prearranged signal for John [Gordon] and I [Brian Woinarski] to move ahead on the Polaris and establish the next station. We proceeded along the highway until reaching 62/T9. From this point we could no longer see the previous station so headed towards a dome N.E of the highway. After travelling for 2 miles we could not see the station so headed back across the highway south west of it. We still could not sight the station, so headed back towards it, finally sighting it less than 2 miles off. We set up the new station and concluded our measurements before returning to the [tractor] trains which had moved on to a spot on the highway 1 mile south east of 62/T9. We are now 15.8 miles beyond Depot A and 91.8 miles from Mawson.


Friday 3 December 1965

Drifted in all day. Took second set of skin and nose swabs today.


Saturday 4 December 1965

Drifted in again.


Sunday 5 December 1965

Wind and drift have increased, now blizzed in well and truly. Drift is building up around the trains and we will have plenty of spade work to do before we begin to roll again.


Monday 6 December 1965

Blizzed in again.


Tuesday 7 December 1965

Woke at 0600. Visibility still limited as wind sufficiently strong to raise ground drift, with accompanying haze. Waited until 0700 but no improvement. Decided to start preparing vehicles etc. at 1100. Much manual labour but eventually managed to clear the trains and vehicles. At 1630 conditions cleared sufficiently for the survey parties to go out. The trains waited until one survey leg was completed, then moved on for another 4 miles along the highway, reaching the marker drum 2 miles before 62/T10 at 2140. Unfortunately scintillation prevented completion of the second set of survey readings and only one leg was completed for the day. The survey teams returned at 2330, finally to bed by 0100.


Wednesday 8 December 1965

Another day of disappointing weather. Wind over 25 knots and medium ground drift. By 1600 the wind has dropped sufficiently for the survey teams to set out. John [Gordon] and I [Brian Woinarski] went forward on Polaris to establish the next station NM/S/88 (Max [Corry] had begun a new station identification system). We set up the Tellurometer at a point about 800 yards from 62/T10, made contact with Max [Corry] and began measuring. While we had been moving forward, the tractor trains had started up and moved on to the marker drum 1 mile before 62/T10 where they stopped. Midway through our readings weather conditions deteriorated and we were forced to cancel an almost complete set of readings. A new set was obtained from a light which John [Gordon] took to be a heliograph or Lucas lamp set up by Max [Corry]. It turned out to have been the sun reflected off the Snow Trac windscreen, so another set of readings came to nought. Max [Corry] had similarly been unable to obtain his horizontal readings and we will have to repeat them again tomorrow.


Thursday 9 December 1965

No movement again for weather too poor for survey work. Max [Corry] and Mike [Poulton] took a marker drum over to the new station NM/S/89 set up by John [Gordon] and I [Brian Woinarski] yesterday. On their return they painted a dozen canes black for easier identification. Radio contact with Mawson has been very good so far this trip.


Friday 10 December 1965

No Movement again as weather poor. Temperature at Mawson today -40°F, here -20°F.


Saturday 11December 1965

Moving at last. Woke with the wind still blowing at 25 knots. This gradually subsided and by 1200 it has eased off and we set out to try to clear up the rear legs. as planned yesterday. The Snow Trac and Polaris set out for the 10 mile leg back. Mike [Poulton] and I [Brian Woinarski] set up a target at NM/S/88, then moved on to NM/S/87 where the Snow Trac was already set up as a platform for Max's theodolite. Max [Corry] completed his readings then moved forward again to NM/S/88, leaving Mike [Poulton] and I [Brian Woinarski] to bring back the tower on the Polaris. While we were cleaning up the rear legs, John [Gordon] was at NM/S/89 taking theodolite readings back to NM/S/88. Unfortunately he sighted on NM/S/87 instead, and his readings will have to be repeated. While the survey work was in progress, Keith [Watson] moved ahead with his train, Jock [McGhee] remaining behind as John [Gordon] was using the D4 as a platform. When all readings were completed all moved on to halt for the night at a spot reached by Keith [Watson] about 1˝ miles beyond 62/T10. The weather today was the best we have had since leaving Twintop. Temperature +9°F, mileage : 3 miles


