In this website I’d like to share some of them, and showcase some of the books and articles that have been generated along the way. Journalists are generally rated in the public mind on the same level as used car salesmen, lawyers, politicians or other professionals of dubious reputation. But I’ve always been a happy traveller in journalism which – providing your liver holds out in that traditionally hard-drinking profession – gets you into all kinds of situations that you otherwise would have had a snowflakes chance in hell of experiencing. And talking of snowflakes, that includes Antarctica, as well as stints in Vietnam during the Indo China war, working in London for the BBC, and in Asia and North America for the ABC.
I’ve also travelled widely in Australia as a not-so-grey nomad, and now a fully fledged one, in our 4WD Penelope towing our trusty camper, and have written four books on these travels. Like Clancy, there are times when ‘we don’t know where he are’. Well, for some weeks anyway. Outback camping is addictive.
An index of recent and past blogs can be accessed on the right hand side of this page.
ABANDONED AT FOSSIL BLUFF – A Remarkable Account of Antarctic Survival
In January 1995 I travelled to the Ross Sea on the Kapitan Khlebnikov a Russian icebreaker chartered by the travel adventure company Adventure Associates. One of my co-lecturers on this voyage was Rod Ledingham, resident of Oyster Cove near Kettering, Tasmania, an experienced Antarctic veteran whom I first knew through his field work with the Australian Antarctic Division, but as I was about to discover, had cut his Antarctic teeth with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in the late 1960s. He gave a wonderful illustrated lecture on a particular incident that took place in the summer of 1967-68 when he was assisting a geologist mapping high on the Antarctic plateau, driving a sledge dog team. He had been flown in by a light aircraft (with the husky dogs), but after their field work had ended, the aircraft crashed on take-off, fortunately with no casualties to the men or dogs. With no replacement aircraft available, and communications basic to say the least, the pilot and his two passengers had to use the sledge dogs to sledge nearly 300 kilometres down a glacier never before traversed, to a small hut at Fossil Bluff on the coast, where two other BAS personnel were waiting to be flown out. So began a year of basic survival, with five men in a hut designed for four, minimal fuel for heating, no extra clothing and barely enough food.
Recalling Rod’s extraordinary lecture, I asked him a few years ago if he had a video of it. He did not! A former passenger on a later voyage did have one, but sadly died before he could send it. I determined that this story should be told, and began from scratch, interviewing Rod Ledingham about those events, knowing that there were many excellent photographs to support the narrative.
The book – or a pdf – is now available on this website. The book or pdf of this gripping survival story can be accessed from the Blog list on the right of this page.
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- ABANDONED AT FOSSIL BLUFF – A remarkable account of Antarctic survival
- PENELOPE SPEAKS… 1
- PENELOPE SPEAKS… 2
- PENELOPE SPEAKS… 3
- PENELOPE SPEAKS… 4
- OBITUARIES – MY, HOW THEY’VE CHANGED…
- SCRABBLE – OBSESSION OR NECESSITY?
- STUBBORN BUGGERS – The survivors of the infamous POW gaol that made Changi look like heaven
- PART ONE – NAGASE TAKASHI, A SINGULAR JAPANESE
- PART TWO – ERIC LOMAX & NAGASE TAKASHI
- PART THREE – THE MEETING WITH NAGASE
- PART FOUR – SEEING THE MOVIE ‘THE RAILWAY MAN’
- ODDMENTS 1
- THE CHANGI CAMERA
- Dame Edna’s Last Fond Farewell Tour
- Antarctica And Back in Sixty Days
- Bashing The Poor Old ABC
- BackChat Remembered
- Amundsen Centenary Celebrations 2
- Quaking and Shaking in En Zed