Let's turk about Cape Adare

Credit: Antarctic Heritage Trust

An avid adventurer, Mr Bradshaw designed a prototype for an emergency backcountry ski hut in Arrowtown. Antarctica New Zealand has commissioned him to provide three for the southern continent.

The tanks, called ‘turks’ (not a tank, not a hut, not a yurt!), have a 10m² floor area and cost about $15,000 each. They’re being transformed into a living area, a work shed and a store room for Cape Adare. They’ll stay put there for the next four years as a temporary base for New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust experts conserving the first building on the continent - the hut of early explorer Carsten Borchgrevink.

The Cape Adare site made headlines around the world   this year when a 118-year-old watercolour painting and a 106-year-old fruit cake were discovered as part of the artefact conservation project, which saw around 1500 items conserved at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch.. Both artefacts are thought to have been left there by the Northern Party from Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition (1910-1913).

Inside the Turks...

Mr Bradshaw is well aware of the conditions his huts will face.

“Temperatures reach -30 degrees, winds can get over 200 km/hr … these huts need to be sturdy! We’ll fill their bases with 2 tonnes of gravel, so they won’t go anywhere in the harsh Antarctic conditions” he says. “They’re also relatively light, so we can move them by helicopter. We’ll have the whole camp set up in a day.”

The turks took six weeks to assemble, and were built in Lyttelton. They are now being transported on the Chinese ship Xue Long. They’ll eventually arrive in February next year.

“Cape Adare is also home to the world’s largest Adélie penguin rookery, so we have to time the turks’ arrival for when the birds have finished nesting” says Mr Bradshaw.

The Turks being loaded on to the Icebreaker

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