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Douglas Mawson - Aurora
Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-14
Personnel
The story in detail page 1  page 2  The SY Aurora  Diary of an able seaman on the Aurora

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Ebooks: The South Pole - Amundsen | Home of the Blizzard - Mawson | Last Expedition - Scott | South - Shackleton

The crew alphabetically - in more detail


Staff of the Adélie Land Station - (Main Base)

Bage, Lt. Edward Frederick Robert - Astronomer, Assistant Magnetician & Recorder of Tides
Bickerton, Francis Howard F.R.G.S. - In charge of air-tractor sledge
Close, J.H. F.R.G.S. - Assistant Collector
Correll, Percy Edward - Mechanic and Assistant Physicist
Hannam, Walter H. - Wireless Operator and Mechanic
Hodgeman, Alfred James - Cartographer and Sketch Artist
Hunter, John George - Biologist
Hurley, Frank (James Francis) - Official Photographer
Jeffryes, S. N. - Wireless Operator
Laseron, Charles Francis - Taxidermist & Biological Collector
Madigan, Cecil Thomas - Meteorologist
Mawson, Dr. Douglas - Expedition leader
McLean, Archibald Lang - Chief Medical Officer, Bacteriologist
Mertz, Dr. Xavier - In charge of Greenland dogs
Murphy, Herbert Dyce - In charge of Expedition stores
Ninnis, Lt. Bellgrave E.S. - In charge of Greenland dogs
Stillwell, Frank Leslie - Geologist
Webb, Eric Norman - Chief Magnetician
Whetter, Leslie H. - Surgeon

Staff of the Queen Mary Land Station - (Western Base)

Dovers, George Harris Sarjeant (21) - Cartographer
Harrisson, Charles Turnbull (43) - Biologist
Hoadley, Charles Archibald (24) - Geologist
Jones, Sydney Evan (24) - Medical Officer
Kennedy, Alexander Lorimer (22) - Magnetician
Moyes, Morton Henry (25) - Meteorologist
Watson, Andrew Dougal (24) - Geologist
Wild, Frank - Leader, Sledge-master

Staff of the Macquarie Island Station

Ainsworth, George F. - Leader: Meteorologist
Blake, Leslie Russell - Cartographer and Geologist
Hamilton, Harold - Biologist
Sandell, Charles A. - Wireless Operator & Mechanic
Sawyer, A.J. - Wireless Operator

The Ship's Party

Blair, J.H. - First Officer during the final Antarctic Cruise
Davis
, Captain John King - Master of the S.Y. Aurora & Second in Command of the Expedition
Gray, Percy - Second Officer
de la Motte, C.P. - Third Officer
Gillies, F.J. - Chief Engineer

Short term expeditioners and other crew

Davis, Captain James - Whaling authority
Eitel, C.C. - Secretary
Flynn
, Prof. T.T. - Biologist
Lincoln, Bert - Diary of an able seaman on the Aurora
van Waterschoot van der Gracht, J.M.N.T. - Marine artist
Waite
, E.R. - Biologist

 


Group on S.Y. Aurora after leaving the western base, 1913

After being part of Shackleton's 1907-09 Nimrod expedition, Douglas Mawson, an Australian Geologist came up with a plan to launch a purely Australian Expedition to explore that part of Antarctica directly below Australia. Despite being offered a prestigious position on Robert Scott's expedition that left for Antarctica in 1910, Mawson stuck to his plan and successfully raised funding for an ambitious scientific programme staffed almost entirely by men from Australian and New Zealand Universities. There was no plan to reach the South Pole or any other such exploratory goal.

Three Antarctic bases were originally planned, though only two were successfully established, one Adélie Land, the Main Base and another on Queen Mary Land the Western Base, in addition a small party of five staffed a station on the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. Landing on Antarctica was at Commonwealth Bay in a very rare calm spell, it was to eventually become known as the windiest place in the world.

The expedition is best known for one of the most harrowing survival stories of all time when three men, Mawson, Mertz and Ninnis set off on a sledging trip that only Mawson was to return from though too late to catch the Aurora leaving for Australia for the winter. In all the men of the expedition spent two years in Antarctica before returning home. On his return to Australia, Mawson was knighted.

The story of the expedition    The SY Aurora

bullet denotes other Arctic or Antarctic expeditionary experience, prior to, or following this expedition
number in brackets is age at the start of this expedition - not always completely accurate.

