Balleny: "Living Hut at Mawson Station" Top 5 Page for this destination Antarctica Hotel Tip by tiabunna
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The small hut in the photo, with an aurora hovering overhead, was the Mawson living hut named "Balleny". All the living huts were named after Antarctic explorers, this was named after John Balleny, the first person to land south of the Antarctic Circle (on the islands now named after him) in 1839. Balleny happened to be the hut in which I lived at Mawson: it provided accommodation for six of us.
As you entered the door (think of a freezer door) you entered a 'cold porch' which was where jackets were hung, then a second freezer door led you into the central corridor. The personal bedroom cubicles (known in ANARE language as 'dongas') were off to either side and were about seven feet square. On the outer wall of each donga there were two small windows, one above the other, with the bed raised and near the top window. It was reached by a ladder. Below was a set of shelving for clothing and a desk near the lower window, with a small hanging closet alongside the bed at the end of the donga.
Unique Qualities: Balleny was different from the other living huts in two ways. It had the only bathtub on the station - never used, thankfully, it was there to enable the total immersion in hot water of anyone who was significantly affected by cold (either hypothermia or frostbite). Every living hut did however have a shower, working from a bucket which was filled with hot water from the tank above the heater, the water in turn being dug from snowdrifts by hand. The heater was the other way 'Balleny' differed: we still had a coal briquette burning pot-bellied heater - and were much warmer and more comfortable than any other hut, even if it was more labour intensive.
You may be able to see the star-trails in the photo. This was taken on old Kodachrome 25 ASA film, so the photo required about a 1 minute exposure!
Address: At the old Mawson station. As we used to say, 'On the smarter side of the crappers'.
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