State Library of South Australia logo Taking it to the edge
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

Explorer in many fields
Title : Explorer in many fields Explorer in many fields
Add To My SA Memory
Source : Advertiser, 3 December 1958, p.2,col. h-i
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : Advertiser Newspapers Ltd.
Date of creation : 1958
Additional Creator : Law, P. G. (Phillip Garth), 1912-
Format : Newspaper
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
The State Library of South Australia is keen to find out more about SA Memory items. We encourage you to contact the Library if you have additional information about any of these items.
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 :


Sir Hubert Wilkins' diverse career is summarized: his wartime service and decorations, his exploratory work in both the Arctic and Antarctic and the attempt in the submarine Nautilus of an under-ice voyage. The article also refers to a visit to Adelaide earlier in the year for a reunion with the remaining members of his family. Dr PG Law of the Australian Antarctic Division pays tribute, as does the US Army Quartermaster-General.

Wilkins was born at Mount Bryan in Australia's northern region in 1888. Witnessing the devastating Federation drought at the end of the 19th century, and in particular having to assist with destroying dying animals, fired in him a lifelong pursuit of the problems of meteorological research. In particular he seemed to realise ahead of his time the need for stations in the polar regions to monitor weather there and study its impact on world weather.

To do this he explored both Arctic and Antarctic regions: he was the first to fly an aeroplane in the Antarctic in 1928 and earlier that same year made a flight across the Arctic from Alaska to Spitsbergen. He also endeavoured to take a submarine beneath the Arctic ice, but failed in this when his vessel was sabotaged by crew members who became frightened by the prospect. The diving planes were found to have been deliberately sawn through.

His later years were spent working for the United States Army on problems associated with extreme weather conditions. In honour of his life-long committment to the polar regions and the problem of the weather the United States Navy arranged for his ashes to be scattered at the North Pole.

Coverage year : 1958
Further reading :

Thomas, Lowell, Sir Hubert Wilkins: his world of adventure; a biography New York, McGraw-Hill [1961]

Grierson, John, Sir Hubert Wilkins, enigma of exploration London: R. Hale, 1960

Nasht, Simon The last explorer: Hubert Wilkins Australia's unknown hero Sydney: Hodder Australia, 2005

Mill, Hugh Robert The significance of Sir Hubert Wilkins' Antarctic flights in Geographical journal vol. 19 (3), July 1929 pp. 377-386

Internet links :



About SA Memory

Explore SA Memory

SA Memory Themes


My SA Memory


What's on