by Robert Louis Stevenson
Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.
Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.
Close by the jolly fire I sit,
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap,
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.
Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.
Illustration by Nick, an Australian Expeditioner, Mawson Station, Australian Antarctic Division, October 2008.
Mawson is situated on an isolated outcrop of rock on the coast in MacRobertson Land, at the edge of the Antarctic plateau at 67'36'S 6252'E. It is Australia's first continental station and the longest continuously operating station south of the Antarctic Circle. The station is the most westerly of the three continental stations, lying about 5,200km south-west of Perth, Western Australia.
The Mawson region is one of the richest areas for seabirds in the Australian Antarctic Territory, and supports breeding colonies of emperor and Adelie penguins, snow petrels, Antarctic petrels (the largest colony in Antarctica with 158,000 breeding pairs), Wilson's storm petrels, cape petrels, southern giant petrels, Antarctic fulmars and skuas.