Expedition to save the Transit Hut

The Foundation is funding a team of two carpenters and a conservator to the Mawson’s Huts Historic Site to conduct urgent repairs to stabilise the standing ruin that is the Transit Hut.

Its condition has deteriorated since the last repairs were made by the Foundation in 2010 and it is the same carpenters who carried out those works who are going in to effect further repairs. The team will have a maximum of seven days to carry out this critical work while the conservator will conduct a condition report on the Main Hut and Workshop. The Foundation is grateful for the support of the French Antarctic program who will transport our expeditioners on their resupply vessel L’Astrolabe once it returns to Hobart from dry dock. Pete, Ian and Matt will send details of their activities and photos to the MHF blog site via satellite. Meet them now, and we wish them well and a safe return.

Pete McCabe

Field Leader/Heritage Carpenter

Pete runs his own building company in Pottsville far north coast of NSW.

He has worked on various projects in the Antarctic over the last 13 years including a winter at Casey station and summer seasons at Casey and Davis stations.
He has also worked as a guide and lecturer on various tourist voyages in East Antarctica and the Sub Antarctic.

Pete has worked at the Mawson’s Huts site on three previous conservation trips. He has a great passion for the historic site and thoroughly enjoys the challenges and obstacles that are integral with any expedition to the Antarctic. Past work programs included the extension of the Sorensen Hut, working on the historic buildings and even searching for Mawson’s Air Tractor.

Pete was also the project manager for the construction of the Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum on the Hobart foreshore.

When at home he enjoys weekends at the beach with his wife and two boys. He also enjoys camping and rock climbing and is slowly restoring an old 1968 vintage caravan that will hopefully be on the road again soon

Dr Ian Godfrey

Chief Conservator

Dr Ian Godfrey is an organic chemist who worked initially as a teacher and lecturer (1979-1987) before joining the Department of Materials Conservation in the Western Australian Museum (1987-2013). As Senior Curator and eventually Head of that department, the main focus of Dr Godfrey’s research work was directed towards the analysis and treatment of organic archaeological objects (timber, leather, rope, bone and ivory) excavated from historic shipwrecks. In addition to diving on many Australian shipwrecks and working with excavated artefacts from these sites, he has also worked with colleagues in Sri Lanka, the United States, Spain and on the iconic Vasa shipwreck in Sweden. This work on shipwreck artefacts, led to Ian’s involvement in the Antarctic when he became a partner in a project examining the use of the dry Antarctic environment to naturally freeze-dry waterlogged archaeological wood at Davis Station and at the historic Wilkes Station (1994-2003).

Subsequently Ian became involved in the conservation of the historic Mawson’s Huts buildings at Cape Denison (2001-2016) and is the lead conservator for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation. Ian has worked in the Antarctic on 14 occasions, including 7 trips to Cape Denison of which he was the Expedition Leader on 4 occasions.

Matt Tucker

Heritage Carpenter, communications, photographer

Matt’s first experience of Mawson’s Hut was in 2006 when he sailed a small yacht to Cape Denison with his father and brother and made a documentary, Snow Petrel Down Under, about his experience. Matt then accompanied the 2010-2011 expedition to Mawson’s Hut as a Heritage Carpenter and Photographer.

In 2011-12 Matt joined the Centenary Heritage Expeditions voyage as the Mawson’s Huts subject matter expert. Unfortunately they were unable to land at Cape Denison due to heavy ice but visited Macquarie Island, Snares Island, Campbell Island and the Auckland Islands.

Since then Matt has worked as a carpenter in and around Hobart including helping to build the Mawson’s Hut Replica on the Hobart waterfront in 2013, as well as  working as an Aviation Firefighter at Hobart airport. Matt is looking forward to returning to Cape Denison on the 2019-2020 Expedition and into the future.

Rob Easther AAM

Expedition Manager

Following a career as a secondary school teacher and Lecturer in Outdoor Education at what is now the University of South Australia, Rob joined the Antarctic Division as the Station Leader of Davis station for the winter of 1986. On his return he obtained a permanent position at the AAD as a Station Manager and later as the Science Support planner for the Operations Branch. He travelled south as a Station Manager, Field and Voyage Leader on many occasions over 20 years including a summer at Mawson’s Huts.

He was seconded to the Mawson’s Huts Foundation to plan and organise the first conservation expedition to the historic site in 1997 and on retirement from the Division, was employed by the Foundation to manage their ongoing conservation expeditions. The current expedition is the 15th one he has organised.