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Last of South Australia's polar explorers
Title : Last of South Australia's polar explorers Last of South Australia's polar explorers
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Source : Advertiser, 9 September 1968, p. 2, col. h-k
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : Advertiser Newspapers Ltd.
Date of creation : 1968
Format : Newspaper
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of The Advertiser. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from The Advertiser and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

The career of John Rymill as an Arctic and Antarctic explorer is summarized. Along with Sir Douglas Mawson and Sir Hubert Wilkins, both of whom died in 1958, Rymill was one of a trio of South Australians who made their reputations as polar explorers.

Born in 1905 John Riddoch Rymill aspired to be a polar explorer from an early age, and once his schooling was completed moved to England to pursue his ambition. He trained in navigation and surveying at the Royal Geographical Society, studied anthropology at London University, trained as a pilot and as an aircraft mechanic and worked at the Scott Polar Research Institute.

In 1929 he joined the Cambridge University Museum of Ethnology expedition to the Canadian Arctic, and on his return joined the British Arctic Air Route Exepedition to Greenland led by Gino Watkins. Here he was able to hone his skills as a surveyor under trying Arctic conditions, and learned to manage a kayak and to drive sledge dogs, under the expert tutelage of the East Greenland Inuit people. He returned to Greenland with Watkins in 1932, and assumed leadership of the expedition following Watkins untimely death by drowning.

In 1934-37 he led his own expedition to the Antarctic. Here using sledge dogs, motor boat and an aeroplane for aerial reconnaissance and survey, he surveyed the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. This work proved that the peninsula was not an archipelago of islands, but a true peninsula and extension of the Antarctic mainland.

Following service in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during World War II, John Rymill returned to Penola in the south east of South Australia. He and his wife worked on the family farm investigating pasture improvement and cattle breeding. Rymill was a founding figure in the Equestrian Federation of Australia.

Coverage year : 1968
Place : Adelaide
Further reading :

Bechervaise, John, Arctic and Antarctic: the will and the way of John Riddoch Rymill Huntingdon [England]: Bluntisham Books, 1995

The explorers Penola, S. Aust.: Penola Branch, National Trust of South Australia, 1996

Rymill, John, Southern lights; the official account of the British Graham land expedition, 1934-1937, ... London: Chatto and Windus, 1938

Rymill, JR The British Graham Land Expedition, 1934-37 in Geographical Journal vol. 92, parts 4 and 5 April and May 1938, pp. 297-312 and pp. 424-438

Bertram, Colin and Stephenson, Alfred The 50th anniversary of the British Graham Land Expedition 1934-37 to western Antarctica in Geographical Journal vol. 151 part 2 July 1985 pp. 155-167

Chapman, F. Spencer Northern lights: the official account of the British Arctic air-route expedition 1930-1931 London: Chatto and Windus, 1934

Chapman, F. Spencer Watkins' last expedition,... London: Chatto and Windus, 1959

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