The films were 16mm, so each consisted of several reels. While the reels were changed, the audience took the opportunity to get another beer – or get rid of what had already been drunk! At one of these intervals early in the year someone discovered a type written sheet on the notice board in the adjacent mess. It was headed MAWSON MAIZE and contained short items, commenting on or alluding to recent events at the station. Suspicion immediately fell on ‘Bill’ Wilson, one of the RAAF pilots, who had worked as a reporter on the Alice Springs newspaper before joining the RAAF, but Bill refused to accept responsibility.
Someone took the sheet and interest waned until another sheet appeared the following Saturday night. The Saturday night after that saw a rush to the mess at the first interval and sure enough there was another issue. This became the pattern; the MAWSON MAIZE was regular and it became a sought-after collectors’ item. The contents ranged from one sentence aphorisms, through paragraphs commenting on some event, to clever verses. Several issues ended with a topical letter from ‘Joe Blow’. These were written in a breathless ‘stream-of-consciousness’ style with long unpunctuated paragraphs. Most items would be meaningless to anyone not knowing the background, but they were very amusing to us at the time. (See p18, Aurora September 2004).
Then Jocelyn Terry**, on her Radio Australia “Calling Antarctica” program one Friday, referred to the Mawson Maize and said that she would like to see a copy when we returned to Australia. This caused some consternation. The contents would hardly rate PGR nowadays, but some topics or words were not talked about then in the presence of ladies. However, the author rose to the challenge and no-one could have taken exception to the contents of the next issue, which was eventually passed on to Jocelyn.