Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration
A SYNOPSIS OF EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES FROM THE EARLIEST
TIMES UNTIL THE INTERNATIONAL POLAR YEARS, 2007-09
There have been several definitions proposed of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration, which generally concentrate on the attainment of the South Pole and other exploration of the interior of the continent. There were, however, various other expeditions and events concurrent during this brief, but intense, period. Several whaling reconnaissances from 1892 may be regarded as its practical beginning which incidentally aroused much public interest. The theoretical beginning was the Resolution adopted in 1895 during the sixth International Geographical Congress. The end of the age came during the First World War which caused explorationary activity throughout the world to diminish. Two subsequent expeditions are listed here – but their accomplishments were far less than planned.
During this period the earliest winterings were made south of the Antarctic Circle (1898, aboard Belgica) and on Antarctica (1899, at Cape Adare). The last of the peri-Antarctic islands was discovered (Scott Island in 1902) and the general limits of Antarctica became known. The South Pole was reached twice in the 1911-12 summer (35 days separated these events). The earliest Antarctic sound recordings were made in 1902 and cin films in 1903. Twice in 1902 aircraft (hydrogen balloons) were used for aerial reconnaissance. The earliest radio communications were established with Antarctica in 1913, with Australia through a relay station on Macquarie Island. In 1903 the first permanent meteorological station was opened (on the South Orkney Islands) and in 1904 the first shore whaling station was established (Grytviken, on South Georgia). Eleven of the historic huts of the Antarctic date from this period.
At the same time there was an intense concentration of Arctic activity involving a total of 17 expeditions from six countries attempting, but failing, to attain the North Pole.
R. K. Headland revised 15 September 2009
Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge,
Lensfield Road, Cambridge, United Kingdom, CB2 1ER
1892-93 British whaling exploration (from Dundee)
Thomas Robertson Active
Alexander Fairweather Balaena
Robert Davidson Diana
James Davidson Polar Star
Pioneer Scottish whaling reconnaissance, the Dundee whaling fleet, visited Falkland Islands; William Speirs Bruce (Balaena) and Charles W. Donald (Active) undertook some scientific work in the Joinville Island group and northern Trinity Peninsula; Robertson discovered and roughly charted Active Sound and the Firth of Tay; William Gordon Burn Murdoch, an artist, accompanied the expedition aboard Balaena. No whales were successfully caught but a large quantity of seal pelts and oil (presumably from Crabeater Seals) were obtained. The fleet met Carl Anton Larsen aboard Jason, near Joinville Island, 24 December 1892. The earliest known photographs of Antarctica were taken during this expedition.
1892-93 Norwegian whaling exploration (from Sandefjord)
Carl Anton Larsen Jason
Pioneer whaling reconnaissance; raised Norwegian flag, 4 December 1892, and collected fossils on Seymour Island where left an inscribed pole; penetrated Weddell Sea to 64á67¼S, 56á50¼W, reporting an 'appearance of land' to the west of this position; visited South Orkney Islands. Larsen encountered the Dundee whaling fleet near Joinville Island, 24 December 1892. No whales were successfully caught although one was harpooned.
1893-94 Norwegian sealing and whaling exploration (from Sandefjord)
Carl Anton Larsen Jason
Morten Pedersen Castor
Carl Julius Evensen Hertha
Visited South Shetland Islands. Hertha sailed south between Biscoe Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula to 69á17¼S, sighted Adelaide Island, Hugo Island, and Alexander Island. Hertha and Castor sailed in company to meet Jason at South Georgia. Whale harpooned from Hertha, but lost, in Royal Bay, 20 April 1894. Larsen discovered King Oscar II Coast, Foyn Coast, and Robertson Island (reported a volcanic eruption at Seal Nunataks); penetrated Weddell Sea coast of the Antarctic Peninsula to 68á17¼S, and made first use of ski in Antarctica; visited South Orkney Islands and Falkland Islands. Vessels reunited at Jason Harbour, South Georgia. The expedition secured 13 223 seal pelts (presumably Crabeater Seals from near the Antarctic Peninsula) and 6600 barrels [1á1 x 106 l] of seal oil. [Larsen wrote to the Royal Geographical Society, London, inquiring about leasing South Georgia as a site for a whaling station, February 1896.]
