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A snippet from my volunteer work on the ‘Dedicated Naturalist’ Project, helping to decipher and digitise, record and publicise the life’s work of naturalist extraordinaire.

In December 1959-January 1960 Mary made history as one of the first British women to conduct scientific research in the Antarctic region, as part of the ANARE expedition to restock the Australian Antarctic base on Macquarie Island and, when she returned to Britain following her Antipodean adventures, she was asked to give a presentation on BBC radio about her experience. The programme aired in May 1961 and this is a small snippet from the text of Mary’s talk.


The quaintly human form of the penguin has made it a universal favourite among bird lovers. On the whole we found them friendly little people, quite ready to offer their flipper for a cordial hand-shake, as long as we were not too hearty about it. Soon after I had sat down on one occasion, a penguin came and squatted between my extended legs. After a few enquiring pecks at my boots, he tucked his head into his body feathers and promptly fell asleep.


For the full story about the Mary Gillham Archive Project, check out our website, and follow our progress on Facebook and on Twitter.