Sunday 12 December 1965

A fine day again. The survey teams were away by 0945, with David [Carter] and I [Brian Woinarski] on the Polaris moving down to NM/S/88 about 6 miles back along the highway. Max [Corry], Pat [Bensley], and Jock [McGhee] took Orange B and train a mile or so along the highway, then leaving the sledges they made their way back to NM/S/89, where the D4 was used as a survey platform. The Snow Trac, with John [Gordon] and Peter [McGrath] aboard went ahead to set up NM/S/90, some miles further along the highway. David [Carter] had trouble locating NM/S/89 for some time, due to sporadic drift which set in, obscuring the target. On completion of this leg Max [Corry] fired off a very flare as a signal for us to dismantle the tower and proceed to the train depoted by Orange B. We were to be joined there by Max [Corry] and co. when they had completed their forward readings. As the Polaris drew abreast of NM/S/89, a very flare attracted our attention, so we went over to learn that the forward party were only a mile ahead, having been unable to sight NM/S/89 from further ahead. Max [Corry] completed his readings so Dave [Carter] and I [Brian Woinarski] moved on to the Snow Trac. There John [Gordon] changed over with Dave {Carter] and John [Gordon] and I [Brian Woinarski] took the Polaris on about 6 miles and set up NM/S/91. We made contact with Max [Corry] at NM/S/90, then completed the theodolite readings. A faulty switch prevented the Tellurometer readings from being taken and all returned to the trains (about ˝ mile from NM/S/91) by 2200. John [Gordon] is working on the Tellurometer switch as I [Brian Woinarski] write this, while Max [Corry] is adjusting the altimeters. Temperature +10°F, mileage : 6 miles.


Monday 13 December 1965

No movement today due to whiteout and snowfall. Max [Corry] and John [Gordon] tested out the Tellurometers which appear A1 again. Peter [McGrath] worked on the Snow Trac tracks which need constant attention. I [Brian Woinarski] did a makeshift repair job on the dog sledge, both runners having cracked at the base of the handle bars.


Tuesday 14December 1965

Started work at 0100 as conditions appeared good. Some whiteout still present but able to discern the larger sastrugi. John [Gordon] and Peter [McGrath] went back to NM/S/90 in the Snow Trac and completed the Tellurometer readings to NM/S/91, while Dave [Carter] and I [Brian Woinarski] pushed on to 62/T12 and set up the wooden tower over the markings there. Dave [Carter] took theodolite verticals then we returned to the train and bed by 0500. Up again at 1230, only to learn that Max [Corry] was not going to use the station set up by Dave [Carter] and I [Brian Woinarski] as it was not on the horizon. Mike [Poulton] and I [Brian Woinarski] took the Polaris and aluminium tower and set it up 3.5 miles beyond 62/T12 establishing NM/S/92. NM/S/91 was clearly visible through the theodolite. We then moved on to 62/T13 about 1 mile further along the highway. From here the highway markers are visible almost to 62/T14. We then returned to meet the train which had moved on about 3 miles before halting because of whiteout. By the time we reached it the whiteout was complete. No further work today. Temperature +14°F, mileage : 31.1 miles. NB : The Polaris did over 20 miles today and is really proving invaluable.


Wednesday.15December 1965. A fine day and by far our best survey wise. Started at 0930 and finished at 2130, a total of 18 miles was covered. This included work from NM/S/91 to the station set up by Mike [Poulton] and I [Brian Woinarski] yesterday, and carried on for another 6 miles to NM/S/93 set up by John [Gordon] and Pat [Bensley] just beyond 62/T14. They then went a further 2˝ miles and set up NM/S/94. The tractor train pushed through from 1000 until finally stopping for the night at NM/S/93 approximately 17 miles from Depot B. Max [Corry] and Peter [McGrath] returned to pick up the target left at NM/S/92 but whiteout rendered this impossible and they returned to the trains.


Tonight I [Brian Woinarski] collected the third set of skin and nose swabs for the Doc. [Cameron]. Temperature +18°F, mileage : 10 miles.


Thursday 16 December 1965

Heavy snowfall and whiteout prevented any movement today.


Friday 17 December 1965

All up at 0800 and tractors moving by 1000. A drift haze quickly put paid to any thought on survey work and the train halted at NM/S/94 only 2˝ miles further on. Listened to Radio Australia and heard our request record 500 Miles from My Home played.


Saturday 18 December 1965

Drifted in all day. Very heavy drift and winds up to 40 knots, with cloud cover indicating possible blizzard tomorrow.


Sunday 19 December 1965

Blizzard all day.


Monday 20 December 1965

Blizzard all day, but clearing by 2400.


Tuesday 21 December 1965

Once again wind and drift too strong for movement. Visibility varying from 5-100 yards.