1893-95 Norwegian sealing and whaling exploration (from T¿nsberg)
Henrik Johan Bull
Leonard Kristensen Antarctic
Dispatched by Svend Foyn to investigate Antarctic whaling possibilities. Visited Tristan da Cunha, sighted Prince Edward Islands and Iles Crozet, took Elephant Seals on Iles Kerguelen, and reached Melbourne; during winter 1894 sighted Macquarie Island, visited Auckland Islands where met John Fairchild (Hinemoa) and Campbell Island where grounded on Terror Shoal, met HMS Rapid and Capt. Brown (Gratitude, 1894) who brought supplies (Bull wintered in Melbourne); in 1894-95 summer sighted Balleny Islands; landed on Possession Island in the Ross Sea, and at Cape Adare where raised the Norwegian flag, 25 January 1895 (the second landing on Victoria Land, and probably the sixth on mainland Antarctica). Made several Antarctic photographs, the earliest south of the Antarctic Circle. Searched for non-existent 'Royal Company Island' and 'Emerald Island'.
1895 Sixth International Geographical Congress meeting in London adopted a resolution (number 3) at its closing session, 3 August, 'That this congress record its opinion that the exploration of the Antarctic Regions is the greatest piece of geographical exploration still to be undertaken. That in view of the additions to knowledge in almost every branch of science which would result from such a scientific exploration the Congress recommends that the scientific societies throughout the world should urge in whatever way seems to them most effective, that this work should be undertaken before the close of the century'. [The Seventh International Geographical Congress, Berlin, September to October 1899, continued this initiative and arranged for coordinating of expeditions.]
1897-99 Belgian Antarctic Expedition
Adrien Victor Joseph de Gerlache de Gomery Belgica
Visited Tierra del Fuego. Continued to South Shetland Islands; explored the eastern part of Bismarck Strait; discovered and mapped Gerlache Strait and Danco Coast; named Palmer Archipelago; sighted Alexander Island. Belgica was beset by pack ice and drifted south of Peter I ¿y for 12 months, the earliest exploring vessel to winter on the Southern Ocean and first men (17) wintering south of the Antarctic Circle, kayaks made for local journeys, first uses of sledges in Antarctica. Two men died, off the South Shetland Islands and in the Bellingshausen Sea. Comprehensive scientific programme undertaken, detailed collections and photographic records made. [Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (1910-12, q.v.) and Frederick Albert Cook were aboard Belgica.]
1898-99 German Deep Sea Expedition
Adalbert Krech Valdivia
Oceanographic voyage in Indian and Atlantic Oceans; visited Bouvet¿ya (and accurately fixed its position for the first time), Iles Kerguelen, Ile Saint-Paul, and Ile Amsterdam. Met Elysee Hermann and his family living on Ile Saint-Paul, running a fishing enterprise with the vessel H.B.P.
1898-1900 British Antarctic Expedition
Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink
Bernhard Jensen Southern Cross
Visited Balleny Islands (reported an eruption), examined a large stretch of coast of Victoria Land; landed at Cape Adare and raised the British flag, 2 March 1899; built 2 huts where 10 men wintered ('Camp Ridley'), the earliest party to do so on Antarctica (Southern Cross wintered in New Zealand); examined the Ross Ice Shelf, sledging party reached a farthest south of 78á83¼, 23 February 1900; dogs used for transport (first use in Antarctica); established a mid-winter camp, 'Stone Hut', on Duke of York Island where made another territorial claim. Nicolai Hanson (Norway), zoologist, died, 14 October 1899, and was buried on Cape Adare. On the return voyage visited Auckland Islands and Macquarie Island. Scientific investigations included zoology, geology, meteorology, and geomagnetism; cin photography attempted unsuccessfully. By prior arrangement Carin, from Melbourne, awaited Southern Cross at Campbell Island with stores but missed her, 1 February to 21 March 1899. [The expedition included 2 Lapp, Ole Must and Persen Savio, employed as dog handlers. Borchgrevink was a Norwegian, resident in Victoria (Australia); he organized the expedition in Britain with private patronage, later he applied for United States citizenship. The huts at Cape Adare are now protected as 'historic sites'.]
