Macquarie Island Sealed Roads
The writer as he looked whilst on Macquarie in 1977
Antarctic Division expeditioners
Thirty-two years ago I, along with nineteen other Antarctic Division expeditioners, wintered on Macquarie Island. To keep ourselves amused, I chose to create and edit a magazine which I called, tongue-in-cheek, "Sealed Roads." There are, of course, no roads on MacQuarie. There are plenty of seals however: elephant seals, leaopard seals, fur seals, and the occassional weddel - hence the magazine's name.
Its first edition started a craze and, before long, the Officer in Charge (O.I.C.) Rod Ledingham, began to issue Macquarie Drivers Licences. They looked very official, bearing various stamps, and a photograph and description of each licence holder. I still have mine somewhere. From memory, it said I was licenced to drive Ferguson tractors, bull elephant seals up to three tons in weight, and various species of penguins.
There were two women on the 1976-77 expedition.
Get out of my road! Your road? I don't think so...
Antarctic Division environment - So much for our sealed roads.
Macquarie's rate payers...I don't think so
It so happened that word must have got out somehow. Now I don't know whether you're aware of it or not, but MacQuarie is supposedly administered by a Tasmanian council. This probably dated right back to the old sealing and whaling days. Anyway, the relief ship, Thala Dan drops off a letter. It's addressed to our O.I.C. Would you believe it- it's a land-rates bill! They want us to pay up. If we don't, we'll be taken to court.
Our O.I.C thought for a while, then penned a reply for me to send off via our radio room. Here's what he said: "You fix our roads, we'll pay our rates."
We never heard from them again.
I hope you enjoyed this little tale about MacQuarie Island - Sealed Roads.
Young Elephant Seal. Probably only three or four months old.
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