Thursday, February 4

Dr Phillip Law

Found a cut-out news article from the Progress Press (local newspaper in Eastern suburbs of Melbourne) from April 8th 1997 shoved into the back of Douglas Mawson's "The Home of the Blizzard". My Mum has an old habit of doing that ... finding articles that have to do with a particular topic, she cuts them out and puts them in a book of the same topic, sort of a posthumusly collated appendix.
Dr Phillip Law made the front of the newspaper that week, delivered to thousands of postboxes with the headline "A Fortunate Life" underneath his bespectacled and bebearded face. The article begins by honouring him with the "Boys Own" label, which sets you up thinking that here was an adventurer of bygone eras ... which perhaps he is. He was given the title of Adventurer of the Year by the Australian Geographic Society in 1988 ... long after he had finished adventuring. Interviewed at the age of 85 in this paper he said he wished that they had bungee-jumping back when he was a lad ... but that he had no regrets, just a fortunate life.

As I read the brief interview I got a few chills frommy childhood up my spine ... he talks about Antarctica's beauty - "I think it's an extremely beautiful place and that's what grabs most people. Anyone who's been to the Antarctic is absolutely enthralled with the genuine beauty of the scene and the magnitude of it all. everything is on such a grand scale, you feel humbled by the experience of nature" ... I imagined slowly approaching cliffs of ice and slowly realising how bloody big they truly are ... I imagined ice-clad mountains ...
"Climbing up to a mountain peak and looking out beyond that and realising that yours are the first eyes in the history of the world to see that sight. I was in the Antarctic during the exploration era. I just happened to be there in that exciting time. Nobody can ever have that feeling again."

He was the first man to scuba dive in the Antarctic and his wife Nel was the first woman to travel to Antarctica.

I need to go buy a Boys Own Annual.

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