Staff of the Adélie Land Station - (Main Base)

Dr. Douglas Mawson (30) - Expedition leader
physicist, acting subsequently as master Nimrod 1907-09

Born on a farm at Shipley, Yorkshire, England in 1882, his mother was originally from the Isle of Man. Educated in Australia.

Organiser and Leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition previously a member of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909, being one of the party under Professor David which reached the South Magnetic Pole. A graduate in Science and Engineering of Sydney and Adelaide Universities, he had filled for some time the post of Lecturer in Mineralogy and Petrology at the Adelaide University. The only survivor of a party sledging to the east from the Main Base in the summer of 1912-1913.

Lt. Edward Frederick Robert Bage (23) - Astronomer, Assistant Magnetician & Recorder of Tides

Single, a graduate in Engineering of Melbourne University and a lieutenant in the Royal Australian Engineers. A member of the Main Base Party (Adélie Land) and leader of the Southern Sledging Party, he remained in the Antarctic for two years. During the first year he was in charge of chronometers, astronomical observations and tidal records, and throughout the second year continued the magnetic work and looked after stores.

Cecil Thomas Madigan (23) - Meteorologist

Single, a graduate in Science (Mining Engineering) of Adelaide University, South Australia. Through the courtesy of the Trustees of the Rhodes Scholarship, the necessary leave to accompany the Expedition was granted just as he was on the eve of continuing his studies at Oxford University. A member of the Main Base Party (Adélie Land) he acted as Meteorologist for two years, and during the second year (1913) was also in charge of the Greenland dogs. An important journey in the spring and one to the east in the summer were made under his leadership, and the Party, left in Adélie Land in 1913, was to have been under his charge, but for Mawson's return.

Lt. Bellgrave E.S. Ninnis (23) - In charge of Greenland dogs

Single, was educated at Dulwich, England (as was Shackleton) and entered His Majesty's Army, having a commission as Lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers prior to joining the Expedition in London. At the Main Base (Adélie Land) he was assisted by X. Mertz in the care of the Greenland dogs. On December 14, 1912, while on a sledging journey, he lost his life by falling into a crevasse three hundred miles east of Winter Quarters.

Dr. Xavier Mertz (28) - In charge of Greenland dogs

Single, of Basle, Switzerland, a graduate in Law of the Universities of Leipzig and Berne. Prior to joining the Expedition he had gained the Ski-running Championship of Switzerland and was an experienced mountaineer. At the Main Base (Adelie Land) he was assisted by B. E. S. Ninnis in the care of the Greenland dogs. On January 7, 1913 during a sledging journey he lost his life one hundred miles south-east of Winter Quarters.

Archibald Lang McLean (26) - Chief Medical Officer, Bacteriologist

Single, a graduate in Arts and Medicine of Sydney University; New South Wales. He acted as Chief Medical Officer at the Main Base (Adélie Land) and carried out observations in Bacteriology and Physiology during the first year. In 1913 (the second year) he was Biologist, Ice-Carrier and Editor of the `Adelie Blizzard'. He took part in a sledging journey along the eastern coast in the summer of 1912-1913.

Francis Howard Bickerton F.R.G.S. (22) - In charge of air-tractor sledge

Single, born in Oxford, England. Had studied engineering: joined the Expedition as Electrical Engineer and Motor Expert. A member of the Main Base Party and leader of the Western Sledging Party, he remained in the Antarctic for two years, during which time he was in charge of the air-tractor sledge, and was engineer to the wireless station. For a time, during the second year, he was in complete charge of the wireless plant.

Alfred James Hodgeman (26) - Cartographer and Sketch Artist

Single, was born at Adelaide, South Australia. For four years he was an articled
architect, and for five years a draughtsman in the Works and Buildings Department, Adelaide. A member of the Main Base Party (Adélie Land), he took part in several sledging journeys, and throughout two years in the Antarctic acted in the capacity of Cartographer and Sketch Artist, as well as that of Assistant Meteorologist.

Born on 8 August 1985 - died in England in January 1964.

James Francis (Frank) Hurley (24) - Official Photographer

Single, was of Sydney, New South Wales. He had been the recipient of many amateur and professional awards for photographic work before joining the Expedition. At the Main Base he obtained excellent photographic and cinematographic records and was one of the three members of the Southern Sledging Party. He was also present on the final cruise of the `Aurora'.

