Australian Biography - Phillip Law

Shot Vision Audio In Point
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Animated Film Australia Logo

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Australian Biography opening title sequence

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Archival footage: Aerial view of mountains

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Archival footage: Snow covered mountain range, camera moves to right

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Phillip v/o : It was unapproachable, inaccessible, threatening, dangerous. I'd done more than Scott, Shackelton, Amundsen,

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Archival footage: Men walking through snow with a dog sled

Phillip v/o : Mawson and all these people put together. You see,

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Archival footage: Men walking through snow with a dog sled

Phillip v/o : those early explorers really didn't explore very much.

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Archival footage: Man picking at snow

Phillip v/o : They scratched the edge of Antarctica

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Archival footage: Two men on top of a snow covered rise

Phillip v/o : here and there,

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Phillip

Phillip sync: but more than eighty percent of Antarctica was still unexplored when I came into the picture.

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Photo: Phillip standing atop a mountain

Super:
Phillip Law
Born 1912
Scientist,
Explorer

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Phillip

Phillip sync: Apart from curiosity, which is one of the most powerful driving forces of explorers, there's this other element of being the first into something. Now, most people experience the thrill

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Photo: Antarctic camp with tents

Phillip v/o : of going to some remote place where they know very few people have been

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Phillip

Phillip sync: so they come home and they've got this feeling that, you know, "I've been there and I've seen this and I'm one of the only

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Photo: Antarctic stalagmites with ship in distance

Phillip v/o : few hundreds who've ever done that." But just imagine

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Phillip

Phillip sync: to do what I had the pleasure of doing on several occasions, that is to

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Photo: Phillip and two others sitting on top of a mountain

Phillip v/o : go up to some high eminency, to climb up and then you

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Photo: Phillip in snow gear

Phillip v/o : go forward and look out over the other side into the distance and you say to yourself

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Photo: Antarctic landscape

Phillip v/o : "Mine are the first eyes in the creation of the world that have ever seen this view."

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Phillip

Phillip sync: This is an immense thrill and there's a feeling that perhaps you'll be able to do something like that.

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Photo: Large mountain with man in foreground

Phillip v/o : The first mountaineering experiences I had were

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Phillip, zoom in to BCU

Phillip sync: those of scrambling up, egged on by my adored grandfather who would take us up the hill at the back of the __________ that rose right out of our backyard to a little flat area about three quarters up this fairly steep and fairly high hill where he'd cook sausages in a pan and we'd have billy tea and these sorts of things which to young kids, six, seven or eight was magic. And I remember on one occasion I climbed up on my own and got to the top of the hill and wanted to proceed overland along a sort of ridge plateau or spur that connected it with another mountain called Mount Charlie, which was quite famous because it was a sort of conical mountain with a fringe of gum trees on the top and it was quite outstanding in the district and I'd always wanted to know what it would be like to be on top of that, and I set out to walk across this spur. I got about half way there and found time had run out and they'd be worried about me back home so I had to turn around without going there. And that failure to reach Mount Charlie stayed with me all my life until only about six years ago. I was staying with some friends in Tallangatta and one night after a hearty dinner I happened to mention that I'd like to climb Mount Charlie and the lady of the house said "All right we'll get up at six o'clock tomorrow morning and do it." I said "Righto!" Then I got to my bedroom and felt 'that was stupid. I don't know that I can climb a mountain at my age' and I thought 'she'll forget about it anyway, we've all had a few drinks, it was just a spur of the moment thing.' Lo and behold she knocked me up at six o'clock next morning and off we went and we climbed Mount Charlie and I had that great feeling of elation at the age of about seventy-eight, standing on top of Mount Charlie, having waited all those years to get there.

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Photo: School class including teachers and student

Phillip v/o : My father was the head teacher at a little school, Mitta Mitta. There were six children in our family

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Phillip

Phillip sync: and discipline was pretty severe.

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Photo: Phillip's father

Phillip v/o : We were quite often strapped by our father for misdoings.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: One of the punishments was to lock us up in the coat cupboard; to close you into a dark clothes cupboard and leave you there for half an hour was a pretty terrifying experience for a young kid and you can't imagine a good psychologist subjecting you to that sort of treatment.