1901 Antarctic bibliography; the earliest major specific compilation (878 references) was done by Hugh Robert Mill for The Antarctic Manual, edited by George Murray and published by the Royal Geographical Society.
1901-03 German South Polar Expedition (from Hamburg)
Erich Dagobert von Drygalski
Hans Ruser Gauss
Gauss, with a complement of 32, was beset and wintered in the Antarctic pack ice (drifting about 80 km offshore); expedition discovered Wilhelm II Land and sledged to Gaussberg; visited Iles Crozet, Heard Island (investigated glaciation), Ile Saint-Paul, and Ile Amsterdam. Made 3 ascents in a tethered hydrogen balloon at winter quarters, 29 March 1902, reached 480 m elevation and relayed observations to the ship by telephone (first Antarctic use); sound recordings of birds on Edison cylinders made, used an electric lighting system, and made diving observations from the ship beneath the ice. Separate scientific party of 5 men, under Emil Werth, spent 16 months at Baie de l'Observatoire, Iles Kerguelen, 1902-03, with supply vessels Tanglin (Kapt. Neuhaus), Duisburg (Kapt. Brunhs), Stassfurt (Kapt. Wommelsdorf), and Essen, sheep introduced. Beri-beri caused two deaths of crew aboard Tanglin; Josef Enzensperger died on Iles Kerguelen, 2 February 1903. Escaped sledge dogs became feral on Iles Kerguelen. Comprehensive scientific programme conducted.
1901-03 Swedish South Polar Expedition (from Gteborg)
Nils Otto Gustaf Nordenskjld
Carl Anton Larsen Antarctic
Shore party of 6 men wintered on Snow Hill Island (1902 and 1903); proved Dumont d'Urville's 'Louis Philippe Land' (now Trinity Peninsula) to be a part of the Antarctic Peninsula, and mapped unknown gap between Gerlache Strait and Orleans Strait; discovered and mapped Antarctic Sound and Prince Gustav Channel; dog sledged to 66á05¼S on the east side of the peninsula; Antarctic visited Tierra del Fuego, Falkland Islands, and South Georgia (called in Royal Bay and Maiviken, rediscovered and named Grytviken) during the 1902 winter while sealing. At the end of that winter the ship could not reach Snow Hill Island, 3 men landed at Hope Bay to proceed overland but they encountered open water and failed to reach the island, so were forced to winter at Hope Bay in 1903 with minimal supplies (leader Gunnar Andersson). Antarctic was beset and crushed in the pack ice of Erebus and Terror Gulf and foundered, 12 February 1903, complement (20 men and the cat) reached Paulet Island where wintered, Ole Christian Wennersgaard died, 7 June 1903. Three search expeditions dispatched in 1903 (Franais [1903-05], Frithjof [1903-04], and Uruguay ) and a fourth was ready (Scotia, [1902-04]); all 3 parties rescued by the Argentine naval vessel Uruguay (Julian Irizar), November 1903. The expedition conducted a comprehensive scientific programme including work in Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego, and South Georgia. An artist, Frank Wilbert Stokes (United States), was aboard for the first summer. [The hut on Snow Hill Island and two ruined refuges are now protected as 'historic sites'.]
