Tins of herrings, marmalade head to NZ for conservation work

  • 12/12/2015

Tins of herrings, marmalade and other treats from one of the oldest huts in Antarctica are on their way to New Zealand for conservation work.

The work has been done at Carsten Borchgrevink's hut at Cape Adare by the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Borchgrevink, a young Norwegian, and his crew sailed from London on the British Antarctic Southern Cross Expedition from 1898-1900 to be the first to explore the continent.

The expedition landed at one of the most inhospitable sites on earth, Cape Adare, and erected two huts prefabricated in Norway that were the first structures built on the Antarctic mainland.

More than 1100 artefacts have been packed for temporary return to New Zealand, where they will be conserved and catalogued, before being returned, a Facebook post by the trust said.

The items include Bovril emergency food, kippered herrings, Seville marmalade, and tins of compressed tea and coffee.

"It was a real treat to have time to spend looking through the building thoroughly. Whilst holed up in their bunks through the dark winter, the men made many pencil drawings and left snippets of thought and poetry on the walls and ceilings of their bunks," the trust said.

The Norwegian and New Zealand governments, the Getty Foundation and private donors are funding the conservation program.

The general condition of the objects was poorer than similar objects at historic huts on Ross Island, the trust said.

That was being put down to a very salty marine environment, with the beach about 50 metres away. One hut is also in the middle of a colony of Adelie penguins.

Each artefact was wrapped in foam and packed into crates, which have since travelled by helicopter to Edisto Inlet, then by plane from there to Williams Field.

They are now stored at minus 20degC in one of the Scott Base freezers.

In January they will be loaded on to the returning supply ship, to travel by sea to Lyttelton.