The Home of the Blizzard Being the Story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914 - Douglas Mawson - ebook

The Home of the Blizzard Being the Story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914 ebook

Douglas Mawson

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Titel: The Home of the Blizzard / Being the Story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914

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THE HOME OF THE BLIZZARD:

BEING THE STORY OF THE AUSTRALASIAN ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1911-1914;
By Sir Douglas Mawson, D.Sc., B.E.
ILLUSTRATED IN COLOUR AND BLACK AND WHITE ALSO WITH MAPS

WITH 260 FULL-PAGE AND SMALLER ILLUSTRATIONS BY DR. E. A. WILSON AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION, PHOTOGRAVURE FRONTISPIECES, 12 PLATES IN FACSIMILE FROM DR. WILSON'S SKETCHES, PANORAMAS AND MAPS

TO THOSE WHO MADE IT POSSIBLE: THE SUBSCRIBERS AND CO-OPERATORS
TO THOSE WHO MADE IT A SUCCESS: MY COMRADES
AND TO THOSE WHO WAITED

TABLE OF CONTENTSILLUSTRATIONS

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

The object of this book is to present a connected narrative of the Expedition from a popular and general point of view. The field of work is a very extensive one, and I feel that this account provides a record inadequate to our endeavours. However, I am comforted by the fact that the lasting reputation of the Expedition is founded upon the scientific volumes which will appear in due course.

Allusion to the history of Antarctic exploration has been reduced to a minimum, as the subject has been ably dealt with by previous writers. This, and several other aspects of our subject, have been relegated to special appendices in order to make the story more readable and self-contained.

A glossary of technicalities is introduced for readers not familiar with the terms. In the same place is given a list of animals referred to from time to time. There, the common name is placed against the scientific name, so rendering it unnecessary to repeat the latter in the text.

The reports handed to me by the leaders concerning the work of sledging journeys and of the respective bases were in the main clearly and popularly written. Still it was necessary to make extensive excisions so as to preserve a "balance" of justice in all the accounts, and to keep the narrative within limits. I wish to assure the various authors of my appreciation of their contributions.

Mr. Frank Hurley's artistic taste is apparent in the numerous photographs. We who knew the circumstances can warmly testify to his perseverance under conditions of exceptional difficulty. Mr. A. J. Hodgeman is responsible for the cartographical work, which occupied his time for many months. Other members of the Expedition have added treasures to our collection of illustrations; each of which is acknowledged in its place.

To Dr. A. L. McLean, who assisted me in writing and editing the book, I am very greatly indebted. To him the book owes any literary style it may possess. Dr. McLean's journalistic talent was discovered by me when he occupied the post of Editor of the 'Adelie Blizzard', a monthly volume which helped to relieve the monotony of our second year in Adelie Land. For months he was constantly at work, revising cutting down or amplifying the material of the story.

Finally, I wish to express my thanks to Dr. Hugh Robert Mill for hints and criticisms by which we have profited.

DOUGLAS MAWSON

London, Autumn 1914.

FOREWORD

The aim of geographical exploration has, in these days, interfused with the passion for truth. If now the ultimate bounds of knowledge have broadened to the infinite, the spirit of the man of science has quickened to a deeper fervour. Amid the finished ingenuities of the laboratory he has knitted a spiritual entente with the moral philosopher, viewing:

Science and exploration have never been at variance; rather, the desire for the pure elements of natural revelation lay at the source of that unquenchable power the "love of adventure."

Of whatever nationality the explorer was always emboldened by that impulse, and, if there ever be a future of decadence, it will live again in his ungovernable heritage.

Eric the Red; Francis Drake—the same ardour was kindled at the heart of either. It is a far cry from the latter, a born marauder, to the modern scientific explorer. Still Drake was a hero of many parts, and though a religious bigot in present acceptation, was one of the enlightened of his age. A man who moved an equal in a court of Elizabethan manners was not untouched by the glorious ideals of the Renaissance.

Yet it was the unswerving will of a Columbus, a Vasco da Gama or a Magellan which created the devotion to geographical discovery, per se, and made practicable the concept of a spherical earth. The world was opened in imaginative entirety, and it now remained for the geographer to fill in the details brought home by the navigator.

It was long before Thule the wondrous ice-land of the North yielded her first secrets, and longer ere the Terra Australis of Finne was laid bare to the prying eyes of Science.

Early Arctic navigation opened the bounds of the unknown in a haphazard and fortuitous fashion. Sealers and whalers in the hope of rich booty ventured far afield, and, ranging among the mysterious floes or riding out fierce gales off an ice-girt coast, brought back strange tales to a curious world. Crudely embellished, contradictory, yet alluring they were; but the demand for truth came surely to the rescue. Thus, it was often the whaler who forsook his trade to explore for mere exploration's sake. Baffin was one of those who opened the gates to the North.

Then, too, the commercial spirit of the generations who sought a North West Passage was responsible for the incursions of many adventurers into the new world of the ice.

Strangely enough, the South was first attacked in the true scientific spirit by Captain Cook and later by Bellingshausen. Sealing and whaling ventures followed in their train.

At last the era had come for the expedition, planned, administered, equipped and carried out with a definite objective. It is characteristic of the race of men that the first design should have centred on the Pole—the top of the earth, the focus of longitude, the magic goal, to reach which no physical sacrifice was too great. The heroism of Parry is a type of that adamant persistence which has made the history of the conquest of the Poles a volume in which disaster and death have played a large part. It followed on years of polar experience, it resulted from an exact knowledge of geographical and climatic conditions, a fearless anticipation, expert information on the details of transport—and the fortune of the brave—that Peary and Amundsen had their reward in the present generation.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the pioneers of new land there were passing the scientific workers born in the early nineteenth century. Sir James Clark Ross is an epitome of that expansive enthusiasm which was the keynote of the life of Charles Darwin. The classic "Voyage of the Beagle" (1831-36) was a triumph of patient rigorous investigation conducted in many lands outside the polar circles.