Interviewer o/s: So were you scared of him?

Phillip sync: Oh I was, but my brother Jeff wasn't. From the age of two he used to shout out "I'll kill you! I'll chop your head off!" He used to defy him at every move.

Interviewer o/s: And what about you?

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Photo: Phillip and his brother

Phillip v/o : Oh no, I was a bit of a good boy.

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Phillip

Interviewer o/s: Did you envy his rebellious nature?

Phillip sync: No, I envied his contempt for authority in a different way. I was a conformist and I envied the sort of freedom he'd created for himself, so that he was not subject to the restraints that I was. And also I was a very thoughtful planner

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Photo: Phillip in his mid-twenties

Phillip v/o : and I used to always consider the pros and cons of everything very carefully before I did them,

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Phillip

Phillip sync: and in that way I found that you generally finish up not doing a thing because you'd think of so many reasons why you shouldn't do it. So round about the age of fifteen or sixteen I decided I wasn't having nearly as much fun as Jeff, and I'd start plunging in off the deep end a bit more often, rather than preplanning everything, and

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Photo: Phillip and three friends in boxing gloves

Phillip v/o : I found it worked and it was much more exciting and

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Phillip

Phillip sync: got me into a bit more trouble but gave me a hell of a lot more fun. So I think he was responsible in that way

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Photo: Phillip's brother

Phillip v/o : for changing my attitude to life. He also

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Phillip

Phillip sync: stirred me out of my lethargy. He organised a lot of trips which I, left to myself, I would probably not have done.

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Photo: Phillip and his brother

Phillip v/o : Later on he organised the first ski trip I ever went on, that was Jeff.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: Later on I organised my own but the first one

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Photo: Jeff on skis, tilt up

Phillip v/o : was generally Jeff pioneering the way.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: When the war broke out I was doing my Masters degree and I was persuaded to finish that before I did anything more active, and in any case, it was a phony war so it didn't seem to matter much whether I was fighting or not.

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Photo: Menzies and other men

Phillip v/o : Menzies was the Prime Minister; he kept saying, "Students, we don't want you to do anything.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: You just go on and finish your degrees, that's the best thing you can do," and meanwhile there's a war overseas and people are enlisting, the seventh division off and all this sort of thing, and students were very frustrated. So I decided that we'd do our own patriotic work and I set up an organisation called University National Service, and I gathered some friends around me to promote this. I recalled a big meeting of students in the Union Theatre and it was packed and I gave a speech -- I wish I had a copy of it -- I've never kept a copy of that one and it wasn't reported by Farrago because Farrago was antagonistic to what we were doing and wouldn't report it.

Interviewer o/s: Was this your debut public speech?

Phillip sync: Yes, yes. And for the first time in my life I had this wonderful feeling of being able to sway a group of people with words; to be able to stand and talk and see the impact on the people and to arouse their enthusiasms

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Photo: Phillip in his twenties

Phillip v/o : and it went like wildfire.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: We ran physical fitness classes and social service classes in the poorer suburbs for disadvantaged kids, and then in the fruit picking season when so many people had left Shepparton to go to the war, I arranged a camp for men and Kate Fitzpatrick [?] ran a camp for girls

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Archival footage: Women stack bread

Phillip v/o : and the women went into canning factory and canned peaches and apricots and things.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: Then I went back to the university and started research again, this time in classical physics, measuring the thermal conductivity, heat conductivity, of gasses at very low temperatures, minus one hundred and fifty, minus two hundred degrees, that sort of thing. And after getting through that Professor Martin, my professor, came up to me and suggested that I should undertake a Ph.D., which had just been introduced. Prior to that the Masters degree that I had was the highest thing you could get. And after the introduction of the Ph.D. Martin said "Look, in the world of the future if you don't have a Ph.D. you won't be able to get anywhere, so you better enroll."