1901-04 British National Antarctic Expedition (from London)
Robert Falcon Scott Discovery
Made the earliest extensive exploration on land in Antarctica; Discovery spent 2 winters off Hut Point, Ross Island (45 men in 1902 and 37 in 1903); a sledge party of 3 reached farthest south 82á28¼S, 30 December 1902; examined the coast of Victoria Land and the Ross Ice Shelf, Cape Crozier to the Bay of Whales; discovered King Edward VII Land; dogs used for hauling (cats also wintered). Ascents made in a tethered hydrogen balloon, Eva, 4 February 1902, reaching about 250 m (the earliest Antarctic flights, first by Scott, second by Ernest Henry Shackleton). Polar Plateau reached by a party led by Albert Borlase Armitage and Dry Valleys discovered. George Thomas Vince died in a blizzard, 11 March 1902. In 1902-03 Discovery remained ice-bound in McMurdo Sound, where supplied from Morgenen [Morning, 1902-03]. In February 1904 Discovery was freed, after the arrival of Morning and Terra Nova (1903-04); visited Macquarie Island on the outward voyage, Balleny Islands, Auckland Islands, and Falkland Islands during the return voyage. Electric lighting system used (wind powered, not very successful), colour photography attempted; comprehensive scientific programme conducted. [The hut at Hut Point is now protected as a 'historic site'.]
1902-03 British relief expedition
William Robinson Colbeck Morgenen [Morning]
Organized by the Royal Geographical Society, carried stores and dispatches to Discovery in McMurdo Sound, took 9 men back and landed one; discovered, surveyed Scott Island (first named Markham Island), where a party landed and claimed it for Britain, 25 December 1902; landed on Possession Island and Beaufort Island; geological specimens collected on all landings. [The vessel was originally Morgenen but the translation to Morning was made for the next expedition, 1903-04.]
1902-04 Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (Britain)
William Speirs Bruce
Thomas Robertson Scotia
First oceanographic exploration of Weddell Sea; Scotia, with a complement of 33, wintered at Laurie Island, South Orkney Islands, where meteorological observations began, 26 March 1903 (currently the oldest continuous record from the Antarctic), an observatory, 'Omond House', was built and the instruments transferred there, 1 November 1903; the island was charted. Allan George Ramsay, engineer, died, 6 August 1903; his grave is the first in the island's cemetery. Further operation of meteorological station entrusted to the Oficina Meteorolgica Argentina from 22 February 1904. Scotia visited Falkland Islands (December 1902, December 1903, and February 1904); made a second Weddell Sea voyage which discovered northern part of Caird Coast, Coats Land, but no landing possible; and continued to Gough Island (April 1904). Conducted a comprehensive scientific programme; cin photographs and sound recordings made; dogs used for sledge hauling; prepared to search for the Swedish South Polar Expedition (1901-03) but found that Uruguay (1903) had rescued it. A subsidiary meteorological station was operated by John Pearce at Cape Pembroke, Falkland Islands. [The expedition originally intended to depart in 1901 to coordinate observations with British and German expeditions. Bruce subsequently planned a major expedition which, among many other objects, included a trans-Antarctic traverse through the South Pole. This was to begin in 1911 but did not eventuate. Ruin of 'Omond House' remains on Laurie Island are now protected as a 'historic site'.]
1903 South Orkney Islands; on 29 December the British Minister in Buenos Aires, William H. D. Haggard, invited, at the request of William Speirs Bruce (Leader of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-04), the Argentine Government to take over and continue the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition's meteorological observations which began on Laurie Island on 26 March 1903 (1902-04, q.v.). The Argentine Government accepted this and Presidential Decree 3073, 2 January 1904, authorized the Oficina Meteorolgica Argentina, of the Ministry of Agriculture, to maintain the station. Argentine personnel sailed aboard Scotia and the transfer took place on 22 February 1904.
1903 Argentine relief expedition (from Buenos Aires)
Julian Irizar Uruguay
Naval vessel visited South Shetland Islands; rescued men who wintered at Snow Hill Island, 8 November (the 'day of wonders'), Hope Bay, and Paulet Island of the Swedish South Polar Expedition, left provision depots, November. Alberto Chandler Bannen was Chilean representative aboard.
1903-04 Swedish relief expedition (from Gteborg)
Hans Olof Fredrik Gylden Frithjof
Sailed to rescue the Swedish South Polar Expedition (Nils Otto Gustaf Nordenskjld, 1901-03); reached Snow Hill Island, 4 December 1903, to discover that wintering parties there and at Hope Bay, and the company of Antarctic, had already been rescued on Uruguay (Julian Irizar). Axel Alexander Camille Rudolf Emannel von Klinckowstrm made ornithological observations, mainly of penguins, at Hope Bay.