The methods of Darwin were developed in the 'Challenger' Expedition (1872) which worked even to the confines of the southern ice. And the torch of the pure flame of Science was handed on. It was the same consuming ardour which took Nansen across the plateau of Greenland, which made him resolutely propound the theory of the northern ice-drift, to maintain it in the face of opposition and ridicule and to plan an expedition down to the minutest detail in conformity therewith. The close of the century saw Science no longer the mere appendage but the actual basis of exploratory endeavour.

Disinterested research and unselfish specialization are the phrases born to meet the intellectual demands of the new century.

The modern polar expedition goes forth with finished appliances, with experts in every department—sailors, artisans, soldiers and students in medley; supremely, with men who seek risk and privation—the glory of the dauntless past. A.L.M.

INTRODUCTION

One of the oft-repeated questions for which I usually had a ready answer, at the conclusion of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Expedition (1907-09) was, "Would you like to go to the Antarctic again?" In the first flush of the welcome home and for many months, during which the keen edge of pleasure under civilized conditions had not entirely worn away, I was inclined to reply with a somewhat emphatic negative. But, once more a man in the world of men, lulled in the easy repose of routine, and performing the ordinary duties of a workaday world, old emotions awakened. The grand sweet days returned in irresistible glamour, faraway "voices" called:

There always seemed to be something at the back of my mind, stored away for future contemplation, and it was an idea which largely matured during my first sojourn in the far South. At times, during the long hours of steady tramping across the trackless snow-fields, one's thoughts flow in a clear and limpid stream, the mind is unruffled and composed and the passion of a great venture springing suddenly before the imagination is sobered by the calmness of pure reason. Perchance this is true of certain moments, but they are rare and fleeting. It may have been in one such phase that I suddenly found myself eager for more than a glimpse of the great span of Antarctic coast lying nearest to Australia.

Professor T. W. E. David, Dr. F. A. Mackay and I, when seeking the South Magnetic Pole during the summer of 1908-09, had penetrated farthest into that region on land. The limiting outposts had been defined by other expeditions; at Cape Adare on the east and at Gaussberg on the west. Between them lay my "Land of Hope and Glory," of whose outline and glacial features the barest evidence had been furnished. There, bordering the Antarctic Circle, was a realm far from the well-sailed highways of many of the more recent Antarctic expeditions.

The idea of exploring this unknown coast took firm root in my mind while I was on a visit to Europe in February 1910. The prospects of an expedition operating to the west of Cape Adare were discussed with the late Captain R. F. Scott and I suggested that the activities of his expedition might be arranged to extend over the area in question. Finally he decided that his hands were already too full to make any definite proposition for a region so remote from his own objective.

Sir Ernest Shackleton was warmly enthusiastic when the scheme was laid before him, hoping for a time to identify himself with the undertaking. It was in some measure due to his initiative that I felt impelled eventually to undertake the organization and leadership of an expedition.

For many reasons, besides the fact that it was the country of my home and Alma Mater, I was desirous that the Expedition should be maintained by Australia. It seemed to me that here was an opportunity to prove that the young men of a young country could rise to those traditions which have made the history of British Polar exploration one of triumphant endeavour as well as of tragic sacrifice. And so I was privileged to rally the "sons of the younger son."

A provisional plan was drafted and put before the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science at their meeting held at Sydney in January 1911, with a request for approval and financial assistance. Both were unanimously granted, a sum of L1000 was voted and committees were formed to co-operate in the arrangement of a scientific programme and to approach the Government with a view to obtaining substantial help.

The three leading members of the committees were Professor Orme Masson (President), Professor T. W. Edgeworth David (President Elect) and Professor G. C. Henderson (President of the Geographical Section). All were zealous and active in furthering the projects of the Expedition.

Meanwhile I had laid my scheme of work before certain prominent Australians and some large donations** had been promised. The sympathy and warm-hearted generosity of these gentlemen was an incentive for me to push through my plans at once to a successful issue.

I therefore left immediately for London with a view to making arrangements there for a vessel suitable for polar exploration, to secure sledging dogs from Greenland and furs from Norway, and to order the construction of certain instruments and equipment. It was also my intention to gain if possible the support of Australians residing in London. The Council of the University of Adelaide, in a broad-minded scientific spirit, granted me the necessary leave of absence from my post as lecturer, to carry through what had now resolved itself into an extensive and prolonged enterprise.

During my absence, a Committee of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science approached the Commonwealth Government with an appeal for funds. Unfortunately it was the year (1911) of the Coronation of his Majesty King George V, and the leading members of the Cabinet were in England, so the final answer to the deputation was postponed. I was thus in a position of some difficulty, for many requirements had to be ordered without delay if the Expedition were to get away from Australia before the end of the year.

At length, through the kindness of Lord Northcliffe, the columns of the Daily Mail were opened to us and Sir Ernest Shackleton made a strong appeal on our behalf. The Royal Geographical Society set the seal of its approval on the aims of the Expedition and many donations were soon afterwards received.

At this rather critical period I was fortunate in securing the services of Captain John King Davis, who was in future to act as Master of the vessel and Second in Command of the Expedition. He joined me in April 1911, and rendered valuable help in the preliminary arrangements. Under his direction the s.y. Aurora was purchased and refitted.