Wednesday 22 December 1965

Weather again poor, no movement although it appears to be improving as I [Brian Woinarski] write this (2330).


Thursday 23 December 1965

All up at 0600 as weather near perfect for a change. While Pat [Bensley] and John [Gordon] went forward on the Polaris to set up the next station, the rest of us got busy with shovels and spades and dug the trains out. Peter [McGrath] had cleaned out the Snow Trac late last night and soon had it ready to transport Max back to the previous station. Unfortunately he ran up onto one of the sledge runners as he drove up to check the drive chains. This apparently caused a fracture in the steering cup housing and we were forced to depot the vehicle until the return trip as no spare part was available. Also, while towing the trains out, Orange B had suffered a broken winch rope, and a fan belt was broken. Despite these setbacks the Tellurometer and theodolite readings were completed to the forward station [NM/S/95] 8 miles on. From this station [NM/S/95] Depot Peak is clearly visible and so no further station will be necessary on this leg of the traverse. We pushed on to the next station [NM/S/95] where Jock [McGhee] welded three 44 gallon drums together for a marker (this had to be visible from Depot Peak). This was erected beside the station marker in addition to the wooden survey tower which was erected over the survey peg. We then continued to Depot B. On arrival there, Keith [Watson] discovered an oil leak in Mr William, which he will have to repair tomorrow. Much work was done on the food sledge which was repacked and desnowed. While this was being done a work party dug out all the food at the depot (most was drifted in). Temperature +4.3°F, mileage : 15.4 miles.


Friday 24 December 1965

Weather fine. No movement today as there was a great deal of work to be done on the vehicles and sledges. The Depot food has been systematically set out and a record of the food distribution will be taken back to Mawson and included in the Depot Book.


The two mechanics have serviced the D4s and most of the miscellaneous sledge has been unpacked and repacked again (we are depoting all the Snow Trac spares plus most of the scaffolding, and will recover them on our return). We were all disappointed when our Radio Australia programs failed to come up, as today we are celebrating as Christmas Day and many of us were expecting messages. Had a pleasant informal sched with Mawson and all had a word of greeting to pass on. The postman called and everyone received a beautiful Christmas card from Ted Foley. These were very much appreciated. After Christmas Dinner of Roast Lamb and Christmas pudding, all gave a hand loading up 8 drums of ATK from the Depot. We offloaded 2 drums of Viscostatic oil and 1 of MS [(Motor spirit ie petrol)]. We loaded up 3 beacons that Jock [McGhee] had welded up for Max [Corry] (2 were 4 drum beacons, 1 a 3 drum). Finished loading the miscellaneous sledge and when all finished, we returned to the large caravan for some Christmas refreshment.


Saturday 25 December 1965

Christmas Day. All up at 0800. Weather far from perfect but good enough for travel. Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] set off on the Polaris along the Stinear route we had set up on the Autumn trip. Near whiteout conditions plus low drift retarded progress and we were forced to wait for the tractor trains whenever we were more than half a mile from them. Visibility became worse and after 3 miles we proceeded on a compass course between trail markers. With visibility down to 400 yards and rapidly getting worse we managed another 1˝ miles before bringing the trains to a halt. The weather grew worse all day until blizzard conditions, 40 knot winds and heavy drift set in. Temperature +10°F, mileage : 4.5 miles.


Sunday 26 December 1965

Blizzed in all day, by far the worst of our trip; can't see caravans in front or behind us.


Monday 27 December 1965

Weather still bad.


Tuesday 28 December 1965

Still blizzing.


Wednesday 29 December 1965

Blizzing still. Received word from Mawson of Russian invitation to us for an observer to fly in to the Russian glaciological/geological survey party at Manning Nunataks. They will investigate the Prince Charles Mountains to ascertain the geological link with Enderby Land. Cabled back acceptance with proviso that our representative [who was John Haigh Geophysicist] be back in time for Changeover. Also notified Director of the Russian invitation.


Thursday 30 December 1965

Still blizzing with 40 knot wind and drift.