1903-04 British relief expedition
William Robinson Colbeck Morning
Henry Duncan Mackay Terra Nova
Organized by the Royal Navy, joined Discovery in McMurdo Sound to assist the return of the British National Antarctic Expedition (1901-04); the 3 ships sailed north on 19 February 1904. Sighted Scott Island, visited Auckland Islands. Terra Nova visited the Falkland Islands during the return voyage.
1903-05 French Antarctic Expedition
Jean-Baptiste Etienne August Charcot Franais
Intended to search for the Swedish South Polar Expedition (1901-04) but found this had been rescued; wintered at a station on Booth Island, off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, 1904; charted west side of Palmer Archipelago, partly by dog sledge; discovered and roughly charted Loubet Coast southwards to Adelaide Island; sighted Hugo Island and Alexander Island; pigs and cats also aboard; undertook a comprehensive scientific programme.
1904 Compaia Argentina de Pesca formed by Carl Anton Larsen (Swedish South Polar Expedition, 1901-03, q.v.) in Buenos Aires to begin whaling from South Georgia, 29 February. Larsen returned to Norway where he organized the enterprise in Sandefjord. [On returning to South Georgia Larsen founded Grytviken whaling station, 16 November, the company ran the station until 1960 when it was sold to Albion Star (Falkland Islands). Within the next decade 5 other companies established whaling stations on South Georgia where the industry continued until 1965.]
1904 Scottish National and Argentine Antarctic Expedition (Britain and Argentina)
William Speirs Bruce (Leader, aboard Scotia)
Robert Cockburn Mossmam (Officer-in-charge; Laurie Island, South Orkney Islands)
Thomas Robertson Scotia
Collected all but 2 personnel from the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, (1902-04); station formally transferred to Argentina by William Speirs Bruce, 22 February; 5 men wintered. [One of the 3 Argentine personnel opened a Post Office and made the first cancellations, 20 February 1904, using Falkland Islands and Argentine postage stamps (this functioned only in 1904 and 1905; another was established in 1941). After this voyage the Argentine Government has arranged an annual relief of the station.]
1904 Norwegian and Argentine whaling enterprise (from Sandefjord)
Carl Anton Larsen (Manager)
Thorvald Christian Thorsen Louise
Lauritz Edward Larsen Rolf (transport ship) with whale-catcher Fortuna
C. A. Larsen, of the Compaia Argentina de Pesca, established the first Antarctic whaling station on South Georgia, at Grytviken, 16 November 1904. Erik Srling, of the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm, made biological observations and collections; Larsen and Srling began taking meteorological observations, 17 January 1905, which were maintained by Erik Nordenhaag (Sweden) from August, the observations have subsequently been continuous. [Larsen was accompanied by most of his family and about 100 employees; this event was the beginning of the modern Antarctic whaling industry and permanent occupation of the island (the whaling station operated until 1965). Louise remained as a storage hulk until abandoned and eventually burnt in 1987. The sealers' cemetery, near Grytviken, was adopted by the whalers.]
1905-06 Norwegian whaling enterprise (from Sandefjord)
Alexander Lange (Manager)
S¿ren Andersen Admiralen with whale-catchers Hauken and ¯rnen
Christen Christensen's Company, Aktieselskabet ¯rnen, deployed the first floating whaling factory in southern regions; started whaling at New Island, Falkland Islands, 24 December 1905 under a government licence, then moved south to Admiralty Bay, King George Island, South Shetland Islands, 28 January 1906; and returned to New Island, 27 February. [This was the beginning of South Shetland Islands whaling which lasted until 1931.]