The few months spent in London were anxious and trying, but the memory of them is pleasantly relieved by the generosity and assistance which were meted out on every hand. Sir George Reid, High Commissioner for the Australian Commonwealth, I shall always remember as an ever-present friend. The preparations for the scientific programme received a strong impetus from well-known Antarctic explorers, notably Dr. W. S. Bruce, Dr. Jean Charcot, Captain Adrian de Gerlache, and the late Sir John Murray and Mr. J. Y. Buchanan of the Challenger Expedition. In the dispositions made for oceanographical work I was indebted for liberal support to H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco.

In July 1911 I was once more in Australia, a large proportion of my time being occupied with finance, the purchase and concentration of stores and equipment and the appointment of the staff. In this work I was aided by Professors Masson and David and by Miss Ethel Bage, who throughout this busy period acted in an honorary capacity as secretary in Melbourne.

Time was drawing on and the funds of the Expedition were wholly inadequate to the needs of the moment, until Mr. T. H. Smeaton, M.P., introduced a deputation to the Hon. John Verran, Premier of South Australia. The deputation, organized to approach the State Government for a grant of L5000, was led by the Right Hon. Sir Samuel Way, Bart., Chief Justice of South Australia and Chancellor of the Adelaide University, and supported by Mr. Lavington Bonython, Mayor of Adelaide, T. Ryan, M.P., the Presidents of several scientific societies and members of the University staff. This sum was eventually forthcoming and it paved the way to greater things.

In Sydney, Professor David approached the State Government on behalf of the Expedition for financial support, and, through the Acting Premier, the Hon. W. A. Holman, L7000 was generously promised. The State of Victoria through the Hon. W. Watt, Premier of Victoria, supplemented our funds to the extent of L6000.

Upheld by the prestige of a large meeting convened in the Melbourne Town Hall during the spring, the objects of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition were more widely published. On that memorable occasion the Governor-General, Lord Denman, acted as chairman, and among others who participated were the Hon. Andrew Fisher (Prime Minister of the Commonwealth), the Hon. Alfred Deakin (Leader of the Opposition), Professor Orme Masson (President A.A.A.S. and representative of Victoria), Senator Walker (representing New South Wales) and Professor G. C. Henderson (representing South Australia).

Soon after this meeting the Commonwealth Government voted L5000, following a grant of L2000 made by the British Government at the instance of Lord Denman, who from the outset had been a staunch friend of the Expedition.

At the end of October 1911 all immediate financial anxiety had passed, and I was able to devote myself with confidence to the final preparations.

Captain Davis brought the 'Aurora' from England to Australia, and on December 2, 1911, we left Hobart for the South. A base was established on Macquarie Island, after which the ship pushed through the ice and landed a party on an undiscovered portion of the Antarctic Continent. After a journey of fifteen hundred miles to the west of this base another party was landed and then the Aurora returned to Hobart to refit and to carry out oceanographical investigations, during the year 1912, in the waters south of Australia and New Zealand.

In December 1912 Captain Davis revisited the Antarctic to relieve the two parties who had wintered there. A calamity befell my own sledging party, Lieut. B. E. S. Ninnis and Dr. X. Mertz both lost their lives and my arrival back at Winter Quarters was delayed for so long, that the 'Aurora' was forced to leave five men for another year to prosecute a search for the missing party. The remainder of the men, ten in number, and the party fifteen hundred miles to the west were landed safely at Hobart in March 1912.

Thus the prearranged plans were upset by my non-return and the administration of the Expedition in Australia was carried out by Professor David, whose special knowledge was invaluable at such a juncture.

Funds were once more required, and, during the summer of 1912, Captain Davis visited London and secured additional support, while the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science again successfully approached the Commonwealth Government (The Right Hon. J. H. Cook, Prime Minister). In all, the sum of L8000 was raised to meet the demands of a second voyage of relief.

The party left on Macquarie Island, who had agreed to remain at the station for another year, ran short of food during their second winter. The New Zealand Government rendered the Expedition a great service in dispatching stores to them by the 'Tutanekai' without delay.

Finally, in the summer of 1913, the 'Aurora' set out on her third cruise to the far South, picking up the parties at Macquarie Island and in the Antarctic, carried out observations for two months amid the ice and reached Adelaide late in February 1914.

Throughout a period of more than three years Professors David and Masson—the fathers of the Expedition—worked indefatigably and unselfishly in its interests. Unbeknown to them I have taken the liberty to reproduce the only photographs at hand of these gentlemen, which action I hope they will view favourably. That of Professor David needs some explanation: It is a snapshot taken at Relief Inlet, South Victoria Land, at the moment when the Northern Party of Shackleton's Expedition, February 1909, was rescued by the S.Y. 'Nimrod'.

In shipping arrangements Capt. Davis was assisted throughout by Mr. J. J. Kinsey, Christchurch, Capt. Barter, Sydney, and Mr. F. Hammond, Hobart.

Such an undertaking is the work of a multitude and it is only by sympathetic support from many sources that a measure of success can be expected. In this connexion there are many names which I recall with warm gratitude. It is impossible to mention all to whom the Expedition is indebted, but I trust that none of those who have taken a prominent part will fail to find an acknowledgment somewhere in these volumes.

I should specially mention the friendly help afforded by the Australasian Press, which has at all times given the Expedition favourable and lengthy notices, insisting on its national and scientific character.

With regard to the conduct of the work itself, I was seconded by the whole-hearted co-operation of the members, my comrades, and what they have done can only be indicated in this narrative.