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Photo: Phillip in his thirties

Phillip v/o: So when the Antartic thing cropped up, I thought wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to marry my scientific interests with my physical interests;

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Photo: Phillip on skis in front of mountain

Phillip v/o : my interest in sport and physical activity generally,

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Phillip

Phillip sync: and my sense of adventure. And so I was walking down the passage with Professor Martin one day and out of the blue he happened to say, "I've just some back from Canberra." He was the scientific advisor to the Commonwealth Government and he used to make regular trips to Canberra every three or four weeks. "I've just come back from Canberra, " he said "and we can't find someone suitable to be senior scientist of this Antarctic expedition." I could hardly believe my ears. I said, "Did you mention my name?" He said, "Don't be silly Law, you wouldn't be interested in that," and I said, "ah, I'd give my right arm to get into that." He said, "Good gracious me, I'll go and ring up." So he went and rang up and within three weeks I had an interview,

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Photo: Phillip in his thirties

Phillip v/o : within the month I was Chief Scientific Officer for the Antarctic Division.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: One of the first things the government did was to set up a planning committee to organise this expedition and

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Photo: Phillip and Mawson

Phillip v/o : Mawson was a member for that committee.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: Mawson was great in several ways.

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Archival footage: Boat moored with people on the jetty

Phillip v/o : The Australasian Antarctic Expedition of

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Archival footage: Men from the expedition

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Archival footage: Crowds on the jetty

Phillip v/o : 1911-13 was arguably the greatest of the heroic

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Archival footage: The life ring from SY Aurora as the ship sails

Phillip v/o : era expeditions.

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Archival footage: A man pulls ropes on the mast

Phillip v/o : Now, that was a tremendous

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Archival footage: A boat with penguins in the foreground

Phillip v/o : expedition. They explored about six hundred

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Archival footage: Men pulling at the boat's rigging

Phillip v/o : miles round about the Commonwealth Bay area of coast

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Archival footage: A man trying to catch a seal

Phillip v/o : and about another three or four hundred miles of

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Archival footage: Men in sled being pulled along the ice

Phillip v/o : coast up at the Shackleton ice shelf.

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Archival footage: A ship

Phillip v/o : Shackleton took his trans-Antarctic expedition down

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Archival footage: A ship's mast, it falls down

Phillip v/o : which failed; the one where he was going to cross the continent but in the

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Archival footage: A ship's mast falls down

Phillip v/o : Weddell Sea his ship was crushed.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: That was to me a very a disappointing voyage.

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Archival newsreel footage: Intertitle

Expedition to Antarctica

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Archival newsreel footage: A ship being loaded with supplies

Newsreel narration: Only seven hundred and forty tons displacement but

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Archival newsreel footage: A ship being loaded with supplies

Newsreel narration: with a stout heart, the HMAS Wyatt Earp loads

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Archival newsreel footage: A man steering the ship

Newsreel narration: stores at Hobart for the Australian National

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Archival newsreel footage: Flag flying at bow of a ship

Newsreel narration: Antarctic Research Expedition.

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Archival newsreel footage: The ship's sail flying in the breeze

Newsreel narration : Little more than a yacht in size, the Wyatt Earp puts up sail to keep her steady and to take advantage of following winds.

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Archival newsreel footage: A man looks through an eye piece

Newsreel narration: Her objective is to sail along the edge of the Southern ice pack to make reconnaissance

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Archival newsreel footage: The ship's mast bouncing in the seas

Newsreel narration: of Australia's Antarctic territory.

Phillip v/o : We just shot out into Bass Strait through

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Archival newsreel footage: A man steering the ship

Phillip v/o : the heads of Port Phillip Bay into

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Phillip

Phillip sync: : a violent southeasterly storm and we were nearly wrecked right then and there. It's one of the worst sea experiences I've ever had.

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Archival footage: Ship bouncing in violent seas

Phillip v/o : The minute the ship rolled, water would come in through cracks and

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Phillip

Phillip sync: flood the accommodation area. So for most of the voyage in the open seas we had six inches of water in the cabins, icy cold water. That, combined with the

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Archival footage: Ship bouncing in violent seas

Phillip v/o : rapid roll of the ship and the absolute discomfort of trying

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Archival footage: Three men singing

Phillip v/o : to sleep and eat and do work on a rolling ship of that nature,

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Archival footage: A ship approaching a large iceberg

Phillip v/o : the fact that it was underpowered for penetrating ice, it had the wrong shape of hull, it was quite,

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Phillip

Phillip sync: absolutely unsuitable in every way and it was very slow, it could only do about eight knots.

