Sir Douglas Mawson (1882 – 1958)
By Mary W Maxwell, April 4, 2016
Is there a limit to the human spirit? Some people seem to be able to endure anything, if they have an important goal in mind. Media doesn’t give us real heroes any more, but, don’t worry — that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of them.
A favorite story in South Australia is that of Douglas Mawson, a 31-year old lecturer at the University of Adelaide, who was on the first expedition team to the South Pole in 1913.
Blizzards and winds over 100 miles an hour were standard. Just think about it. No cars, no planes, no nothing, these guys made the journey by dogsled. They wore skis.
Mawson’s companions were Xavier Ninnes and Belgrave Mertz. They had a terrible accident. Ninnes fell into a crevice and could not be rescued. He must have died by freezing.
If that weren’t bad enough, all the supplies were on the sled that went down the crevice and could not be retrieved. One supply was tents. Mawson and Mertz then had to detour 27 miles to fetch a tent-cloth they had abandoned. Imagine going all that way just to get a tent, but without a tent how could they sleep at night?
There was very little food. They had to kill some of their sled-dogs to feed other dogs, and eventually had to kill all the dogs for food. Mertz became ill and psychotic. He died, leaving Mawson on his own.
We know that Douglas Mawson survived and indeed lived to be 76 years old. But how can he have tolerated the strain? And I haven’t even come to the pièce de résistance. This hero finally made it back to the camp, but was told by the men at camp that the ship Aurora had left for Australia only 6 hours earlier.
And the next ship’s visit was a year off!
(See blogs.smithsonianmag.com for more thrilling details of Mawson’s adventure.)
Far Eastern Party, Antarctic 1912
At Gumshoe we have two girls — Cherri and Cheryl — going to metaphorical South Poles. Will they make it? You bet!
Cherri Bonney is on a mission to get a famous Aussie out of prison. Cheryl Dean, too, is hopping mad about an unfair imprisonment.
(We’re talking about Martin Bryant and Jahar Tsarnaev, for those who are not regular readers of GunshoeNews.com.)
Cherri Bonney, who is a long-distance runner in real life, has been at the Change.org petition game since she signed the first signature on January 20, 2015. Today’s count is 2,157.
Aussies Speaking Up
The following seven comments have come in from petition-signers in just the last week:
Martin didn’t have a justifiable trial — Shaun Mitchell, Australia
Martin Bryant was coerced into pleading guilty by his own lawyer! — Nathan Mullington, Kurri Kurri, NSW
Time for Justice for Martin. The Truth Will Set Him FREE! — Leah Gilvray, Australia
This is the biggest travesty of justice in Australia’s history. — Alan Mogg, Australia
I believe this is a major unproven miscarriage of the judicial system. — Steve Liiney, Australia
Without truth we have no justice or freedom, we need to know the truth through proper and open process. — Clem Grieger, Australia
Don’t punish an innocent man. It’s cruel. — Rosie Anderson, Australia
Cherri, the signature aider and abettor, has run into a bit of shall we say flack but, in her words: “The ‘fight’ is ON! and my god I’M NOT backing down!! Onward we go!!”
The other single-minded person I mentioned is Cheryl Dean. For her part, she sees no other way forward but to get Jahar Tsarnaev the hell out of Supermax federal prison in Colorado, where he is so wrongly incarcerated.
Ms Dean has reasons to not want to make a public appearance or give us her bio, but I know something of her bio and it is impressive. You can find her hard-hitting pieces on the Boston Marathon judicial fiasco right here at Gumshoe.
She “lays waste” the prosecution, the defense team, the evidence, the exhibits, and doesn’t stop when it’s time to go for any lying witnesses, and for that matter, the judge. Watch out if you are doing wrong to Jahar. Oh, I forgot, and the jurors.
Did I mention the police, the FBI, and the media?
The Power of Love
Douglas Mawson must have endured his trek through the snow and blustery winds in accordance with the life instinct, the desire for survival — and no doubt patriotism, too.
Ms Bonney and Ms Dean are powered in a different way. They’re unwilling to tolerate what is being done to the two prisoners, “and that’s that.”
Maybe I’m a bit short of estrogen, because when I write about the Port Arthur case, and the Marathon case, I am thinking legal, I am thinking political. But when Cherri and Cheryl go at it, they are being women-all-the-way.
Every woman is a powerhouse of love. That is simply a fact. There is no limit to how much energy and devotion a female can put into helping someone in need.
Today, many women of the baby-boom generation are caring for aged parents, some with Alzheimer’s. Or helping a grandkid who has autism.
Has feminism made it unfashionable to say that a woman’s devotion is a great boon to humanity? Such nonsense! The maternal instinct is the key to biological altruism. It is what caused the entire human social thing to eventuate.
Please watch this love-ly video, “A Mother’s Prayer.” It has had nearly 3 million views.
— Mary W Maxwell lives in Adelaide.