Contents

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

FOREWORD

INTRODUCTION

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

COLOUR PLATES

CHAPTER I.THE PROBLEM AND PREPARATIONSCHAPTER II.THE LAST DAYS AT HOBART AND THE VOYAGE TO MACQUARIE ISLANDCHAPTER III.FROM MACQUARIE ISLAND TO ADELIE LANDCHAPTER IV.NEW LANDSCHAPTER V.FIRST DAYS IN ADELIE LANDCHAPTER VI.AUTUMN PROSPECTSCHAPTER VII.THE BLIZZARDCHAPTER VIII.DOMESTIC LIFECHAPTER IX.MIDWINTER AND ITS WORK;CHAPTER X.THE PREPARATION OF SLEDGING EQUIPMENTCHAPTER XI.SPRING EXPLOITSCHAPTER XII.ACROSS KING GEORGE V LANDCHAPTER XIII.TOIL AND TRIBULATIONCHAPTER XIV.THE QUEST OF THE SOUTH MAGNETIC POLECHAPTER XV.EASTWARD OVER THE SEA-ICECHAPTER XVI.HORN BLUFF AND PENGUIN POINTCHAPTER XVII.WITH STILLWELL'S AND BICKERTON'S PARTIESCHAPTER XVIII.THE SHIP'S STORYCHAPTER XIX.THE WESTERN BASE—ESTABLISHMENT AND EARLY ADVENTURESCHAPTER XX.THE WESTERN BASE—WINTER AND SPRINGCHAPTER XXI.THE WESTERN BASE—BLOCKED ON THE SHELF-ICECHAPTER XXII.THE WESTERN BASE—LINKING UP WITH KAISER WILHELM II LANDCHAPTER XXIII.    A SECOND WINTERCHAPTER XXIV.NEARING THE ENDCHAPTER XXV.LIFE ON MACQUARIE ISLANDCHAPTER XXVI.A LAND OF STORM AND MISTCHAPTER XXVII.THROUGH ANOTHER YEARCHAPTER XXVIII.THE HOMEWARD CRUISEAPPENDIX.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Sir Douglas Mawson (Photogravure)

In Memoriam cross at Cape Denison (Photogravure)

COLOUR PLATES

Virgin solitudes

A weather-worn snow-berg

A grottoed iceberg

The Mertz Glacier Tongue, at a point 50 miles from the land

The Grey Rock Hills at Cape Denison

Winter quarters, Adelie Land

The Alpine-glow

"Antarctica is a world of colour, brilliant and intensely pure..."

Sledging in Adelie Land

[Volume II]

Islets fringing the mainland: view looking west from Stillwell Island

Rafts of floe-ice

Before sunrise: camped near the Hippo Nunatak

Avalanche rocks

Delay Point

The great "Bergschrund" of the Denman Glacier

Tussock slopes and misty highlands

The shack and its vicinity

A Victoria penguin on the nest

A growth of lichen on red sandstone

Antarctic marine life

Brought up in the deep-sea trawl

PLATES

Professor T. W. Edgeworth David

Professor Orme Masson

Captain John King Davis

The wall of the Antarctic Continent

Finner whales of the South

The 'Aurora' crossing the equator, August 1911

Frank Wild

Ginger and her family on the voyage from London

Queen's Wharf, Hobart, an hour before sailing, December 2, 1911

The last view of Hobart nestling below Mt. Wellington

A big, following sea

McLean walking aft in rough weather

Cruising along the west coast of Macquarie Island

A Giant Petrel on the nest

A Young Giant Petrel on the nest. Caroline Cove

The wreck of the "Clyde"

The boat harbour—Hassleborough Bay

The North End of Macquarie Island showing Wireless Hill. The living hut is at the north end of the isthmus, with North-East Bay on the right and Hassleborough Bay on the left side

The 'Aurora' anchored in Hassleborough Bay. In the foreground giant seaweed is swinging in the wash of the surge

A Wanderer Albatross at rest on the water

Hunter tickles a sleeping baby Sea Elephant

A typical Table-Topped neve berg originating from floating Shelf Ice

An Antarctic iceberg with a reticulation of crevasses on its tilted surface. This berg had no doubt taken its origin from the ice of the coastal cliffs of Adelie Land

In Pack-Ice

A cavern in the wall (120 feet) of the shelf ice of the Mertz Glacier-Tongue

A glimpse from within the cavern (shown in the preceding illustration)

The 'Aurora' in Commonwealth Bay; the rising plateau of Adelie Land in the distance

The invaluable motor-launch; left to right, Hamilton, Bickerton, and Blake

The whale-boat with passengers for the shore; Wild at the steering oar

First steps in the formation of the Main Base Station; landing of stores and equipment at the head of the Boat Harbour, Cape Denison. In the distance men are to be seen sledging the materials to the site selected for the erection of the hut

A view of a rocky stretch of the Adelie Land Coast west of Commonwealth Bay

A panorama looking west from winter quarters. On the left and in the distance are the rising slopes of the inland ice. The moraine is in the foreground

A panorama of the sea front looking eastward from winter quarters. The plateau slopes are visible to a height of l500 feet

In open pack-ice

The face of the Shackleton Ice-Shelf 100 miles north of the mainland. Each strongly-marked horizontal band on the sheer wall represents a year's snowfall

The 'Aurora' anchored to thick floe-ice 100 miles north of the western base, Queen Mary Land. In this region the annual snowfall is very heavy, so that it is possible that the great thickness of floe is due to the accumulation of one year

A berg with inclusions of mud and rock. Long. 10 degrees E.