1906 Congres Internationale des Regions Polaires convened at Mons, Belgium, by Georges Lecointe, September, and the Commission Polaire Internationale was formed. There were meetings in 1908 (Bruxelles) and 1913 (Roma) before it was dissolved in 1915. Several attempts to coordinate polar investigations were only partially successful but Jean Denunc compiled a detailed Antarctic expeditions list (1911) and a bibliography of Antarctic exploration (1913).
1907-09 British Antarctic Expedition
Ernest Henry Shackleton
Rupert George England (1907-08) and
Frederick Pryce Evans (1908-09) Nimrod
Frederick Pryce Evans (1908) Koonya
Party of 15 men wintered at Cape Royds on Ross Island; climbed Mount Erebus (3794 m), 10 March 1908; Shackleton and 3 others (Jameson Boyd Adams, Eric Stewart Marshall, and John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild), discovered and sledged up the Beardmore Glacier to a farthest south of 88á38¼S (01á62¼ [180 km] from the South Pole) where Shackleton took possession of the Polar Plateau for King Edward VII, 9 January 1909; insufficient supplies necessitated their return; discovered nearly 500 km of the Transantarctic Mountains flanking the Ross Ice Shelf; discovered coal at Mount Buckley. Tannatt William Edgeworth David leading a party of three reached the region of the South Magnetic Pole (72á42¼S, 155á27¼E) and took possession for Britain of Victoria Land there, 16 January 1909, and at Cape Bernacchi, 17 October 1908. Dogs and ponies used for some sledge hauling. Visited Macquarie Island, searched for 'Dougherty's Island'. First experiments in motor transport in Antarctica, an Arrol Johnston motor car was used with limited success; cin photographs of penguins and seals were made. The expedition used New Zealand postage stamps specially overprinted 'King Edward VII Land' and an expedition canceller; Shackleton was appointed Post-Master. Book, Aurora Australis, printed at Cape Royds, 90 copies made. [To conserve coal, in January 1908, Nimrod was towed 2700 km from Lyttelton to the ice edge by Koonya (reached 66á52¼S) which visited Campbell Island during the return voyage. The hut at Cape Royds is now protected as a 'historic site'.]
1908 Falkland Islands Dependencies; British Royal Letters Patent of 21 July consolidated earlier territorial claims, dating from 1775 onwards, as Dependencies of the Falkland Islands, and specified the territories included ('ááá South Georgia, the South Orkneys, the South Shetlands, and the Sandwich Islands, and the territory known as Graham's Land, situated in the South Atlantic Ocean to the south of the 50th parallel of south latitude, and lying between the 20th and 80th degrees of west longitude, ááá'). [Although, for administrative convenience, these territories were constituted Dependencies of the Falkland Islands, the British title to them is separate and in no way derived from the title to the Falkland Islands. Neither parts of South America nor the Falkland Islands were included in the territories specified, although the converse has been argued on the basis that the geometric sector specified incorporated them. This was the earliest defined sovereign claim over Antarctica.]
1908 Norwegian expedition (from South Georgia)
Carl Anton Larsen
Ottar J¿gensen Undine
Reconnaissance of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands in search of new anchorages for whaling vessels, November; met United States sealer Daisy (Benjamin Dunham Cleveland) in the Bay of Isles at former; concluded that whaling could not be based at latter because of absence of safe harbours and presence of volcanic activity. Larsen was almost asphyxiated by volcanic fumes on Zavodovski Island; he prepared maps of the islands.
1908-10 French Antarctic Expedition
Jean-Baptiste Etienne August Charcot
Ernest Chollet Pourquoi Pas ?
Visited South Shetland Islands, bunkered at Deception Island, Pourquoi Pas ?, with a complement of 30 men wintered at Petermann Island, where built huts and left a plaque, 1909. Charted west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and islands southwards to Adelaide Island and Alexander Island; discovered Marguerite Bay, Fallires Coast, and 'Charcot Land' (later proved to be an island, Charcot Island); sighted Peter I ¿y. Cin photographs of selected activities were produced. Expedition carried 3 motor sledges but was able to use them experimentally only. Pursued a comprehensive scientific programme, partly supplied and assisted by whaling vessels, especially from Deception Island.
