Southern Cross Expedition, 1898-1900 over
wintering at Cape Adare
Louis Bernacchi on
the Southern Cross Expedition
picture courtesy - Allport Library and
Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of
Louis Bernacchi was born in
1876 in Belgium to Italian parents, his
family migrated to Tasmania in 1884, where he was educated
later joining the Melbourne Observatory as a
student for two years where he gained the specialist
knowledge in magnetism that led to his being
appointed as magnetic and meteorological observer
Southern Cross expedition in 1898.
He is regarded as the first
Australian Antarctic Explorer, he published
his account of he Southern Cross expedition
in 1900 under the title "To the South Polar
was a very late recruit to the Discovery expedition,
being appointed as physicist only after the
original candidate had been rejected on medical
grounds. He did not join the expedition until
the Discovery had reached New Zealand.
At the time of
the Discovery Expedition, Bernacchi was the
only man on the ship who had previously been
His physical and magnetic observations made
during the Discovery Expedition were published
Royal Society in 1908 and 1909 along with the
other scientific results. He travelled widely
on his return from Antarctica writing scientific
papers in the Geographical Journal amongst other
publications. He was awarded the Royal
Geographical Society and King's Antarctic
Medal and the Légion d'honneur for his
Scott was Bernacchi's best man at his
wedding in 1906 and was invited by Scott to
take part in the Terra Nova expedition,
though Bernacchi declined.
He stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal
candidate to be an MP for Widnes (Cheshire,
England) in the 1910 general election.
He travelled to Africa, the Amazon in
Peru and invested in rubber plantations in
south east Asia, in Malaya, Java and Borneo.
In the First World War, he served in the
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
He was planning to lead an Antarctic expedition
in 1925, though it didn't happen due to
insufficient funds. In 1930 he
organised the British Polar Exhibition, he was
involved in organizing the Second International
Polar Year from 1931-32.
He published a life of (Captain) L.E.G. Oates
in 1933 called "A Very Gallant" Gentleman.
Another book, the Saga of the Discovery came
out in 1938. He returned to the Royal Naval
Volunteer Reserve. at the outbreak of the Second
World War, but he was in poor health and died
in London on 24 April 1942.
Landmarks named after Louis
precipitous cliff forming the S extremity of
Franklin Island in the Ross Sea. Named "Cape
Bernacchi" by the BrAE (1898-1900) for
Louis C. Bernacchi, a member of the expedition.
The generic has been changed to "Head"
by the US-ACAN to avoid duplication with Cape
Bernacchi on the coast of Victoria Land.
Variant Name(s) - Cape Bernacchi
Description: Bay about 3 mi wide
between Marble Point and
Cape Bernacchi, on
the coast of Victoria Land. Named after Cape Bernacchi by the British Antarctic Expedition
under Scott, 1910-13.
bernachii, the Emerald rockcod,
a species of fish first caught on the Southern
Cross Expedition and named in honour of Louis
Bernacchi, it is found in seas all around Antarctica
from 0-700m depths.