The 'Flying-Fox' viewed from the floe-ice below the brink of the shelf ice on which the western party wintered

Summer at the boat harbour, Cape Denison

An Adelie penguin on the nest defending her eggs

The living-hut, nearing completion. The tents and shelter built of benzine cases used as temporary quarters are shown

The completion of the hut—cheering the Union Jack as it was hoisted on the flag pole

Adelie penguins at home, Cape Denison

A view of the main base hut in February 1912, just prior to its completion. Within a few days of the taking of this picture the hut became so buried in packed snow that ever afterwards little beyond the roof was to be seen

Weddell seals asleep on pancake ice

Adelie penguin after weathering a severe blizzard. observe the lumps of ice adhering to it

A Panoramic view looking south from near the hut. In the distance are the slopes of the inland ice-sheet. In the foreground is the terminal moraine. Between the rocks and the figure is a zone where rapid thawing takes place in the summer owing to the amount of dirt contained in the ice

A panoramic view looking north towards the sea. In the middle of the picture is Round Lake. The hut is towards the left-hand side and the anemograph is on the hill. The men are practising ski running

An evening view from Cape Denison

The head of a Weddell seal

A Weddell seal scratching himself. "Drat those fleas!"

The meteorologist with an ice-mask

Where the plateau descends to Commonwealth Bay

MacCormick Skua gull on the nest with egg

Chick of MacCormick Skua gull on the nest

Protection—Adelie penguin and chick

The lower moraine, composed of water worn boulders, Cape Denison

An ice-polished surface, Cape Denison

The boat harbour in March. The hut is seen dimly through light drift

"Race of the Spray Smoke's Hurtling Sheet"

Walking against a strong wind

Picking ice for domestic purposes in a hurricane wind. Note the high angle at which Webb is leaning on the wind

Leaning upon the wind; Madigan near the meteorological screen

Stillwell collecting geological specimens in the wind

In the blizzard; getting ice for domestic purposes from the glacier adjacent to the hut

An incident in March soon after the completion of the hut: Hodgeman, the night watchman, returning from his rounds outside, pushes his way into the veranda through the rapidly accumulating drift snow

Mertz in the snow tunnels on his way to the interior of the hut with a box of ice for the melters

Mertz emerging from the trap-door in the roof

Working in the hurricane wind, Adelie Land

Getting ice for domestic purposes. Whetter picking; Madigan with the ice-box

The ice-cliff coastline east of winter quarters

Madigan's frostbitten face

Correll, Bage, McLean, Hodgeman, Hunter, and Bickerton

A winter afternoon scene in the hut. From the left: Mertz, McLean, Madigan, Hunter, Hodgeman. High on the left is the acetylene generator

Taking a turn in the kitchen department. Hunter, Hodgeman, Bage. The doorway on the right is the entrance to the workroom

A corner of the hut—Bage mending his sleeping bag. The bunks in two tiers around the wall are almost hidden by the clothing hanging from the ceiling

A winter evening at the hut. Standing up: Mawson, Madigan, Ninnis, and Correll. Sitting round the table from left to right: Stillwell, Close, McLean, Hunter, Hannam, Hodgeman, Murphy, Lasebon, Bickerton, Mertz, and Bage

A morning in the workshop. From left to right: Hodgeman, Hunter, Lasebon, Correll, and Hannam. The petrol engine part of the wireless plant on the right

Welding by thermit in the workroom, Adelie Land. Bickerton, Correll, Hannam and Mawson

In the catacombs. Ninnis on the right

Bage and his tide gauge which was erected on the frozen bay ice

Raising the lower section of the northern wireless mast

The weathered cliffs of a glacier sheet pushing out into the frozen sea east of Cape Denison

Bage at the door of his astronomical transit House

Webb and his magnetograph house

At work on the air-tractor sledge in the hangar; Bage, Ninnis, and Bickerton

Webb adjusting the instruments in the magnetograph house a calm noon in winter, Cape Denison

The ridged surface of a lake frozen during a blizzard

A lively scene in the vicinity of an Antarctic Petrel rookery, Cape Hunter

A Weddell seal swimming below the ice-foot

A rascally Sea Leopard casting a wicked eye over the broken floe at Land's End. Main Base

A Crab-Eater seal; common amongst the pack-ice

The rare Ross seal

One of McLean's cultures; bacteria and moulds; illustrating micro-organisms in the hut

Ice flowers on the newly formed sea-ice

Madigan visiting the anemograph screen in a high wind

The Puffometer, designed to record maximum gust velocities

An enormous cone of snow piled up by the blizzards under the coastal cliffs

The cliffs at Land's End, Cape Denison. On the brow of the cliff in front of the figure (Mertz) is a good example of a snow cornice

On the frozen sea in a cavern eaten out by the waves under the coastal ice-cliffs

Ice stalactites draping the foreshores

A grotto of "mysteries"

The relief of Wild's party. The "Aurora" approaching the floe at the western base, February 1913

Pacing the deck: Capt. John King Davis and Capt. James Davis

An Adelie penguin feeding its young

"Amundsen", one of the sledge dogs sent down to us from Amundsen's South Polar Expedition

At the foot of a snow ramp beneath the coastal ice-cliffs, Commonwealth Bay

At Aladdin's Cave. The vertical passage leading down into the cave itself is situated immediately behind the figure on the right

Beneath the surface of the plateau. Bage preparing a meal in Aladdin's Cave in August

Laseron and Hunter using the collapsible steel handcart in preparing for dredging on the frozen sea

Greenland Sledging Dogs—"John Bull" and "Ginger"—tethered on the rocks adjacent to the hut

The Mackellar islets viewed from an elevation of 800 feet on the mainland

Snow Petrels preparing to nest, Cape Denison

A Snow Petrel on the nest

Adelie penguins diving into the sea in quest of food

Adelie penguins jumping on to the floe

Mertz in an icy ravine

Mertz and Ninnis arrive with the dogs at Aladdin's Cave

Mertz emerging from Aladdin's Cave

A team of dogs eagerly following Ninnis

The dogs enjoy their work

Speeding east

A distant view of Aurora Peak from the west

Lieutenant B. E. S. Ninnis, R.F.