1910-12 Norwegian Antarctic Expedition
Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen
Thorvald Nilsen Fram
Fram reached the Bay of Whales, Ross Ice Shelf; party of 9 wintered in 'Framheim' (Fram wintered in Buenos Aires); 5 men (Amundsen, Olav Olavsen Bjaaland, Helmer Julius Hanssen, Sverre Helge Hassel, and Oscar Wisting) reached the South Pole ('Polheim'), 14 December 1911 (after adjustment for the International Date Line) by dog sledge, and claimed the South Polar Plateau for Norway ('Kong Haakon VII Vidde'); discovered Queen Maud Mountains. Kristian Prestrud, leading a party of 3, explored King Edward VII Land and took possession for Kong Haakon, 7 December 1911; reported 'Carmen Land', the existence of which has been disproved. Fram reached 78¼41'S [78á68¼S] in the Bay of Whales, 15 February 1911; continued during 1911 to circumnavigate Antarctica, investigated non-existent 'Nimrod Island' and 'Dougherty's Island', and made oceanographic observations in the South Atlantic. Encountered Terra Nova of the British expedition, January 1911, and Kainan-maru of the Japanese expedition, January 1912, in the Bay of Whales. Cin photographs of selected activities were produced.
1910-12 Japanese Antarctic expedition
Naokichi Nomura Kainan-maru
Sailed from Tokyo Bay with a complement of 27; reached Coulman Island, Ross Sea, in 1910-11 but failed to penetrate the pack ice and wintered in Sydney, Australia. During 1911-12 reached the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf and landed at the Bay of Whales, where encountered the Norwegian expedition aboard Fram. From there a party of 5 (including 2 Ainu dog handlers) sledged 250 km south-east, this 'Dash Patrol' claimed the area within sight, 'Yamato Yukihara' ('Yamato Snow Plain'), on the Ross Ice Shelf, for Japan, 28 January 1912. Party investigated King Edward VII Land. Cin photographs were produced.
1910-13 British Antarctic Expedition
Robert Falcon Scott (Leader for 1911 winter, Captain 1910-11 outward voyage)
Edward Leicester Atkinson (Leader for 1912 winter)
Henry Lewin Lee Pennell (1911 return voyage and 1911-12), and
Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russell Evans (1912-13)
(Captains for different voyages) Terra Nova
Spent 2 winters at Cape Evans on Ross Island (25 men in 1911, 13 in 1912, Terra Nova wintered in New Zealand); 5 men (Scott, Henry Robertson Bowers, Edgar Evans, Lawrence Edward Grace Oates, and Edward Adrian Wilson) reached the South Pole, 17 January 1912 by man-hauling, and found Amundsen's expedition had departed there 33 days previously; all perished during the return journey; a search party found their last camp, 12 November 1912. Extensive exploration and scientific investigations conducted (biology, geology, glaciology, meteorology, geophysics) along the coast of Victoria Land and on the Ross Ice Shelf; discovered Oates Land, made second ascent of Mount Erebus. Separate party of 6 men, led by Victor Lindsay Arbuthnot Campbell, wintered in a hut at Cape Adare (1911) and in an ice cave at Evans Cove, Inexpressible Island, (1912) under great privation. Herbert George Ponting, present for the first winter, made earliest cin documentary film of an Antarctic expedition (eventually titled 90¼ South), prepared colour photographs; telephone deployed between Cape Evans and Hut Point; established a Post Office using New Zealand postage stamps overprinted 'Victoria Land' and an expedition canceller. Ponies, mules, 'motorised sledges', and dogs were used for transport in addition to man-hauling. Terra Nova encountered Fram in the Bay of Whales, January 1911. [The hut at Cape Evans, ruin at Cape Adare, and site at Inexpressible Island are now protected as 'historic sites'.]