Eric Norman Webb (22) - Chief Magnetician

Single, was an Associate of Civil Engineering of Canterbury University College, and, for the five months previous to joining the Expedition, carried out magnetic observations under the Carnegie Institute of Washington, U.S.A. At the Main Base (Adélie Land) E. N. Webb was Chief Magnetician, accompanying the Southern Sledging Party.

Percy E. Correll (19) - Mechanic and Assistant Physicist

Single, a student in Science of the Adelaide University. He joined the Expedition as Mechanician and Assistant Physicist. He was a member of the Main Base Party accompanying the Eastern Coastal Party during their sledging journey. He spent three summers and one winter in the Antarctic, acting as colour photographer during the final cruise of the `Aurora'.

John George Hunter (23) - Biologist

Single, a graduate in Science of Sydney University, New South Wales. A member of the Main Base Party (Adélie Land) he carried on the work of Biologist during two summers and one winter; and in the same capacity accompanied the `Aurora' in her final summer cruise l911-1914.

Charles Francis Laseron (25) - Taxidermist & Biological Collector

Single, had gained a Diploma in Geology at the Technical College, Sydney, New South Wales, and for some years was Collector to the Technological Museum. At the Main Base (Adélie Land), during 1912, he acted as Taxidermist and general Collector, taking part, as well, in sledging journeys to the south and east of Winter Quarters.

Frank Leslie Stillwell (23) - Geologist

Single, a graduate in Science of Melbourne University, Victoria. A member of the Main Base Party (Adélie Land) he acted as Geologist. F. L. Stillwell was leader of two sledging parties who did detail work for about sixty miles along the coast eastward of Winter Quarters.

Herbert Dyce Murphy (32) - In charge of Expedition stores

Single, of Melbourne, one-time Scholar in History of Oxford University. At the outset he was to have been leader of a third Antarctic Base which was eventually amalgamated with the Main Base (Adélie Land). Here he had charge of the stores and during the early summer of 1912 was leader of the Southern Supporting Party.

Walter Henry Hannam (26) - Wireless Operator and Mechanic

Single, of Sydney, New South Wales, and joined the Expedition in charge of the arrangements for a wireless telegraphic system. He was in the Antarctic at the Main Base (Adélie Land) for two summers and a winter, and was successful in transmitting wireless messages for a short time during 1912 through Macquarie Island to Australia, assistant magnetician for a time.

John Henry Collinson Close F.R.G.S. (40) - Assistant Collector

Married, born in Sydney, New South Wales. During the South African War he saw active service in Rhodesia, and at the time of the Expedition's departure was a teacher of physical culture at Sydney. A member of the Main Base Party (Adélie Land) and of several sledging parties, he spent two summers and one winter in the Antarctic.

Dr. Leslie H. Whetter (29) - Surgeon

Single. He graduated at Otago University, New Zealand, and joined the Expedition as Surgeon, acting in that capacity at the Main Base (Adélie Land) during 1912. He accompanied a sledging party which explored to the westward of Winter Quarters.

S. N. Jeffryes (27) - Wireless Operator

Single, of Towoomba, Queensland, a qualified operator of the Australasian Wireless Company. During the second year (1913) he took W. H. Hannam's place in charge of the wireless plant, wintering at the Main Base (Adélie Land).

Staff of the Queen Mary Land Station - (Western Base)

Frank Wild Leader (38) - Sledge-master
seaman Discovery 1901-04
in charge of provisions Nimrod 1907-09
second in command Endurance 1914-17
second in command Quest- Ernest Shackleton 1921 - 1922

Single, Leader of the Western Base Party (Queen Mary Land). He joined the Merchant Service in 1889 and the Navy in 1900, served on an extended sledge journey during the National Antarctic Expedition (Capt. R. F. Scott) of 1901-1904, and was one of the Southern Party of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Expedition from 1907-1909. During the Australasian Expedition he opened up a new tract of country - Queen Mary Land.

Andrew Dougal Watson (24) - Geologist

Single, a graduate in Science of Sydney University, New South Wales. A member of the Western Base Party (Queen Mary Land) he acted as Geologist. A. D. Watson took part in several sledging journeys, accompanying F. Wild in his main eastern trip during the summer of 1912-1913.

