Introduction emphasizes Mawson’s faith in “Providence,” and notes that his very survival reduced the emotional impact that Scott’s death had on the public: World War I, followed by world depression, diverted public interest from the achievements of Douglas Mawson and other scientists and explorers in the Antarctic, and formed a break between the ‘heroic era’ and the ‘mechanical era’ in the history of Antarctic exploration. (p. xlii).
p. xxix refers to a list of books Mawson recorded in his 1908 diary, but the list is not included in this version of the diary. Also gives a list of Latin mottoes important to him, e.g. “Deeds not words—facta non verbus” and “To the pure all things are pure—omni munda mundis.”
p. 6, 23 January 1908. This section of the diary concludes with a list of books and a few Latin quotations.
p. 18, 4 November: Hard to reconcile all coast features with chart [i.e., the existing Admiralty Chart of the Antarctic, Sheet III].
p. 25, re Prof. Davis and insufficient hauling: Several times when we have been struggling heavily with hauling he has continued to recite poetry or tell yarns.
p. 62, plate 7ff., shows AAE 1912, good picture of cabin, bookshelves, and Laseron reading in bunk.
p. 66, 21 March 1912. Loneliness—Scotia p. 106 [The Voyage of the Scotia (Rudmose-Brown, Pirie, and Mossman, 1906)—‘Isolation among the fastnesses of nature does not bring loneliness. That can perhaps be only felt in its full extreme among the busy haunts of men’.]
Most humanly lonely in London.
Lonely with nature on Plateau.
[This appears to be a reference to Bruce made from Mawson’s reading.]
p. 68, 24 March: Longer divine service than usual—hymns in the evening by the choir.
p. 69, 28 March: Where Nature is sterner and elements fewer one sees that Khayyam’s similes are not accurate (p. 59 ‘I came like water like wind I go, Into this universe and why not knowing, Nor whence like water willy nilly flowing—etc.’ Water is flowing to a definite goal—so are we.
p. 73, diagram of living quarters at Cape Denison Hut shows library on south wall, next to Dr. Mawson’s Room.
p. 74, 13 April: Dr. Cook’s tirade [see Cook (1900) p. 231, 405] against foods of Belgica Expedition is rot—the canned foods were excellent; they suffered from inactivity i.e. [causing] loss of energy and appetite….
p. 373, quoting Frederick Cook: Doing the finnecking things of life causes us to appreciate mothers,’ etc. Yes, it teaches the careless the value of the careful and detailed labours of their fellows. [Here we seem to find Mawson reading Cook’s Through that First Antarctic Night as well as Omar Khayyam.]
p. 87, 30 May 1912: I commence reading The Trail of ’98 [by R.W. Service (1911)] at dinner as entertainment.
p. 89, 6 June: In evening the Adélie Land Band strikes up. Hurley, mouth; Hunter, kettle drums (kerosene tin); Correll a piccolo; Ninnis, mouth organ; Hodgeman, triangle (a spanner on string); Hannam, a large tin drum.
The whole Hut in a commotion when this weird music started up….
p. 90, 10 June: Murphy reads some of Jacob’s [?] yarns at dinner as entertainment.
p. 92, 18 June, passage on a malingering member: I [Mawson] called in at 6 pm and found Whetter reading—he had worked about one hour and then left Hannam to finish them [ie the penguins]. Well, I told him to come to my room and see me immediately. We then had a long talk in which I showed him that he was entirely unfit for an expedition, chiefly through lack of determination in character and failing to do his level best towards the interests of the expedition. As usual he attempted to make light of all the charges and seemed inclined to think my opinion of little value in diagnosing the worth of a man for polar work. … Since Tuesday afternoon Whetter has worked better.
p. 99, 12 July: I write a few verses of very blank verse for the Blizzard.
p. 100, 13 July: Articles for the Blizzard have been numerous. I read several at afternoon tea.
p. 113, separate entry, possibly of something Mawson read that day, 21 Sept: Zur Geologie der Südpolarländer, von Otto Wilchens, Zentralblatt für Mineralogie, 1906.
p. 115, 3 October: At something to 4 pm Whetter came in, took his clothes off and intended to read a book. Before lunch I had asked him to dig out the hangar in front after getting in the ice.
I heard at 4 pm that he had not done this, and his appearance in the Hut to read a book was in direct disobedience to my orders. I was very wroth about this and asked him why he was coming in under the circumstances. He said he had done enough. I asked him what had he come on the expedition for. He said ‘not to do such kind of work’. I said he was a ‘bloody fool to come on the expedition if that was the case.’ He said ‘Bloody fool yourself…’” etc.
p. 116, 5 October: How can any whole-minded being be dull here, even though cooped up in the Hut by blizzard upon blizzard? How can anyone, when there is so much unknown about us [cf. Pleasure of Life’ p.66. [This title may have been aboard ship, or could he have given citation from memory including page number? The book is by John Lubock Avery (London: MacMillan, 1903).] p. 120,12 October: the night of the grand theatrical, The Washerwoman’s Secret in which “McLean made a fine girl.” [Announcement of program on p. 121.]
p. 121, 13 October Sunday: We held Divine Service during the afternoon, and I read Lord Avesbury’s essay on ‘Ambition.’
p. 124, 16 October, Wednesday: Blizzard. I get books for return [journey] finally packed….
17 October Thursday: I give everybody several books of Mackellar Library.
p. 148, shows page of Nautical Almanack for Dec 1912 which Mawson had taken on his Far-eastern sledge journey, which ‘enabled him to determine his geographic position….’
p. 147-8, 14 December 1912: death of Ninnis in crevasse fall, losing not only him but a dog, most food etc. “Read the Burial Service.” “May God Help us.”
p. 158, 9 January 1913: I read the Burial Service over Xavier [Mertz] this afternoon.
[Supplies for this fatal journey are listed in Notebook 5, p. 179-80, including tables from Nautical Almanack and book of Logarithmic Tables, 2 note books, angle books, map tube, maps, pencils, etc. No other reading matter listed.]
p. 187, April 1913 at start of second wintering for seven of them. McLean lays the foundation of a ‘monthly’—Adélie Blizzard [The AAE literary publication]: Close, when out with Laseron & Stillwell, left to get lunch ready. On their return found no lunch and Close reading ‘The Strenuous Life’.
p. 224-25, 11 December 1913, several quotations from Hamlet that seem apropos to their situation but without explanation.
p. 244: Memorial in Salford Royal Hospital Architectural Review—
“For me to have made one soul the better for my birth, [etc]
but again without explanation.” [Was this a magazine he had aboard or was he quoting from memory?]
During the BANZARE expedition in 1929 Mawson seemed too preoccupied with his conflicts with John King Davis to have done any reading. Didn’t find a great deal of interest in last half of book.