Antarctica. By A. S. Helm and J. H. Miller. The Story of the New Zealand Party of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

The official account of the New Zealand part of the Fuchs/Hillary expedition, the one based at Scott Base near McMurdo which in addition to its Trans-Antarctic work sponsored some sledge journey surveys of the Darwin Glacier and other areas.

p. 126, in list of medical and dental requirements, this official report included “a 24-book medical library” along with dental instruments, adhesive plasters, and 12,000 ascorbic acid tablets.

Opp. p. 161, good picture of the book shelves in the mess hut at Scott Base, where among other things church services were held.

p. 195: Many of the Americans at McMurdo suffered from insomnia, or, as it was termed in the Antarctic, “big eye”. They even had a 1 a.m. film session, known as the “big eye movies”. Although it was seldom mentioned, several of the men at Scott Base suffered mildly from this complaint, but as they led a more active life than their American counterparts, it was not so noticeable. If consisted of a lack of ability to drop off to sleep, even after one or two hours of lying awake. Carylon complained that he would sometimes lie awake for an hour or two, after putting out his light, but if he commenced to read after going to bed he would often fall asleep almost immediately.

p. 214, on the music recordings at the Base: The radiogram donated to the men at Scott Base by the New Zealand Radio Manufacturers’ Association was initially seldom silent. A presentation of 500 records was made by Mssrs Phillips Electrical Industries Ltd.—one to cover every day the expedition was in the Antarctic. The selection comprised mainly long-playing records, catering for a variety of tastes, from popular numbers to classical music.

p. 215: However, the two recordings which were in demand far beyond all others were “Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony” and the opera “La Traviata”. “La Traviata” had universal appeal, but it was unfortunately their only opera …. At the other extreme classical music was sometimes played by the “musical intellectuals”, who were caught out one day when they listened with profound appreciation for several minutes to a record of their choice being played at half speed.

p. 219, discusses some of the cultural interactions between the kiwis and the Americans at Hut Point, a much larger base with 78 men who had “twice-daily film showings, billiards, table tennis, and a record library.