Mertz, Ninnis, and Mawson erecting the tent in a high wind

A later stage in erection of the tent in a wind (one man is inside)

Dr. Xavier Mertz

Pages from Dr. Mertz' diary

Mawson emerging from his makeshift tent

The half-sledge used in the last stage of Mawson's journey

"...The long journey was at an end—a terrible chapter of my life was finished!"

The southern supporting party on the plateau. Hunter, Murphy and Laseron

The southern and supporting parties building a depot on the plateau

Depot made by the southern and supporting parties at a point 67 miles south of Commonwealth Bay. Murphy, Laseron, and Hunter packing sledge in the foreground; Bage in the distance

A rough sledging surface of high Sastrugi encountered by the southern party 200 miles S.S.E. of the hut

Farthest south camp of southern party, 17 "minutes" (about 50 miles) from the South Magnetic Pole. Bage near sledge; Webb taking set of magnetic observations behind snow barricade

Sastrugi furrowed by the mighty winds of the plateau, 250 miles S.S.E. of winter quarters, Adelie Land

Under reefed sail. Southern party 290 miles S.S.E. of winter quarters, Adelie Land

Hurley in sledging gear

Correll on the edge of a ravine in the ice sheet

Madigan's, Murphy's, and Stillwell's parties breaking camp at Aladdin's Cave at the commencement of the summer journeys

The surface of the continental ice sheet in the coastal region where it is badly crevassed

Working the sledge through broken sea ice, 46 miles off King George V Land. Madigan, Correll and McLean

The "Organ-Pipes" of Horn Bluff (1000 feet in height) pushing out from the mainland

Madigan, Correll and McLean camped below the cliffs of Horn Bluff (1000 FEET IN height). Columnar Dolerite is seen surmounting a sedimentary series partly buried in the talus-slope

An outcrop of a sedimentary formation containing bands of coal projecting through the talus slope below the columnar dolerite at Horn Bluff

The face of a granite outcrop near penguin point. At its base is a tide crack and ice foot

The granite cliffs at Penguin Point where Cape Pigeon and Silver Petrel rookeries were found; the site of New Year's Camp

[VOLUME II]

Madigan Nunatak—Close and Laseron standing by the sledge

A desolate camp on the plateau

Sledging rations for three men for three months

Stillwell Island—a haunt of the Silver-Grey petrel

"The Bus", the air-tractor sledge

Bickerton and his sledge with detachable wheels

Amongst the splintered ice where the ice-sheet descends to the sea near Cape Denison

The big winding-drum for the deep-sea dredging cable

Fletcher with the driver loaded ready to take a sounding

At the provision depot for castaways provided by the New Zealand Government, Camp Cove, Carnley Harbour, Auckland Island. Primmer on the right

The brick pier erected at Port Ross, Auckland Islands, by the magneticians of Sir James Clarke Ross's Expedition

The "Aurora" at anchor in Port Ross, Auckland Islands

The Monagasque trawl hoisted on the derrick: Gray standing by

A remarkable berg, two cusps standing on a single basement. Note that it has risen considerably out of the sea, exposing old water lines

A portal worn through a berg by the waves

A turreted berg

A Midsummer view of the hut and its neighbourhood, looking S.E.

Forging through pack-ice

Members of the main base party homeward bound, January 1913. From left to right: back row, Whetter, Hurley, Webb, Hannam, Laseron, Close; front row, Stillwell, Hunter, Correll, Murphy

"Wireless" Corner in the workshop. Our link with civilization

The "Aurora" anchored to the floe off the western base

The establishment of the western base. Hauling stores to the top of the ice-shelf

The western base hut in winter. Note the entrance; a vertical hole in the snow in the foreground

The western base hut—The Grottoes—in summer

An evening camp, Queen Mary Land

A man-hauled sledge

In the veranda of the western base hut—The "Grottoes"—looking towards the entrance dug vertically down through the snow drift

The wind-weathered igloo built for magnetic observations—western base

Nunatak—Queen Mary Land: showing remarkable moat on windward side and ramp on lee

Midwinter's dinner in Queen Mary Land, 1912. From left to right: Behind—Hoadley, Dovers, Watson, Harrisson, Wild. In Front—Jones, Moyes, Kennedy

A bevy of Emperor penguins on the floe

A yawning crevasse

Wild's party making slow progress in dangerous country

Wild, Kennedy, and Harrisson amongst the abysses of the Denman glacier

"The whole was the wildest, maddest and yet the grandest thing imaginable"

Wild's party working their sledges through the crushed ice at the foot of Denman glacier

The Hippo Nunatak

Dog-sledging

Where the floe-ice meets the Shackleton Shelf

The hummocky floe on the southern margin of the Davis Sea

View showing the young birds massed together at the Emperor penguins' rookery at Haswell Island

Antarctic petrels on the nest

A Snow petrel chick on the nest

A Silver-Grey petrel on the nest

The symmetrically domed outline of Drygalski Island, low on the horizon. The island is 1200 feet high and 9 miles in diameter

The main western party on their return to the "Grottoes." from the left: Hoadley, Jones and Dovers

Blizzard-harassed penguins, after many days buried in the snow

The pancake ice under the cliffs at Land's End

A wonderful canopy of ice

Sastrugi sculptured by the incessant blizzards

The terminal moraine, near the hut, Cape Denison

Disappearing in the drift

The hut looming through the drift

A wall of solid gneiss near winter quarters

An erratic on the moraine. Cape Denison

Frozen spray built up by the blizzards along the shore

A view of the mainland from the Mackellar Islets: ice-capped islets in the foreground: the rock visible on the mainland is Cape Denison

A Wilson petrel on the nest, Mackellar Islets

The "Aurora" lying at anchor, Commonwealth Bay; in the distance the ice-slopes of the mainland are visible rising to a height of 3500 feet. In the foreground is a striking formation originating by the freezing of spray dashed up by the hurricane wind

