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2nd. May 1955 Mawson

Still, sunny days are becoming more rare. Mornings are dark and early evenings aggravate the sense of coldness, while in fact it is a little warmer than our first week. The colours are quite changed. The cold transparent blue of the ice plateau has become a softer blue opalescence. Clefts and hollows in the ice cliffs have lost the glowing almost radiant blueness and become dark shadows, grey in the ice.

There is a sense of immense space whether quiet or frenzied, always vacant, over the ridge of plateau behind us. Night after night the auroras begin early and fade only at dawn.

On a calm day the beauty of this place is disquieting. Now dawn is in mid morning, and before sunrise the light is all shadow and shade of shadow; in the undulations on the ice cliffs and on the steep cliff face. On the furrowed slopes above the Western arm of the bay this light predominates. Around the still sea, at the edge of its level plain the livelier daylight shows rose and thin gold; warm yet no match for the shadow of the ice sheen.

Phases like "stilled satin bride", the sounds of Debussy and Poe in "Cathedrale Engloutie", the resignation and despair of Baudelaire all go fit with it. Above the transparent green of the plateau, the sky is flushed into an uncertain red bougainvillea tint.

The ice cliffs fronting the nascent daylight are chalky white, and those facing West are a mysterious shining dark blue light. The islands are crusted with a creeping whiteness of frozen spray; an embroidery that sets off the warm brownness of the rock and over these the air dances from the warmth held in the rock.

The ice cliffs as the sun just reaches them, gleam with a fused surface sheen, the colour of cut flesh; a visceral pink. The same cliffs which under dark cloud and with a wind from inland have a stream of drift flowing over and down their steep sides to the seaice - a mistfall that makes them remote and dreadful.

31th. May 1955

Sun very low; less than a degree above the horizon.

5th. June 1955

Yesterday the sun should have disappeared, but we had it well above the horizon for about an hour. They say it is due to refraction. The light is sugary pink - a syrupy tint over ice and rock - a confectionery glow.

9th. June 1955

The sun still streaks above the skyline for quarter of an hour at midday, and shines on the physics hut, otherwise all day the light is a shadowy blue. No snow, lightish winds, clear skies. Temp now down to -14F.

16th. June 1955

Still quiet days; sometimes sharply cold then quickly warm again. In the radio masts a wild worrying sound of wind.

20th. June 1955

Blustering wind up to 80 miles an hour, yet no drift. This month has been so unusually quiet so far that the noise of the gale makes us uneasy. There can be hardly any snow on all this side of the continent for the wind to blow so long without drift. No sun at all above the horizon.

23rd. June 1955

Midwinter's Day. No sun, but quite light from 10.30am to 3pm.

Jack Ward, Radio operater with Australian Antarctic Division, Mawson diary (1955)