Calling Antarctica

Up until the mid-1980s, Antarctica was more or less cut off from the world for 6 months of the year.

In 1984 telephone communication was established with Mawson base in Antarctica and I was one of the first half dozen people to call the research station.

Aurora at Mawson Station
Aurora at Mawson Station Photo by Glenn Duncan © Commonwealth of Australia

 

I spoke to Brian Turnbull, the officer in charge of the base who explained that until now the only method of communicating quickly with the base was by radio. This system was fraught with problems, mainly to do with the weather and atmospheric conditions.

On the day I called, Brian Turnbull described the weather a “quite mild”

[audio:http://www.raeallen.net/audio/mawson base.mp3|titles=First day of phone calls to Mawson Base in Antarctica | artists=Brian Turnbull, Officer in Charge]

 

Links

( to air: Morning Extra with Mike Broadhurst, 13 April 1984 )

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