The shack: showing the natural rocky protection on the windward side

The interior of the operating hut on Wireless Hill

Weka pecking on the beach

Chicks of the Dominican gull

Macquarie Island Skuas feeding

Bull Sea Elephants fighting

The thermometer screen, Macquarie Island

The wind-recording instruments, Macquarie Island

"Feather bed" terrace near Eagle Point, Macquarie Island

A glacial lake (Major Lake) on Macquarie Island, 600 feet above sea level

Victoria penguins

View of the wireless station on the summit of Wireless Hill

The wireless operating hut

The wireless engine hut

Panoramic view of Macquarie Island, as seen from Wireless Hill at the north extremity of the island. The shack is near the bottom of the picture on the left-hand side: the sealers' hut at the far end of the isthmus: the distant left-hand point of the coast is the Nuggets: north-east bay on the left: Hasselborough Bay on the right

A view of the shore at The Nuggets: the sealers' shed on the right. the bare patches far inland high on the hills above the shed are Royal penguins' rookeries, from which they travel to the beach in a long procession

Sooty albatrosses nesting

A white Giant Petrel on the nest

A Giant Petrel rookery

The Macquarie Island party. From left to right: Sandell, Ainsworth, Sawyer, Hamilton, Blake

King penguins

The head of a Sea Leopard, showing fight

A precocious Victoria penguin

Young male Sea Elephants at play

A large Sea Leopard on the beach

A Sea Elephant

A cormorant rookery, Hasselborough Bay

A young King penguin

A Sclater penguin

Royal penguins on the nest

Gentoo penguin and young

A cow Sea Elephant and pup

The head of a bull Sea Elephant

A rookery of Sea Elephants near the shore at the Nelson reef, chiefly cows and pups

A bull Sea Elephant in a fighting attitude

A cormorant and young on nest

The wild West Coast of Macquarie Island

A Royal penguins rookery

The wreck of the "Gratitude" on the Nuggets beach

Kerguelen Cabbage

Flowering plant

Darby and Joan. Two rare examples of penguins which visited the shack, Macquarie Island. On the left a Sclater penguin, on the right an albino Royal penguin

Large erratics and other glacial debris on the summit of Macquarie Island

Pillow-form lava on the highlands of Macquarie Island

Waterfall Lake, of glacial origin

On the plateau-like summit of Macquarie Island; a panorama near the north end. Glacial lakes and tarns in the foreground

The King penguins rookery, Lusitania Bay

The head of a bull Sea Elephant photographed in the act of roaring

The rookery of Royal penguins at the south end, viewed from a cliff several hundred feet above it

Young Sea Elephants asleep amongst Royal penguins, south end rookery

Hamilton inspecting a good catch of fish at Lusitania Bay

Hamilton obtaining the blubber of a Sea Elephant for fuel

An illustration of the life on the Mackellar Islets

An ice mushroom amongst the Mackellar Islets

View looking out of a shallow ravine at the eastern extremity of the rocks at Cape Denison

"Hurley had before him a picture in perfect proportion...."

Antarctic petrels resting on the snow

Silver-grey petrels making love

Looking towards the mainland from Stillwell Island: Silver-grey petrels nesting in the foreground

Antarctic petrels nesting on the rocky ledges of the cliffs near Cape Hunter

Icing ship in the pack north of Termination Ice-tongue

Emperor penguins follow the leader into the sea

Emperor penguins jumping on to the floe

Cape Hunter, composed of ancient sedimentary rocks (Phyllites)

Examples of Antarctic marine crustaceans

TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS

Antarctic discoveries preceding the year 1910

Plan and section of the S.Y. 'Aurora"

Map of Macquarie Island by L. R. BLAKE

Ships' tracks in the vicinity of Totten's Land and North's Land

Ships' tracks in the vicinity of Knox Land and Budd Land

Plan of the hut, Adelie Land

Sections across the hut, Adelie Land

The vicinity of the main base, Adelie Land

A section of the coastal slope of the continental ice-sheet inland from winter quarters, Adelie Land

Wind velocity and wind direction charts for a period of twenty-four hours, Adelie Land

A comparison of wind velocities and temperatures prevailing at Cape Royds, McMurdo Sound, and at winter quarters, Adelie Land, during the months of May and June

The drift-gauge

The wind velocity and wind direction charts for midwinter day

The tide-gauge

Midwinter Day menu at the main base, Adelie Land, 1912

Section through a Nansen sledging cooker mounted on the Primus

Map showing the track of the southern sledging party from the main base

[VOLUME II]

Map showing the remarkable distribution of islets fringing the coast-line of Adelie Land in the vicinity of Cape Gray

Map showing the tracks of the western sledging party, Adelie Land

Plan illustrating the arrangements for deep-sea trawling on board the "Aurora"

Map of the Auckland Islands

The "Contents" page of the first number of the "Adelie Blizzard"

The meteorological chart for April 12, 1913, compiled by the Commonwealth Meteorological Bureau

A diagrammatic sketch illustrating the meteorological conditions at the main base, noon, September 6, 1913

Plan of the hut, Macquarie Island

Map of the north end of Macquarie Island by L. R. Blake

A section across Macquarie Island through Mt. Elder, by L. R. Blake

A sketch illustrating the distribution of the Mackellar Islets

A section illustrating the moat in the Antarctic continental shelf

Signatures of members of the land parties

A section of the Antarctic plateau from the coast to a point 300 miles inland, along the route followed by the southern sledging party

A section across a part of the Antarctic continent through the South Magnetic Pole

A section of the floor of the Southern Ocean between Tasmania and King George V Land

A section of the floor of the Southern Ocean between Western Australia and Queen Mary Land

A map showing Antarctic land discoveries preceding 1838

A map showing Antarctic land discoveries preceding 1896

A map of the Antarctic regions as known at the present day

FOLDING MAPS

Regional map showing the area covered by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914

King George V Land, showing tracks of the eastern sledging parties from the main base

Queen Mary Land, showing tracks of the sledging party from the main base

CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM AND PREPARATIONS

Notwithstanding the fact that it has been repeatedly stated in the public press that the Australasian Antarctic expedition had no intention of making the South Geographical Pole its objective, it is evident that our aims were not properly realized by a large section of the British public, considering that many references have appeared in print attributing that purpose to the undertaking. With three other Antarctic expeditions already in the field, it appeared to many, therefore, that the venture was entirely superfluous.

