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
Ainsworth, George F. -
Blake, Leslie Russell - Cartographer and Geologist Hamilton, Harold
Sandell, Charles A. - Wireless Operator & Mechanic Sawyer, A.J. -
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, P. - Second Officer de la Motte, C.P. -
Third Officer Gillies, F.J. - Chief Engineer
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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".
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.
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
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
The Ship's Party
John King Davis (28) - Master of the
S.Y. Aurora & Second in Command of the Expedition
officer , acting subsequently as master
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.
(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.
P. 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.
(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.
A group of the returning members of the land
- 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?