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Archival newsreel footage: View of large iceberg from ship

Newsreel narration: It is territory like this that Australian scientists have

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Archival newsreel footage: Two men in cold weather clothes

Newsreel narration: selected for Antarctic research. The glistening glories of this lonely

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Archival newsreel footage: View of large iceberg from ship

Newsreel narration: region may reveal many valuable secrets for Australia.

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Archival newsreel footage: A man standing on deck, he picks up his binoculars

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Archival newsreel footage: Sunset over the Antarctic

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Phillip

Phillip sync: I got axed from the Wyatt Earp and I'd been only seconded for one year as Chief Scientist, so in August 1948 I was back in the Physics Department at the University, and then I had to apply for the job, which was advertised, of Assistant Offer in Charge, in brackets Scientific, and I've only found out in the last couple of years, through my biographer lady, who did the research on the archival material,

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Archival footage: A man with binoculars looks to the horizon

Phillip v/o : that the then leader, Stuart Campbell.

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Archival footage: Ship sailing past large iceberg

Phillip v/o : did everything possible for six months

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Archival footage: Men alighting from a boat

Phillip v/o : to try and stop me getting the job. He disliked me

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Phillip

Phillip sync: and I'm only lucky that the Department of External Affairs could see through this and appointed me anyway.

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Archival footage: Men with the Australian flag walking through ice

Phillip v/o : But if you think of, it my whole Antarctic career might have been lopped off because of this man's opposition. Right from the

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Photo: Phillip with a beard

Phillip v/o : beginning, I was obsessed with this idea of getting a base in Antarctica. One of the first things I did

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Phillip

Phillip sync: was to get myself appointed Australian observer with the Norwegian British Swedish Expedition that went down to the Weddell Sea in 1950 and I went down with them from Cape Town

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Photo: Phillip looking through an eye piece

Phillip v/o : and watched a station -- Maudheim -- being built.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: And for the two or three weeks I was there I saw what happened when you landed in Antarctica and how you went about building a station, and I learnt a tremendous amount from the Norwegian captain

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Photo: Norsel ship

Phillip v/o : on the little ship 'Norsel'. So I think that

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Phillip

Phillip sync: by the time 1954 came along for us to establish Mawson Station I was better prepared almost than anyone in history, except Amundsen, to lead such an expedition.

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Archival footage: A ship sailing into a jetty

Phillip v/o : Well it was tremendously exciting

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Archival footage: People on a jetty watching a ship sail in

Phillip v/o : to see this almost brand new ship come up the Yarra and berth at north wharf

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Phillip

Phillip sync: and then to

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Archival footage: A small ship with supplies landing

Phillip v/o : sail down to, first to Macquarie Island,

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Archival footage: Men attempting to assist a ship to land

Phillip v/o : we had quite an adventurous series of landings and we had to go to Kerguellen

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Phillip

Phillip sync: to, on the way

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Archival footage: A hand points from Melbourne to Kerguellen Island

Phillip v/o : having been to Heard Island, we'd go to Kerguellen to pick up more fuel and then down

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Phillip

Phillip sync: to try and find Mawson Station, and this was an exercise in itself. It's not as though, you know, that's where you go and you just go. There's the whole Antarctic continent and we have to decide where to put a station.

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Archival footage: Aerial view of Antarctic

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Archival footage: Phillip and another man navigating

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Archival footage: A large iceberg

Phillip v/o : The Antarctic was unbelievably wonderful.

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Archival footage: Two men surveying the scene

Phillip v/o : First of all there's the tremendous relief of going into

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Archival footage: An iceberg with a seal on it drift past

Phillip v/o : calm water out of this turbulence that was so upsetting. Then the

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Archival footage: Four men surveying the vista

Phillip v/o : magnitude of everything and the

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Archival footage: View of icebergs and water from the side of a ship

Phillip v/o : unbelievable beauty of certain vistas.

