As this post is published, the Aurora Australis (V6) is returning from an Antarctica trip to resupply Mawson research station for the coming winter. I doubt that our current Aurora Australis has bamboo on-board, but the Aurora Australis that delivered Douglas Mawson and his team to Antarctica in 1912 certainly did.
In his book about the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, The Home of the Blizzard, Douglas Mawson outlines some of the ways bamboo was utilised by his team.
Bamboo poles were used mostly as markers to indicate distances and all-important food depots. They were also used to measure snow; fit masts and spars to the sledges; as flag poles for the Union Jack and the Australian flag; and traverse crevasses. Bamboo poles were sewn into the circular tents to “facilitate their erection in the perpetual winds”
“Pitching camp took nearly an hour. Blocks of snow were cut and arranged in a semicircle, within which the tent was laid with its peak upwind … One man crawled into the tent, and, at a given signal, the other two raised the peak while the former held on to the upwind leg and kicked the other legs into place with his feet. The others then quickly piled food-tanks and blocks of snow on to the skirt, calling out as soon as there was enough to hold it down, as the man gripping the bamboo leg inside would soon have ‘deadly cold’ fingers. It was always a great relief when the tent was up.” The Home of the BlizzardThe bamboo poles taken on expeditions were used for sledge repair work on more than one occasion.
“They had managed a few days of difficult marching over rough sastrugi … when one of the runners on their sledge was broken in an accident. But Bickerton and Hodgeman, true handymen, fashioned a replacement using a bamboo depot pole, which lasted for the remainder of the journey.” Mawsons Huts