Hello, my name is Berkley, author of this journal and shortly to be member of an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE). I originated in the USA from the Husmann Elementary School at Crystal Lake, Illinois. I was sent to Australia by our class teacher Betty Trummel – to follow in the paw prints of Brownie who travelled to Antarctica earlier this year with Gordon. I am part of a Geobears project at the school and am one of many bears who will be travelling the world and sending stories and information back about their travels and adventures. I’m only a little fellow - about 23cms tall, I am white and have black and red stars all over me with a little American flag attached to my chest.
Gordon lives in Tasmania, Australia and works at the Australian Antarctic Division and goes to Antarctica quite frequently. He is to make another journey soon and I will be going with him.
Tuesday 26 September 2000 - morning
This morning I arrived at the Australian Antarctic Division Headquarters in Kingston which is a suburb about 12 kilometres south of Hobart, Tasmania and met Gordon for the first time – we will be great buddies. I met some others who will also be going to Antarctica - their names are ‘Olly’ a Kookaburra, ‘Millie’ an Echidna and ‘Syd’ a Platypus. These are very cute Australian native animals but rather than me trying to tell you about them I’m sure your teacher will help you to search for information about them on the Internet, in library books or in other places. Olly, Millie and Syd had been at the Olympic Games in Sydney and flew down to Hobart to join the expedition.
While Gordon was showing us around the Division we had some pictures taken in a small public display area - on the front of an old tractor which had been used in Antarctic exploration in the 1950s and 1960s and standing on a show case with a photo of the ship we will be travelling on - the Aurora Australis.
Gordon will be taking lots of pictures during the next few weeks and we’ll send back reports of our adventures. You will be able to keep track of where we are because we’ll send back information every day as to where the ship is and you can plot the position on a map.
So, we will be having wonderful experiences and see and learn a lot. We’ll share this all with you but you should also follow up and do some other research in books and so on about the things we tell you about.
Tuesday 26 September 2000 - evening
Tonight when Gordon took me to his home I met his wife Pat and some more travelling companions!
First is OzGold who is going to become my best new pal - very much like me to look at but green and gold with an embroidered running figure where I have my flag. Green and gold are very much Australia’s national colours when it comes to sport and Australia has just finished hosting the Olympics.
Another is Dreena, a trainee Seeing Eye dog with a really cute brown button nose and wearing a little red coat.
And our last companion, Puff. What a strange one – a six-legged dragon fly with multi coloured wings, many tail rings, wearing two brooches - one of a yacht, one of a shark and with delusions of being Puff the magic dragon. How weird can you get?