Old Catalogue
Manuscripts, oral history and pictures catalogue
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  • Title
    Australasian Antarctic Expedition collection of records, pictorial and other material
  • Creator
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code

    The Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914, was organised and led by Sir Douglas Mawson. The Expedition party left Hobart in the S.Y. 'Aurora', captained by John King Davis, on Dec. 1911. After establishing a base at Macquarie Island, they arrived in Adelie Land at the main base, which they named Cape Denison, on 8 Jan. 1912. Eighteen men, including Mawson, remained at the main base and the 'Aurora' proceeded in a westerly direction to find a suitable location for the western base. Eight men were landed on the Shackleton Ice Shelf under the command of Frank Wild. The 'Aurora' returned to Hobart.

    A sledging party, consisting of Mawson, Ninnis and Mertz, met with tragedy when, on 14 Dec. 1912, Ninnis perished down a crevasse, together with a sledge carrying most of the provisions, when the party was still 300 miles from base. Mertz became ill and died on the return journey. The weakened Mawson reached the main base on 8 Feb. 1913, only hours after most of the men had left on board the 'Aurora'. Five men had stayed to await the return of the missing sledging party. The ship went on to relieve the western base, but on its return it was unable to reach the main base due to bad weather. Mawson and his companions were forced to spend another winter in Antarctica. The 'Aurora' returned in Dec. 1913, and they reached Port Adelaide, South Australia, on 26 Feb. 1914.
  • Collection history
    In 1920 an agreement was reached with Sir Douglas Mawson and the Premier of New South Wales, the Hon. W.A Holman, to hand over the assets of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, in exchange for the State undertaking to publish the remaining records of the Expedition, certain parts already having been printed.
  • Source
    Presented by the Committee on Printing of Records of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, New South Wales Government Printing Office, Sydney, 1923-1947 and 1959-1960.

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