Sharing the twice in a lifetime Antarctic experience

A group of Geraldton expeditioners have added a local perspective to the popular Traversing Antarctica: The Australian Experience exhibition at the Western Australian Museum – Geraldton.

Western Australian Museum – Geraldton regional manager Leigh O’Brien said the group, including two-time Antarctic veteran Bruce Alden, have enthralled school groups and visitors with stories of Antarctic exploration and survival.

“Bruce Alden worked at Davis Station in 1976 and returned to Antarctica some 27 years later to Casey Station from late 2002 to early 2004,” Ms O’Brien said.

“Working as a weather observer for the Bureau of Meteorology on both trips, Bruce experienced great changes in living conditions, communications and the environment between the 1970s and 2000s.

“Bruce had very limited contact with the outside world in 1976. Coded telegrams with a minimum word length were sent to family and friends, and a brief phone call once a fortnight was allowed, if conditions permitted. It wasn’t until 2004 that phone and internet was available in each person’s room.”

Bruce has shared with visitors how he went on a number of manhauling trips out from Davis station in 1976, literally hauling a sled of equipment using his own bodyweight. This type of transportation had been used since the heroic age of Antarctic exploration in the early 1900s, including Mawson’s famous Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) 1911-1914.

Huskies were used for transportation extensively in Antarctica before the introduction of the Antarctic Treaty protocol on environmental protection in 1993, which disallowed introduced species.

The Australian Antarctic Division’s most recent work will be highlighted by AAD Operations Manager, Rob Bryson, in a free lecture at the Museum on Tuesday May 14 at 7pm, and Wednesday May 15 at 10am. Bookings are recommended on 9921 5080. For more information, visit:

The free Traversing Antarctica: The Australian Experience exhibition is on display at the Western Australian Museum – Geraldton until May 16, 2013.