The Expedition had a problem sketched in unmistakable feature, and the following pages will shortly set forth its historical origin and rationale.

The Antarctic problem** assumed its modern aspect after Captain Cook's circumnavigation of the globe in high southern latitudes, accomplished between 1772 and 1775. Fact replaced the fiction and surmise of former times, and maps appeared showing a large blank area at the southern extremity of the earth, where speculative cartographers had affirmed the existence of habitable land extending far towards the Equator. Cook's voyage made it clear that if there were any considerable mass of Antarctic land, it must indubitably lie within the Antarctic Circle, and be subjected to such stringent climatic conditions as to render it an unlikely habitation for man.

Cook's reports of seals on the island of South Georgia initiated in the Antarctic seas south of America a commercial enterprise, which is still carried on, and has incidentally thrown much light upon the geography of the South Polar regions. Indeed, almost the whole of such information, prior to the year 1839, was the outcome of sealing and whaling projects.

About the year 1840, a wave of scientific enthusiasm resulted in the dispatch of three national expeditions by France, the United States, and Great Britain; part at least of whose programmes was Antarctic exploration. Russia had previously sent out an expedition which had made notable discoveries.

The contributions to knowledge gained at this period were considerable. Those carried back to civilization by the British expedition under Ross, are so well known that they need not be described. The French under Dumont D'Urville and the Americans under Wilkes visited the region to the southward of Australia—the arena of our own efforts—and frequent references will be made to their work throughout this story.

What has been termed the period of averted interest now intervened, before the modern movement set in with overpowering insistence. It was not till 1897 that it had commenced in earnest. Since then many adventurers have gone forth; most of the prominent civilized nations taking their share in exploration. By their joint efforts some, at least, of the mystery of Antarctica has been dispelled.

It is now a commonplace, largely in the world of geographical concerns, that the earth has still another continent, unique in character, whose ultimate bounds are merely pieced together from a fragmentary outline. The Continent itself appears to have been sighted for the first time in the year 1820, but no human being actually set foot on it until 1895. The Belgian expedition under de Gerlache was the first to experience the Antarctic winter, spending the year 1898 drifting helplessly, frozen in the pack-ice, to the southward of America. In the following year a British expedition under Borchgrevinck, wintering at Cape Adare, passed a year upon the Antarctic mainland.

The main efforts of recent years have been centred upon the two more accessible areas, namely, that in the American Quadrant** which is prolonged as a tongue of land outside the Antarctic Circle, being consequently less beset by ice; secondly, the vicinity of the Ross Sea in the Australian Quadrant. It is because these two favoured domains have for special reasons attracted the stream of exploration that the major portion of Antarctica is unknown. Nevertheless, one is in a position to sketch broad features which will probably not be radically altered by any future expeditions.

Certain it is that a continent approaching the combined areas of Australia and Europe lies more or less buried beneath the South Polar snows; though any statement of the precise area is insufficient for a proper appreciation of the magnitude, unless its elevated plateau-like character be also taken into consideration. It appears to be highest over a wide central crown rising to more than ten thousand feet. Of the remainder, there is little doubt that the major portion stands as high as six thousand feet. The average elevation must far exceed that of any other continent, for, with peaks nineteen thousand feet above sea-level, its mountainous topography is remarkable. Along the coast of Victoria Land, in the Australian Quadrant, are some of the most majestic vistas of alpine scenery that the world affords. Rock exposures are rare, ice appearing everywhere except in the most favoured places.

Regarding plant and animal life upon the land there is little to say. The vegetable kingdom is represented by plants of low organization such as mosses, lichens, diatoms and algae. The animal world, so far as true land-forms are concerned, is limited to types like the protozoa (lowest in the organic scale), rotifera and minute insect-like mites which lurk hidden away amongst the tufts of moss or on the under side of loose stones. Bacteria, most fundamental of all, at the basis, so to speak, of animal and vegetable life, have a manifold distribution.

It is a very different matter when we turn to the life of the neighbouring seas, for that vies in abundance with the warmer waters of lower latitudes. There are innumerable seals, many sea-birds and millions of penguins. As all these breed on Antarctic shores, the coastal margin of the continent is not so desolate.

In view of the fact that life, including land-mammals, is abundant in the North Polar regions, it may be asked why analogous forms are not better represented in corresponding southern latitudes. Without going too deeply into the question, it may be briefly stated, firstly, that a more widespread glaciation than at present prevails invested the great southern continent and its environing seas, within recent geological times, effectually exterminating any pre-existing land life. Secondly, since that period the continent has been isolated by a wide belt of ocean from other lands, from which restocking might have taken place after the manner of the North Polar regions. Finally, climatic conditions in the Antarctic are, latitude for latitude, much more severe than in the Arctic.

With regard to climate in general, Antarctica has the lowest mean temperature and the highest wind-velocity of any land existing. This naturally follows from the fact that it is a lofty expanse of ice-clad land circumscribing the Pole, and that the Antarctic summer occurs when the earth is farther from the sun than is the case during the Arctic summer.