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  • Title
    Miss Eckford - letter received, July 1914(?), from Sidney N. Jeffryes in a mental institution at Ararat, Victoria, containing an account of his time as radio operator during 1913 on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914
  • Creator
  • Call number
    MLMSS 7064
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Issue Copy
    Microfilm : CY 4164, frames 1-15 (MLMSS 7064)
  • Physical Description
    1 folder - 0.02 Meters
    Textual Records - (manuscript)

    The Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914) was organised and lead by Douglas Mawson. Captain John K. Davis was second in command and captain of the ship Aurora. The main object of the Expedition was to investigate and chart the Atlantic coastline. The scientific programme included an investigation of the ocean between Australia and Antarctica and an examination of Macquarie Island. The Aurora departed Hobart in November 1911. Three bases were established, a meteorological and radio base on Macquarie Island, Main Base at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, and Western Base at Queen Mary Land. A party consisting of Douglas Mawson, Xavier Mertz and B. Ninnis set off from Main Base in November 1912. During the journey Ninnis was lost in a crevasse, Mertz died, and eventually Mawson made his way back to Main Base in February 1913. The Aurora departed Cape Denison a short time before Mawson arrived back, having left a Relief Party at Main Base and was unable to return for Mawson. Sidney Jeffryes was the wireless operator with the Relief Party and remained at Main Base from February 1913 until the return of the Aurora in December 1913.

    Sidney Jeffryes was born in Toowoomba, Queensland. He was 27 years old when he was appointed wireless operator to the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914) in 1913. Jeffryes applied for the position in 1911 but A.J. Sawyer was chosen ahead of him. In 1913 he relieved wireless operator Walter Henry Hannam at Main Base. In July 1913 Jeffryes suffered a mental breakdown. The party was not relieved until December 1913 at which time Jeffryes was taken back to Australia where he was admitted to a mental institution at Ararat, Victoria. He wrote to Miss Eckford from the institution at Ararat describing his time on the Expedition.
  • Scope and Content
    14 July 1914(?); Letter received from Sidney Jeffryes, being ms. letter of 12 pages on 3 sheets. Jeffryes describes his time at Antarctica making various accusations against members of the party at Main Base. He describes his efforts to keep the wireless mast in order and the 'jealousy' produced by his success; he claims that members of the party deliberately kept him awake at night and that they 'made every effort' to hypnotise him; that Mawson put him under a 'magnetic spell' which put him in a 'permanent state of mental though transference'. (Call No.: CY 4164)
  • Source
    Acquired from Christie's, Melbourne in 2001
  • Access Conditions

    This material is held offsite and can take up to four days to retrieve.
  • General note

    Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914) - records, 1910-1915, together with related and miscellaneous papers, 1874-1934, and including manuscripts of the published Scientific reports with related papers, 1911-1947, located at MLMSS 171
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