Vixere Fortes: A Family Archives.

This family history of Australian Madigans includes a long chapter (p. 234-+387) on Cecil Madigan, a member of Mawson’s AAE team (1911-14). The latter is based on Cecil’s diaries which are very harsh on Mawson’s leadership and his ability to get the best out of his men. There are a good number of notes about reading:

p. 251: The Second Engineer brought his boxing gloves on deck and despite the limited space some bouts were arranged. Cecil boxes a rather lively four rounds with Watson, which pleased the audience. For more intellectual entertainment he read Omar Khayyam, a present from Moyes, like Watson a “Toroa” man, and “Vanity Fair”. The latter he borrowed from Ninnis, who seemed to read nothing else, beginning again at the beginning when he had reached the end.

p. 258-59: Divine service was held for the first time in Adélie Land, on Sunday, 25 February…. Mawson set the service books on a cushion covered by a Commonwealth flag, the Australian blue ensign. He was rather nervous and the service was short, but it was impressive and comforting to Cecil, and he thought to others. Mawson read about half the prayers and the Epistle and Gospel for the day, and said a prayer of his own for their safety and that of Wild’s party in the west. Stillwell, a geologist from Melbourne, played the organ for the hymns.

p. 267: McLean was an idealist, the best principled man on the expedition, and the best read.

p. 268: Cecil, wishing to give him [Hodgeman] for his birthday something more lasting than the usual presents like tobacco, gave him “Songs from Browning”, which cost him something to give since he valued it highly as a present from Ninnis (?).

p. 268: It was the custom to take turns in reading after dinner, and when Cecil’s turn fell during one of his black moods he declined to read, but someone produced the book and the requests were so enthusiastic that he relented and after a few chapters his view of the world changed and he became himself again, or rather his other self. These moods, in which he seemed, at least to himself, a different person, did not last more than a day or two.

p. 296, a reference to “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

p. 301, Hodgeman gave Cecil “Kenilworth” for C’s birthday.

p. 301: The only recreation was reading and Cecil was grateful to Captain Davis, a man of great kindness whom he regarded highly, for having left him a set of Thackeray’s novels. But he was not much addicted to reading and admitted that in other circumstances he would never have opened Thackeray or Dickens, whom he also read. Bickerton lent him a book called “New Wood Nymph” by “Dorothea Bussel”, who was Bickerton’s sister. It was light but pleasant reading, and one of the characters was Bickerton himself.

p. 302—Cecil also spent time studying Greek for Oxford. He eventually failed the exam, but after the war Greek was no longer compulsory there.

p. 306: [Nov. 1913]: a continuous blizzard held them in camp for six days, a very tedious period in which Cecil read several books and studied “German self-Taught”, a book for travelers that Mawson had lent him.