Sydney Evan Jones (24) - Medical Officer

Single, a graduate in Medicine of Sydney University, New South Wales. A member and Medical Officer of F. Wild's Western Base (Queen Mary Land), he took part in several sledging journeys during 1912 and was leader of the party who explored westward to Gaussberg.

Charles Turnbull Harrisson (43) - Biologist

Married, was born in Hobart, Tasmania. For many years previous to joining the Expedition he had done illustrative and artistic work and had been engaged on a survey and in botanical and other scientific observations on the west coast of Tasmania. Stationed with the Western Base (Queen Mary Land) he acted as Biologist and Artist, accompanying F. Wild on his main eastern journey and several other sledging parties.

Morton Henry Moyes (25) - Meteorologist

Single, of Koolunga, South Australia, a graduate in Science of Adelaide University. With the Western Base Party (Queen Mary Land) he acted as Meteorologist and took part in several sledging journeys in the autumn and spring of 1912. During the summer of 1912-1913, through an unavoidable accident, he was left to carry on work alone at Winter Quarters for a period of nine weeks.

Alexander Lorimer Kennedy (22) - Magnetician

Single, was a student in Science of Adelaide University, South Australia. Receiving special tuition, he acted as Magnetician at the Western Base (Queen Mary Land) during the year 1912. He was a member of several sledging parties and accompanied Wild on his main eastern journey as Cartographer.

Charles Archibald Hoadley (24) - Geologist

Single, a graduate in Mining Engineering of Melbourne University. A member of F. Wild's Western Party (Queen Mary Land), he took part in several sledging journeys and was Geologist of the party who explored westwards to Gaussberg.

George Harris Sarjeant Dovers (21) - Cartographer

Single, of Sydney, New South Wales, was completing his term for Licensed Surveyor in the service of the Commonwealth Government when he joined the Expedition. He was in the Antarctic for two summers and one winter, being stationed with the Western Party (Queen Mary Land). A member of several sledging parties, he acted as Cartographer to the party which reached Gaussberg.

Staff of the Macquarie Island Station

Staff of the Macquarie Island Station

George F. Ainsworth (30) - Leader: Meteorologist

Single, was born in Sydney, New South Wales. His services were loaned to the expedition by the Commonwealth Meteorological Bureau, Melbourne. For a period of two years he acted as leader of the Macquarie Island Party , carrying out the duties of meteorologist. In the summer of 1913-1914 he visited the Antarctic during the final cruise of the "Aurora".

Leslie Russell Blake (21) - Cartographer and Geologist

Single, was born in Hawthorn Victoria Australia on 28th October 1890, had lived for many years in Queensland previous to joining the Expedition. Before accompanying the Macquarie Island Party as Geologist and Cartographer, he obtained leave from the Geological Survey Department, Brisbane. He visited the Antarctic during the final cruise of the `Aurora' in the summer of 1913-1914.

Thanks to Beryl Hazlett for correcting the initial information. "I have just come across your web page on the crew and personnel list of the Aurora on the Mawson expedition to Antarctica 1911/13. Leslie Blake was the youngest brother of my grandmother".

Harold Hamilton (26) - Biologist

Single, born in Napier, New Zealand. Graduate of the Otago University. Besides being employed on the New Zealand Geological Survey, he acted as Entomological Collector to the Dominion Museum at Wellington. A member of the Macquarie Island Party, of which he was the Biologist for two years, H. Hamilton visited the Antarctic during the final cruise of the `Aurora' in the summer of 1913-1914.

Charles A. Sandell (25) - Wireless Operator & Mechanic

Single, of Surrey, England, studied electrical engineering for some years and then came to Australia in 1909 and entered the Commonwealth Branch of Telephony. Having a practical knowledge of wireless telegraphy he joined the Expedition as a Wireless Operator and Mechanic and was stationed with the Macquarie Island Party for two years. After the departure of A. J. Sawyer in August 1913, he was in complete charge of the wireless station. C. A. Sandell visited the Antarctic during the final cruise of the `Aurora' in the summer of 1913-1914.

A. J. Sawyer (26) - Wireless Operator

Single, was born in New Zealand. Having had considerable experience in wireless telegraphy, he joined the Expedition as an operator from the Australasian Wireless Company. At the Macquarie Island Station he was chief wireless until August 1913, when on account of illness he returned to New Zealand.

