Numbers in Canberra were down a bit this year, possibly due to the effects of the pandemic, but also sadly one or two regulars have passed away and were missed, especially geologist Ian McLeod who died in September 2020. Never-the less, some thirty expeditioners and their friends and partners, including three expeditioners attending their first dinner, enjoyed another entertaining mid-winter event in Canberra on a chilly Friday 18 June. Simon Cowling slipped easily back into the MC role to fill in for local convenor Mal Robertson who was in Queensland participating in a Mawson 50th reunion for his 1970 wintering group (postponed from last year).
Our guest speakers this year were Amelia Tandy and Eleanor Bruce, two young Canberra women who had participated in the 2019 Homeward Bound leadership course for women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). The initiative aims to heighten the influence of women in STEMM in policy and decision-making to shape our planet for the better in the future. Ninety-nine women from nations around the world participated in the year-long course which culminated in a life-changing expedition to Antarctica. Amelia and Eleanor travelled to the Antarctic Peninsula in Nov/Dec 2019, as part of the largest ever cohort of women to journey to the southern continent. The two women gave a short presentation each on the mechanics of the Homeward Bound course which they were lucky to complete before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. The final phase was a week’s cruise around the Antarctic Peninsula and back with visits ashore to bases operated by Argentina and China.