Friday 31December 1965

Weather fine at last, 10-15 knot wind and slight drift, otherwise quite good for travel. An early start was made as the major part of the trains was dug out at 0100 in anticipation of a good day today. Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] acted as pathfinders on the Polaris, as we set out towards Depot Peak. The new trail we marked with cane black flag markers at approximately half mile intervals. We arrived at Depot Peak as 1330, and climbed the lesser summit [Peak 4] to check for crevasses which might have been hidden from us at ground level on the way in. The route appeared clear although a marked area of crevassing is evident only 300 yards from our route in, and the spot where the trains eventually parked. Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] returned to meet the trains and guide them in over the last mile or so. When the trains were pulled up Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] took a 2 drum beacon over to the bottom of peak on the Polaris, then returned in time to listen to Calling Antarctica. We were amply rewarded as many of us received belated Christmas Greetings. After this Max {Corry], John [Gordon], Pat [Bensley], Mike [Poulton], Dave [Carter] and I [Brian Woinarski] set off with the rock drill, rope and beaconing material to set the beacon. Much roping and manhauling was eventually rewarded with the beacon all set up and painted. (Australia's southernmost beacon). All then returned to the trains where Jock [McGhee], Peter [McGrath] and Keith [Watson] had prepared a roast for tea. After tea we welcomed in the New Year in traditional manner, a very enjoyable night of yarning over a convivial ale or two.


Saturday 1 January 1966

No work today as the wind and drift too strong for survey work.


Sunday 2 January 1966

A well nigh perfect day with very little wind or drift. All up at 0600. At 0930, John [Gordon] and Pat [Bensley] set off on the Polaris bound for NM/S/95, some 6 miles on the Mawson side of Depot B. The rest of us carried the survey gear up to the beacon. At 1100, Max [Corry] contacted the Polaris crew (he had already completed his horizontal angle work using Peak 7 and NM/S/95). Within 2 hours the Tellurometer work was finished and the Polaris started back. We carried the Tellurometer gear down to the train, leaving the theodolites there for Max [Corry] when taking his start shots later in the evening. While waiting for the return of the Polaris men, most of us spent the time rambling around the very picturesque peak. Many small garnets are to be found in this area. The Polaris arrived at 1830, and after a quick tea. Max [Corry], Dave [Carter] and I [Brian Woinarski] went up to take the astrofix. Unfortunately despite apparent ideal conditions Max [Corry] was unable to sight the stars (it was broad daylight for 24 hours) and at 2200 we abandoned the attempt and brought the gear back to the trains. Max [Corry] will not try again as it would not be possible to get better conditions than we had for this time of the year. We hope to get a 0600 start tomorrow for the first stage of our return trip home. (Lack of time due to loss caused by bad weather has forced us to terminate out traverse at Depot Peak).


Monday 3 January 1966

All up at 0600. Weather ideal for travel. Jock [McGhee], Max [Corry] and Mike [Poulton] took the Polaris up to the mountain to collect the rope, then after half an hour's break to take the group photograph with the [Depot] Peak as background, we eventually began to roll. Max [Corry] led the way on the Polaris as he was checking the angles on then stake line and straightening it up where necessary. After 2 hours of good progress, a halt was called when Keith [Watson] noticed that Mr William was losing oil again. By the time the leaking oil line was repaired a bank of cloud had spread over much of the previously clear blue sky, and we were forced to proceed in gradually increasing whiteout conditions. We managed to reach the Stinear route by 1530, and there we halted as the whiteout had become total and to proceed would have been foolish. No further movement today. Temperature +8°F, mileage : 8.5 miles. NB : The stakeline to Depot Peak is marked at approximately half mile intervals. The trail begins 4˝ miles down the Stinear route, the turnoff indicated by a 44 gallon drum with indicating arrows painted on the sides.


Tuesday 4 January 1966

Had arranged that Mike [Poulton] wake all personnel at 0600, if weather conditions OK. Unfortunately whiteout still present so did not wake the rest until 0800. Whiteout still persisted but it looked like improving. By 1100 we were rolling, Max [Corry] leading the way on the Polaris, straightening up the Stinear route markers as he went. All went well and we reached Depot B at 1300. While fuel and some depoted Snow Tracs parts etc. were onloaded (1x44 ATK), Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] went on ahead on the Polaris to NM/S/95 some 8 miles towards Mawson. There we took a series of horizontals necessary for linking up Depot Peak with the rest of the traverse. The trains drew up with us at 1600. As Peter [McGrath] had a radio sched with Mawson we waited for it to finish before moving on at 1700. We reached NM/S/94 at 2000, and proceeded to unload the food sledge and to load the depoted Snow Trac onto it. The remaining food fitted onto the Snow Trac sledge, except for 2 cases which were carried on the fuel sledge. As Mr William was losing oil again we decided to call it a day. Keith [Watson] traced the leak to a loose gasket which he replaced. We are ready for an early start tomorrow. Temperature +9°F, mileage : 20.2 miles.