The Ship's Party

Captain John King Davis (28) - Master of the S.Y. Aurora & Second in Command of the Expedition
chief officer , acting subsequently as master Nimrod 1907-09

Single, was master of the `Aurora' and Second-in-Command of the Expedition. Born in Ireland and educated in England, he served his apprenticeship on the Liverpool-owned sailing-ship, `Celtic Chief', obtaining his certificate as second mate before joining the barque `Westland' trading between England and New Zealand. His next post was that of second officer on the training ship `Port Jackson', following which he joined Sir Ernest Shackleton's Expedition (1907-1909) as . Throughout the whole period of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914) Captain J. K. Davis commanded the `Aurora' during five cruises.

J.H. Blair (24) - First Officer during the final Antarctic Cruise

Single, was in Scotland. For five years he served with the Loch Line of Glasgow as apprentice and third mate. As second mate he joined A. Currie and Company, of Melbourne, in the Australian-Indian trade, reaching the rank of first mate, in which capacity he acted during the final Antarctic cruise of the `Aurora' in the summer of 1913-14.

Percy Gray (22) - Second Officer

Single, was born and educated in England. He served on the `Worcester' as cadet captain for eighteen months and as apprentice on the `Archibald Russell', of Glasgow, and in the New Zealand Shipping Company. In 1909 he entered the Peninsula and Oriental Company and reached the rank of third officer, joining the Australasian Antarctic Expedition as second officer of the `Aurora'. Throughout five cruises, from 1911 to 1914, he served in this capacity.

C.P. de la Motte (19) - Third Officer

Single, of Bulli, New South Wales, had early training at sea on the barque `Northern Chief' of New Zealand, obtaining his certificate as second mate in March 1911. During the eight months prior to joining the Expedition he served as fourth officer on the S.S. `Warrimoo' of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. Throughout the five cruises of the `Aurora' between 1911 and 1914, C. P. de la Motte was third officer with the Ship's party.

F.J. Gillies (35) - Chief Engineer

Single, was born at Cardiff, Wales. He served his apprenticeship as an engineer on the steamers of John Shearman and Company and P. Baker and Company of Cardiff. For six years previous to joining the Expedition he was in the Indian trade. Throughout the five cruises of the `Aurora' between 1911 and 1914.

Short term members of the expedition and other crew

Davis, Captain James - Whaling authority
Eitel, C.C. - Secretary
Flynn, Prof. T.T. - Biologist
Forbes, James - Sailmaker
Lincoln, Bert - Able Seaman

On board the SY Aurora during a trip lasting just under three months from Hobart to Commonwealth Bay Antarctica and back again to relieve Mawson's expedition during its second summer, the middle of the three summer and two winter expedition.

Born in 1888, the eldest of four children and 25yrs old at the time of the expedition. He served in the Camel Corp in 1918 as a Corporal and died aged 30 yrs.

Bert's diary of the voyage. As far as I am aware this is the only such account of an ordinary sailor onboard an expedition or relief ship during the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration. Men such as Bert were not usually included on lists of the ship's personnel which only tend to list the ships officers, expedition scientists and the support personnel who spent their time on bases.
van Waterschoot van der Gracht, J.M.N.T. - Marine artist

Waite, E.R. - Biologist


A group of the returning members of the land parties

The story of the expedition  The SY Aurora

Douglas Mawson Books and Print

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Mawson's Will : The Greatest Polar Survival Story Ever Written Lennard Bickel
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The Home of the Blizzard Being the Story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914
Home of the Blizzard
Douglas Mawson
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Racing with Death: Douglas Mawson - Antarctic Explorer
Racing with Death: Douglas Mawson - Antarctic Explorer - Beau Riffenburgh
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This Everlasting Silence: The Love Letters of Paquita Delprat and Douglas Mawson, 1911-1914
This Everlasting Silence
The Love Letters of Paquita Delprat and Douglas Mawson
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Portrait of Sir Douglas Mawson
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Biographical information - This is a difficult area to research, I am concentrating on the Polar experiences of the men involved. Any further information or pictures visitors may have is gratefully received. Please email  - Paul Ward, webmaster.
What are the chances that my ancestor was an unsung part of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration?


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