TEA Banner
TEA Navbar

6 March, 2001

Davis Station

Davis station was opened in 1957. This was Australian's second station after Mawson (possibly our next shore visit). It is called Davis after Captain John King Davis who lived from 1884-1967 He was the master of ships for the expeditions led by Shackleton and Mawson (do a web search and find out more about him).

The main living area at Davis station is located in one of the many brightly colored buildings. The living quarters are separated into two parts with one side containing dorm style rooms with some of the offices and other working spaces . This side is connected to the main living area by an overhead walkway. The lounge consists of a social room with lounge chairs, a pool table and their own little movie theater. Off to the other end is the dinning area. To get to most of the work buildings you have to go outside. I can only imagine what it will be like to leave the warmth of these buildings to go out into the cold of the sunless winter.

To winter over in Antarctica you have to pass tough psychological tests to make sure you can last in such harsh conditions. Normally around 20 to 30 expeditioners winter over. It's not just the scientists that winter over. Its takes all kinds of specialists to run a station including communications people, engineers, tradesmen and -women, and lets not forget the chef! One of the main events each year is the Midwinter's Day Dinner, a tradition started in the days of the early explorers. "In those times the chefs or cooks rose to the challenge by inventing recipes for their limited range of ingredients, and then describing them in ornate menus," says Keith Scott in his book The Australian Geographic Book of Antarctica. The following is the menu from the MidWinter's meal at Cape Denison in 1912 showing the imaginative ways to serve and describe tinned food and penguin meat.


Menu du Diner

Escoffier Potage a la Reine

Noisettes de PHOQUE

Haricot Verts

Champignons en Sauce Antarctique

Pinouin a la Terre Adelie

Petits Pois a la menthe

Pommes Nouvelles

Asperges au Beurre Fondu

Plum Pouding Union Jack

Pate de Groseilles



During dinner the Blizzard will render the usual accompaniments; For ever and ever etc... ***********************************************************

One thing I found interesting was that no matter what the winter-over people came to do, they were asked to assume another job besides their own work or research. For example, one of the scientists I talked to volunteered to run the hydroponics greenhouse. The greenhouse is made of old shipping containers. They added UV light and water as well as humidifiers, everything you need to grow fresh vegetables. Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants without soil. They add the nutrients to the water surrounding potted plants. The plants are grown in pots filled with clay pellets. When I visited the "greenhouse" they had a good crop of cucumbers and tomatoes as well as a whole bunch of herbs. How nice this place will be to visit in the dead of winter. To come inside here would be like a Hawaiian vacation. The doctor on station is also involved with the hydroponics project, growing the seedlings in her office until they are big enough to be transplanted. Being that I'm from California and like the warmth, this is a job I would volunteer for if I were stationed here!

Contact the TEA in the field at .
If you cannot connect through your browser, copy the TEA's e-mail address in the "To:" line of your favorite e-mail package.