Midwinter Dinner Antarctic Society Canterbury branch

At 22 June we have our Midwinter Dinner. I am this year’s organiser of the event with help of the committee of the Canterbury branch.

NZAS Midwinter dinner 2017JR_20_April


Great birthdays

On 12 April the Antarctic Society Canterbury branch, the Canterbury Museum and the Lyttelton Museum Society celebrated two important birthdays. Baden Norris, the founder of the Lyttelton Museum, gets 90 years old on Sunday, 16 April. He is a “walking encyclopedia” in Antarctic history matters. Baden and his teams saved the historic huts in the Antarctic in the 1960s and he was long time curator of the Antarctic collection at the Canterbury Museum – what he is still doing on a volunteer basis.

The other birthday-boy is Alex McFerran. At the very day as Baden he will celebrate his 95th birthday. He overwintered at Scott Base in 1970 – 1971 as electrician and dog handler. At this time his colleagues and he were digging out the Hillary tractor and repaired it and brought the vehicle to Scott Base. The tractor is now on display at the Canterbury Museum. in 1974 – 1975 he overwintered at Campbell Island and was involved in erecting and maintaining the meteorological station there.  For his achievements in the Antarctic and his long time membership in the Antarctic Society, Canterbury branch, he was awarded with the life-membership.

It is always amazing meeting these people and hear their stories about the days in the Antarctic. Both men’s experiences in the Antarctic are recorded via the NZAS Oral History project. A wonderful source for current and future historians.



Alex McFerran receives his life membership certificate



Alex McFerran and Baden Norris at their birthday event

Visit of the Nathaniel B. Palmer

The “Nathaniel B. Palmer” is the US research vessel I have seen two weeks ago in the dry dock in Devonport, Auckland, and now I  had the chance to visit her last Friday in Lyttelton. We were a small group and we got a very interesting tour through the ship. The captain spoke to us and we had the chance to discuss some details about the way how research logistics can work and how many institutions are involved in such endeavours. People were busy on board to load and store technical equipment and provision.

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This is our group (I am on the very left). With courtesy Peter McCarthy

Nathaniel B(rown) Palmer was a sealer from the US. He has an anniversary this year: he died on 21 June 1877. He discovered parts of the Antarctic Peninsula. Palmer was also a ship designer, explorer and sailing captain. Palmer station is named after him as well.

It was an interesting afternoon.

Book review published

Deutsche in der Antarktis: this is another book review which is published in the Polar Journal. Cornelia Luedecke wrote an interesting book on the German Antarctic expeditions from the Heroic Era until today. This account is only available in German but – hopefully – she can be persuaded to translate it into English to get a wider readership more familiar with names like Drygalski, Filchner, Ritscher, etc. as addition to the well known one like Scott and Schackleton.