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Back from Antarctic ice : Return of the Mawson expedition
Title : Back from Antarctic ice : Return of the Mawson expedition Back from Antarctic ice : Return of the Mawson expedition View More Images
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Source : Advertiser, 27 February 1914, p. 15
Date of creation : 1914
Format : Newspaper
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition ship Aurora moors at Semaphore and Douglas Mawson returns to South Australia after three years in the Antarctic. He was forced to stay an extra year after his ordeal following the deaths of his companions. The article summarises the expedition and the tragedy and includes photographs of Mawson and the Aurora.

The return of Douglas Mawson from the Antarctic in February 1914 appeared low key, despite the anticipation of the press. When the Aurora had returned to Australia the previous year, without Mawson and five of his men and with the tragic tale of the loss of two men's lives and Mawson's lone struggle for survival, there had been disappointment. Wireless communication with Antarctica however reassured the public of Mawson's well-being and his return was greatly anticipated.

When he stepped ashore, however, Mawson quietly told the waiting reporters that he could not speak to them before he had passed on a report to London, and made arrangements to meet them the following morning. The article makes much of Aurora's slow passage up the Gulf to Semaphore and of her appearance, as sturdy auxiliary-powered whaling ships were not a common sight in South Australia. Mawson's own appearance after his ordeal is also cause for comment: apart from looking like any other traveller in his Norfolk jacket and flannel trousers, 'his face bore indelible marks of hardship, fatigue and bitter experience.' The tragic loss of his companions is briefly recounted and Mawson gives some details of the scientific work and of the continual winds at Cape Denison which gave rise to his account of the expedition being called 'The Home of the Blizzard'.

On the previous page the newspaper's editor speculates on what scientific results the expedition may have collected, including perhaps evidence of climate changes experienced in the Antarctic and of 'the theory that Australia and South America, and even South Africa, were once connected with the great Antarctic continent.' The editor also considers that it is timely that Australia with its growing population and resources should not 'hang back' while other countries exploit the 'snow continent'.

Related names :

Mawson, Douglas, Sir, 1882-1958

Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914)

Aurora (ship)

Coverage year : 1914
Place : Antarctica
Further reading :

Mawson, Douglas, Sir. The home of the blizzard: the story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914, Kent Town, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press, 1996

Ayres, Philip J. Mawson: a life, Carlton South, Vic.: Miegunyah Press: Melbourne University Press, 1999

Bickel, Lennard. This accursed land, South Melbourne, Vic.: Macmillan, 1977

Hall, Lincoln. Douglas Mawson: the life of an explorer, French's Forest, N.S.W.: New Holland, 2000

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