Wednesday 5 January 1966

All up at 0600, but to no avail as whiteout did not lift sufficiently for travel until 0930. Even then conditions for travel were poor. However with Max [Corry] and Dave [Carter] leading the way on the Polaris, we set off. Fortunately then sastrugi had flattened down considerably and no bad ridges were encountered. Max [Corry] and Dave [Carter] took a series of survey photographs at NM/S/93, 2˝ miles on from our starting point. Camera failure caused a halt for repairs when the trains drew up to the station. The fault was rectified by Dave [Carter], our official camera man, and we began to move again, this time with a man walking in front of each D4 as the whiteout had not improved, and the Polaris was to remain at NM/S/93 until the series of photographs were completed. When the Polaris returned to the train, John [Gordon] and Pat [Bensley] took over the task of pathfinders from Max [Corry] and Dave [Carter]. They lead the way for about 4 miles, then returned to NM/S/93. By this time the whiteout had disappeared. The trains stopped at NM/S/92 and Max [Corry] took a series of horizontal and vertical angles on the theodolite. At the same time John [Gordon] was taking verticals from NM/S/93. When these were finished John [Gordon] and Pat [Bensley] returned to the trains which were just preparing to move off again. Mike [Poulton] and Dave [Carter] then acted as pathfinders to a point 7 miles further along the highway. By this time the weather was perfected and most of the crew walked beside the trains stripped to the waist, acquiring varying degrees of sunburn in the process. The final 5 miles were completed with Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] as pathfinders. Finally stopped at 2300 after a very good day's run. Temperature +15°F, mileage : 23 miles.


Thursday 6 January 1966

Weather perfect, trains rolling by 1000. Max [Corry] and Dave [Carter] went ahead on the Polaris to the survey station [NM/S/89] 2 miles on where they completed horizontal [angle] readings. The trains struggled up the slope to 62/T10, but from then on found the going much better. The trains stopped about 6 miles on to wait for the Polaris. From there on Pat [Bensley] and John [Gordon] acted as pathfinders. A bank of drift seemed to threatened us from the south east, but fortunately it didn't catch up with us and we proceeded in bright sunshine and no wind. Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] took over as pathfinders into Depot A. There we dug out the fuel, winching out the drums and repositioning them (there appears to be a heavy drift accumulation at this Depot). NB : No fuel taken from the Depot. Pushed on for another 9.7 miles before halting for the night. Twintop is now in sight approximately 25 miles away. Temperature +15°F, mileage : 34.7 miles.


Friday 7 January 1966

Perfect weather again. All rolling by 0930, with Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] acting as pathfinders as far as the survey station opposite Johny's grave [NM/S.80]. Here we dug a hole to take the 4 drum beacon which we erected when the trains caught up to us. Max also erected the wooden target over the survey peg. He will leave it there as we have no further use for it once the theodolite readings are taken from Twintop. As soon as the beacon and target were erected Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] pushed on with the Polaris as we were anxious to reach Twintop and there complete the final survey readings of the trip. We finally reached Twintop at 1505, approximately 2˝ ahead of the trains. We climbed to the beacon and finished off the horizontal [angle] readings that Max [Corry] had been unable to obtain when he was last here. By the time we reached the bottom of the mountain the trains were level with us and moving fast over the blue ice. All pushed on to the Depot, where a halt was made at 1930. After tea we unloaded the fuel sledge so it can be used to carry the second Snow Trac when it is recovered tomorrow. Temperature +19°F, mileage : 24.7 miles.

NB : Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] saw a Wilson's Storm Petrel while climbing Twintop.


Saturday 8 January 1966

This morning Jock [McGhee], Keith [Watson], Mike [Poulton] and Peter [McGrath] set off with a D4 and the empty articulated sledge to recover the depoted Snow Trac. While they were gone Max [Corry] and Dave [Carter] returned to Twintop [summit] and took another set of horizontals [angles] as those we obtained yesterday showed a progressive drift due to refraction. Pat [Bensley] John [Gordon] and I [Brian Woinarski] were left holding the fort. Tidied up the depot, restacking the fuel and food dumps, both having suffered from the strong winds which blow over the blue ice. Halfway through this task Jock [McGhee} and Keith [Watson] walked into camp. They had slotted the D4 on the way to the Snow Trac. They took the second D4 and the miscellaneous sledge and set off again. Shortly after their departure, Max [Corry] and Dave [Carter] arrived back from Twintop [summit], and within half an hour of their return the dogteam field party from Mawson arrived. The party consists of John Bennett, Attila Vrana, Greg Martin and Bob Lachal, plus two dogteams. All looked fit and well. They have done quite a bit of mountaineering, capping it with a climb to the top of Mt Hordern yesterday. Over a cup of soup, they related their experiences to us. So far they have spent 3 days climbing, mainly in the Central Masson Range. After setting up their tents beside us they joined us for tea (roast lamb etc.). We were given all the gossip from Mawson, particularly being interested in the impending Russian visit. As the Snow Trac recovery team did not arrive back until just before tea, and they had had a trying day, with whiteout conditions for the final 5 miles back to camp, we will not move off until tomorrow.