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Archival footage: A man on a ship taking a picture of an iceberg

Phillip v/o : We made good progress through pack ice

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Phillip

Phillip sync: and began to see the mountains in behind Mawson and the Antarctic plateau and everything looked wonderful and then we ran into what you call 'fast ice',

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Archival footage: A ship approaches a sold mass of 'fast ice'

Phillip v/o : which is winter sea ice that has not broken up into pack ice and

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Archival footage: A sold mass of 'fast ice'

Phillip v/o : is just a vast unbroken sheet of solid ice. And when we tried to push into that we found that we couldn't make progress fast enough,

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Archival footage: A ship pushing through a sold mass of 'fast ice'

Phillip v/o : we were only going about two or three hundred yards a day,

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Archival footage: A ship pushing through a sold mass of 'fast ice', it comes to a stop

Phillip v/o : it was hopeless.

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Archival footage: A ship stuck in a sold mass of 'fast ice'

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Archival footage: A plane takes off from the ice

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Archival footage: Aerial view of ship stuck in a sold mass of 'fast ice'

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Archival footage: A plane in the sky

Phillip v/o : I flew in to have a look at Mawson Harbour

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Archival footage: Aerial view of Mawson Harbour

Phillip v/o : first. The landing there is quite frightening

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Phillip

Phillip sync: because in that area the fast ice was like polished blue glass. There was very little snowfall around Mawson; in the middle of summer any snow that falls gets blown away and there's an immense amount of melting going on. So the ablation, as they say, of the ice means that it finishes up as a polished blue sheet and we'd landed in the little Aust aircraft on skis with a iceberg about half a mile ahead. We didn't take any notice but, and we landed, we wouldn't stop, there's almost no friction on skis on polished blue ice. And we go rattling on and on and on and the iceberg's getting closer and closer and closer, suddenly I realised we're going to smash up against the end of this. So I had a very good pilot, Doug Leckie [sp?].

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Phillip

Phillip sync: So Leckie [sp?] turned it into what he called 'ground loops' that is he spun the aircraft and we went towards this iceberg in a series of spinning circles and of course the friction is greater with the skis side on than it is with them end on, so this slowed us down. We finished up about fifty yards off the face of this berg.

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Archival footage: A plane with skis being pushed by two men

Phillip v/o : But anyway and having flown back the ship I got Dovers, who was to be the

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Phillip

Phillip sync: officer in charge of that station and about another three

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Archival footage: Men on weasels travelling through the snow

Phillip v/o : fellows to take a couple of weasels and to start moving over the sea ice

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Archival footage: Aerial view men on weasels travelling through the snow

Phillip v/o : to go into Horseshoe Harbour.

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Phillip, zoom in to BCU

Phillip sync: The idea being, that as the ship was making laborious progress through this ice we could be running little ferry trips with the weasels to try and get something going on establishing the station. But they'd only got in somewhere near Horseshoe Harbour when they were hit by a hurricane, and to save themselves they pulled up on a little island and anchored their barges down. And one weasel broke through and was stuck in the ice just before they could get there. Meanwhile back at the ship we had a terrifying experience that has never happened since to the same degree. That is the hurricane produced immense pressure in this vast ice.

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Phillip, zoom in to MCU

Phillip sync: and it was the first few minutes that were the most worrying because this tremendous pressure heeled the ship over on one side you could the hear the grinding of the ice against the side and then I noticed that the ice was pushing in and cracking and falling back and I realised the ship was stronger than the ice. And the ice continued to do this for about an hour and ice piled up all around the ship and finally great blocks of ice were piling up and falling over onto the deck of this ship and some were falling back onto the ice beside the ship. At the end of about half an hour all the pressure stopped

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Photo: Phillip on the boat looking at the ice

Phillip v/o : and there we were firmly stuck with ice heaped up all around us and

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Phillip

Phillip sync: the next problem was how to get the ship out, because when

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Photo: The ship stuck in the ice

Phillip v/o : the hurricane ceased we found we couldn't move the ship. The

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Phillip

Phillip sync: captain tried all sorts of devices and nothing worked. I even tried explosives and it didn't work. So then we got back to the Chinese manpower sort of system. We got everyone out onto the ice with axes

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Archival footage: Phillip digging the ship out of the ice with a pole

Phillip v/o : and poles and pickaxes and we

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Archival footage: Other people digging the ship out of the ice with a poles

Phillip v/o : spent two days literally digging out the ship.

