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.
No comments yet.
More on the writer
- Tom Ware Public Speaking The Prince of Storytellers
Tom Ware Public Speaking! Tips, events and videos to help you become a gifted speaker. Visit now!
More by this Author
A few words on a few years which actually resulted in a novel. It's hard to capture the completely different life style between the 'land lubber' and the 'sea farin' man in just 1500 words or so.
The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman and Japanese actor names I cannot recall, has to be one of the most realisitic films ever made about prisoner of war of the Japanese.
Did you ever stop to ask about life's most important questions?