- Thomson, Max
- History - general
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Australia II
- December 1991 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
SCOTCH & ICEBERG
Lieutenant John Pain RANR (Ret), an Ansett Airlines career man and personal helicopter pilot to the late Sir Reginald Ansett, gave an enthralling address recently to the Melbourne Chapter.
Recounting “ANTARCTIC EXPLOITS” and the highlights of two sojourns down to the Antarctic as a helicopter pilot for Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, he tossed in one little gem worthy of preservation in these pages.
International goodwill obviously is always a keynote among the select groups from Australia, USA, China, Russia and so many other countries engaged in Antarctic research. “And there is one little aspect of it worth recounting” added Lt. Pain. “If you enjoy an occasional Scotch, then it’s nothing short of magic to have a whisky with a touch of pure, unadulterated ice scooped off an actual iceberg. A Scotch has never tasted so good,” he added.
As one of the audience added: “Some of those icebergs are said to be something like 500 years old – so maybe that’s where the magical secret lies.”
During question time, a unique RAN involvement with the Antarctic was recalled – the occasion in the early 1950s when the 8-inch cruiser HMAS Australia raced south to give aid to the Antarctic man suffering from acute appendicitis.
One member recalled how Cinesound newsreel cameraman Ted Taylor came hot-footing it into his office with one of the major oil companies seeking help in the form of a special lubricant that would keep his Cinesound cameras grinding away despite the intense cold that would be encountered when he travelled on HMAS Australia to cover the unique assignment for a big cruiser. Oil company chemists soon met his request and Ted Taylor’s wonderful footage of that unique assignment for HMAS Australia is probably salted away somewhere in the Cinesound vaults or even in the National Archives in Canberra.