Sunday 9 January 1966

Up at 0600, but did not get away until 0915 as a group photograph of the joint field parties was taken. (13 men). Made excellent time for the first 2 miles over blue ice, then slowed down somewhat once the snow was encountered. I [Brian Woinarski] led the way on the Polaris, and fairly good time was made until reaching a point 11 miles from Twintop, when the heavy cloud cover closed down on us and we experienced a very heavy fall of snow. During the ensuring halt we heard the Russian aircraft overhead and speculated whether they would land or not. At 1830, the snow had ceased and the whiteout eased sufficiently for us to proceed. We hit the blue ice (now covered with a thin layer of soft new snow) south west of Horderns Gap and made good time once on it. Although keeping well north west of the danger area we had a very unpleasant three hours over the final 400 yards to the safe red flag marker. Both D4s were slotted at one stage, and Mr William was on his beam ends in one slot for over an hour. Finally with the aid of bridging timbers, much chipping of ice plus Jock [McGhee] at the helm of Orange B, we managed to haul Mr William out sidewards. Double hauling was necessary over the final stage to the red flag, where we decided to call it a day, hitting the sack at 0300.


Monday 10 January 1966

Final day of trip. Home at last. All up at 0800, but not rolling until 1220, as whiteout persisted until 1100. Proceeded for a short distance past Hordern Gap with each D4 pulling its own train, but Orange B refused to tackle the uphill stretch alone, and double shuffling was necessary for the next 5 miles or so. Then on to the snow covered blue ice, with Max [Corry] and I [Brian Woinarski] ahead on the Polaris as pathfinders. The trains reached Rumdoodle at 1800, without mishap. There we unloaded the remaining food and replace the Depot LPG bottle with a new one. We then moved over to the Russian airfield. and loaded 4 x 50 [200 litre] gallon drums of Russian fuel onto the Snow Trac sledge (to be taken to Gwamm). We pressed on then anxious to get home. A detour was made to inspect the two [AN 2] Russian aircraft tied down near the Russian fuel dump. After a close inspection and many photographs, we set off again, only to halt once more at Gwamm where we met the Russians on their way back to their aircraft. Fraternised with them for half an hour or so and then both parties set off again, the Russians to wait in their aircraft for a favourable weather report from Moldezhnaya and ourselves to Mawson, a hot shower and bed. Had no difficultly with the main trains coming down the ice slope, but the Polaris had to be towed over the melt streams. Finally parked the trains on the snow ridge beside the dog lines, refuelled and the trip was over.


I would like to thank all members of the party for the way in which they tackled their work. Despite numerous setbacks and dreary days of inactivity the party was a particularly enjoyable experience for us all. My thanks to those who remained behind and carried on the work of the station on our absence. The facelift the station has undergone while we were away has really been an eye opener to us.

B. Woinarski.



Summary of Trip

The main aim of the trip, which was to establish a Tellurometer survey link between Twintop and Depot Peak, has been accomplished. Unfortunately delays due to bad weather and the failure of the two Snow Tracs prevented us from extending the line to Peak Seven in the Stinear Nunataks.


The beaconing of Van Hulssen, Anniversary Nunataks, and the consolidation of McNair Nunatak beacon was achieved without undue difficulty, enabling the surveyor to ascertain the necessary theodolite readings required for linking to the Tellurometer traverse.


The glaciological ablation stakes were measured as requested, results have now been forwarded to UniMELB [University of Melbourne which supervised the glaciology program].


A route suitable for D4 travel has been established into Depot Peak.


A full set of Meteorological observations has been recorded from Twintop to Depot Peak and return.


Radio contact was maintained with Mawson daily, although poor reception was recorded sever times during the trip.


For details of vehicle performance see engineer's report.