Interviewer o/s: What's it like being in such a

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Phillip, zoom in to BCU

Interviewer o/s : dangerous situation?

Phillip sync: It's a mixture of fear and exhilaration. The exhilarating part comes from the fact that at last you're in a real Antarctic thing that, like all the things you've read about and it's all happening to you, you know, and the adventure and you, makes this wonderful, it's tremendously exciting. On the other hand you're fearful because you know if it goes a long way you're in pretty desperate trouble.

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Archival footage: The ship moving through the ice

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Archival footage: Penguins running through the ice

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Archival footage: Penguins diving into icy water

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Archival footage: Penguins running along the ice as the ship moves through the ice

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Archival footage: Penguins jumping out of the icy water on to icebergs

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Archival footage: Penguins jumping out of the icy water on to icebergs

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Archival footage: Aerial view of ship sailing through the ice

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Archival footage: Phillip and two other men plant the Australian flag into ice and wave their hats in the air in victory.

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Archival footage: A weasel loading supplies off the ship

Super:

Establishment of Mawson Station
February 13, 1954

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Archival footage: Weasel moves supplies over the ice

Super:

Establishment of Mawson Station
February 13, 1954

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Archival footage: A man drills into the ground

Super:

Establishment of Mawson Station
February 13, 1954

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Archival footage: Men packing sheets of wood

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Archival footage: Men using wood to construct a building

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Archival footage: A man using a hammer to nail wood together

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Archival footage: The walls to a building are put into place

Music

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Archival footage: Seals

Music

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Archival footage: Aerial view of Mawson Station

Music

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Archival footage: Phillip and another man weight a dog

Music

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Archival footage: Phillip alights from a helicopter

Interviewer o/s: So what was it that drove you

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Archival footage: View from a ship of a boat approaching the coast

Interviewer o/s : on to do all of the Antarctic work?

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Phillip

Phillip sync: Well it's intense curiosity, and this is what drives a scientist and what drives an expeditioner.

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Photo: Phillip in beautiful Antarctic surrounds

Dissolve to:

Phillip v/o : You just want to see what's around the other side of something. To

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Photo: Phillip climbing a mountain

Dissolve to:

Phillip v/o : map, to produce new knowledge, to create

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Photo: Smoggy camp with a man and a vehicle

Phillip v/o : in a sense.

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Archival footage: Man captaining a ship

Phillip v/o : The captain of a ship invariably has no curiosity.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: I remember saying to one captain "Look I want to go around that headland." He said, "No, I don't want to go." And I'd say "Look, if you go around that headland you'll be the first captain in the world ever to see that." He'd say, "I don't care." I said "Look if we go around there history will show maps of Antarctica with a little dotted line with

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Detail from a map

Phillip v/o : the name of your ship on it and the name of you as captain as being the first ship in history ever to have gone there. He said, "I don't care. I want to go home."

00:24:42
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Phillip

Phillip sync: In April 1966 I resigned from the Antarctic Division and took up the post of vice-president of the Victorian Institute of Colleges that had just been created by act of parliament. That arose out of what was called the Martin Report on Tertiary Education in Australia, that had proposed an alternative structure of tertiary education to that of the universities. An alternative that was more oriented towards industry and commerce and practical affairs rather than the pure research and interest of universities And as a framework for that we took over the existing technical colleges in Victoria.

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Photo: Phillip and two other men sitting at a table

Phillip v/o : We had about fifty committees; we had institute committees of all sorts to

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Phillip

Phillip sync: govern the creation of new courses and to assess courses and to award degree status and so on. We had fights to create salary structures that were equivalent to university salaries, otherwise we would never be equal. We had to lift up the whole administrative structures by introducing all sorts of machinery into colleges that they'd never had before in terms of administration. We built seven new campuses, we created two new colleges -- Lincoln

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Photo: A committee of people sitting around a table, pan right to Phillip, zoom in

Phillip v/o : Institute, the health institute and the Victorian College of the Arts -- and it was a wonderful period altogether.

