Mawson's Main Hut

Historic Site in Commonwealth Bay & Cape Denison

Mawson intended to have two separate huts, one housing 12 men, the other six. But it was decided to join the two, creating an accommodation area and a workshop. The larger building, about 53 sq meters, was rimmed on three sides by a veranda, which held stores, food and biology equipment. Mawson’s room, a darkroom and the stove encircled a central dining table. Bunks lined the perimeter. A door on the northern side of the larger building connected to the 30-sq-meter workshop.

Lighting consisted of acetylene lamps and skylights. Winter snowdrifts kept the quarters at a frosty 4°C to 10°C.

The entrance to the whole complex was through a ‘cold porch’ on the western veranda, with the door facing north to avoid the furious southern winds. The western veranda also contained a meat cellar, a roof door for entrance in winter and a latrine. Dogs were kenneled on the eastern veranda.

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