Covering the Ob Hill Cross

the Observation Hill cross protective cover
Installing the protective cover, January 2015. From left: Norwegian NZAHT
conservation carpenter Torbjørn Prytz and Scott Base employee Angus Watson

The cross was originally carried up the hill by members Scott's Terra Nova Expedition in January 1913. It took 7 men two days for them to haul the ten-foot cross to the top of Observation Hill. It remained in place for 62 years until the 1974 winter, when heavy winds blew it down. Members of the Scott Base w/o team put it back up on 24 September. It would blow down again in the 1993 winter, and was carried back up the hill the next summer.

The covering project was an effort by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZAHT) to preserve the lettering on the cross from the worst of the prevailing southerly weather.

the cross in 1913
What's going on? Well, the NZAHT recognized that the lettering on the cross was slowly being eroded away by the fierce winter winds...and was no longer nearly as legible as it was in this 1913 photo by Frank Debenham, taken shortly after it was erected.
the cross in 2005
But by 2005 when I took this photo, you really had to be there to read the inscription.

At some point(s) in the past the lettering had apparently been filled in with white paint, but it was still unreadable unless you looked closely and/or the sun was at the exact angle to shadow the lettering and make it more legible. Hence this project.

Darryn Slee and x working on the cross sheathing
This photo is one of three from this 16 January 2015 Otago Daily Times article about carpenter Darryn Slee (right) who was working at Scott Base. Torbjørn is at left.
Alastair FastierAnother look...this one depicts Scott Base electrician Alastair Fastier test-fitting the cover. This time Torbjørn is the photographer. Photo from the ANZ Digital Asset Manager...(full size image page which includes all credits, copyright, and usage restrictions).

Credits not mentioned above...the large photo at the top of the page is courtesy of Angus Watson, it appears in this blog post of his: Angus's Adventures. Frank Debenham's 1913 photo of the cross appeared in the November/ December 1974 Antarctic Journal.