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Medal [?] pan left to Phillip

Interviewer o/s: Are you surprised at the increasing interest in you at your age now?

Phillip v/o : I'm not surprised, because I've always felt that

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Phillip

Phillip sync: these sorts of things come with survival; that most people are

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Medal - Australian Geographic award for Excellence

Phillip v/o : not recognised 'til fifty years after what they did.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: Most of them unfortunately die before they're recognised. If you're lucky enough to live to eighty, you collect a bit of it. If I live 'til ninety I'll probably collect a bit more. If I'd died at sixty, I'd be nothing.

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Photo: Phillip giving a lecture to a large group

Phillip v/o : I once said in a lecture that eighty

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Phillip

Phillip sync: percent of Australians are unadventurous, and I think that still applies. And I've been interested in trying to make people take that step out into sort of semi-known area. To take the plunge, to jump now and again, rather than just look at all the dangers and then retreat. If I looked at the dangers of Antarctica

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Photo: Phillip on the side of a ship admiring the view

Dissolve to:

Phillip v/o : and tried to analyse the probabilities and things I would never get

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Photo: Antarctic landscape

Dissolve to:

Phillip v/o : on a ship and sail from the wharf. You have to say 'Look,

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Photo: Phillip in Antarctic landscape

Dissolve to:

Phillip v/o : sure something might happen out there.'

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Photo: Phillip beside a chopper, knee deep in ice

Dissolve to:

Phillip v/o : You take calculated risks, you prepare as carefully

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Photo: Phillip

Dissolve to:

Phillip v/o : as possible to try and provide in case something happens,

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Photo: Men pulling equipment through the ice

Phillip v/o : but from there on you jump, you go forward and take the risk.

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Photo: A chopper lifting a net over water

Phillip v/o : One of the lessons

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Phillip

Phillip sync: young people should learn -- you learn, I learnt it in physical things first --that you don't know what your body can do until you force it

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Photo: Phillip leading a group of people on skis through the snow

Phillip v/o : through to the point of absolute exhaustion. And the same thing goes intellectually.

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Phillip

Phillip sync: Almost no-one uses ever their brains to the limit of what they've got and if you're really forced you can dredge out your intellectual faculties to a degree that is quite astonishing. Some of the things you write under extreme pressure, you look back later and think 'however did I write that?' So that if you can get young people to learn they've got these infinite resources built in, mental resources and physical resources; all it needs is the motivation or the necessity or the emergency that makes you drag it all out. And the successful ones are the ones who learn that early and then apply it, and use those extra resources without other people not even knowing they've got them.

Interviewer o/s: And along the way in life how do you cope with disappointments that must happen to anybody?

Phillip sync: I think that you just learn that a lot of what you do will go down the drain and you won't succeed, but if you have enough pay-offs to keep you encouraged, and you generally do if you work hard enough, you don't think about the disappointments. You say "Oh well that's one I lost, now where's the next one," and you go and you fight that one. You might lose three in a row and then you win the fourth one and that's good enough to keep you going. Bit like a gamble at the races, you know, you win enough to keep you going, you don't lose them all.

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ECU Phillip with black masking under credits:

Interviewer
Andrea Stretton

Research
Graham Shirley

Camera
Chris Reed

Antarctic cinematography
Phillip Law

Music

00:29:48
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ECU Phillip with black masking under credits cont.:

Sound Recording
Greg Smith

Sound Mixing
Robert Sullivan

Production Manager
Kim Anning

Production Co-Ordinator
Joanne Holliman

Music

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ECU Phillip with black masking under credits cont.:

Production Accountant
Megan Gilmour

Film Australia would like to thank

Phillip Law
John Fairfax Library
Australian Antarctic Division
Museum of Victoria

Music

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ECU Phillip with black masking under credits cont.:

Film Australia would like to thank

Kathleen Ralston
ABC TV Archives
National Film and Sound Archives

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ECU Phillip with black masking under credits cont.:

Producer/Director/Writer/Editor
Frank Heimans

Supervising Producer
Sharon Connolly

Executive Producer
Ron Saunders

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