1911-12 German South Polar Expedition
Richard Vahsel (1911-12), Wilhelm Lorenz (1912), and
Alfred Kling (1912) Deutschland
Visited South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; at the former investigated the coasts aboard Undine, prepared charts and reopened the observatory at Royal Bay (1882-83); one man lost at sea. Continued south to 'Prinzregent Luitpold Land' [Luitpold Coast] and charted part of the south coast of the Weddell Sea; discovered the Filchner Ice Shelf where an attempt to establish a station was unsuccessful (it was deployed on a calving iceberg). Deutschland, with 33 men aboard, was beset and drifted in pack ice for 9 months; a winter sledge journey proved non-existence of Robert Johnson's 'New South Greenland', reported in 1821. Visited South Georgia a second time after getting free from the ice. Sledge dogs and Manchurian ponies carried for transport and ultimately left on South Georgia. [Vahsel died, 8 August 1912; succeeded by Lorentz to Grytviken and then Kling. The original plan was to cross Antarctica by the South Pole to the Ross Sea.]
1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition
John King Davis Aurora
Thomas Holliman Toroa (1911)
John Bollons Tutanekai (1913)
Discovered and explored King George V Land and Queen Mary Land, which were claimed for the British Crown at Cape Denison, March 1912, and at Possession Rocks, 25 December 1912; shore parties wintered at Cape Denison (18 men in 1912 and 7 in 1913) and on the Shackleton Ice Shelf (leader John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild, 8 men in 1912); the former explored Terre Adlie and sledged towards the South Magnetic Pole, which was determined by Eric Norman Webb, 21 December 1912 (70á61¼S, 148á17¼E), and more territory was claimed; the latter reached Gaussberg on 23 December 1912 and left a message; both undertook extensive scientific programmes, dogs used for hauling during second season (received from Roald Amundsen aboard Fram). The Cape Denison station was occupied for the 1913 winter to await the return of a 3 man sledging party led by Mawson (Mawson alone returned, on the day after the ship departed). A separate party, of 5 men, led by George Frederick Ainsworth, spent 23 months on Macquarie Island, made the earliest detailed scientific investigations there, mapped the island; introduced sheep, dogs, and hens; planted vegetables. Wireless stations were established at Cape Denison and Macquarie Island (as a relay); first signal received from Antarctica on 25 September 1912 but two-way communication not established with Cape Denison until 20 February 1913. Intended to take an aircraft to Antarctica, but it crashed in Australia during the outward voyage and was used without wings as an 'air tractor sledge'. Colour and cin photographs produced by several men of the expedition. Traces of silver, gold, and cassiterite were detected, and a meteorite was found. Davis searched for the non-existent 'Royal Company Island' (31 May to 2 June 1912) and visited Auckland Islands, 24 June to 6 July 1912 (reported no trace of the Enderby Settlement at Hardwicke). [Toroa and Tutanekai, were chartered to convey stores and personnel to Macquarie Island, December 1911 and August 1913 respectively. The huts at Commonwealth Bay are now protected as 'historic sites'.]
1913-15 Commonwealth Meteorological Expedition (Australia)
Harold Power (1914) and A. C. Tulloch (1915) (leaders of winter parties)
George William Charles Bedford Endeavour
Meteorological station established on Macquarie Island by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-14) transferred to the Commonwealth Meteorological Service; 3 men wintered. Breeding sheep (28), poultry, and ducks were introduced and an attempt made to start a pastoral industry. Endeavour, with a full complement aboard (21 men), disappeared without trace after relieving the station on 3 December 1914 (probably foundered on Macquarie Island). The station was maintained until 4 December 1915, when it was closed owing to the difficulty of securing a vessel for annual relief during the First World War; men taken off aboard Rachel Cohen (W. J. MacBryde).
1914-16 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Weddell Sea Party] (Britain)
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton
Frank Arthur Worsley Endurance
Visited South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; discovered southern part of Caird Coast. Endurance, with a complement of 28 men, was beset, drifted 10 months during which the non-existence of Robert Johnson's 'New South Greenland' was demonstrated; Endurance was crushed in pack ice of the Weddell Sea, abandoned 27 October and sunk on 21 November 1915, wrecking the plan to sledge across Antarctica; company drifted on the pack ice and later escaped in boats to Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands, 14 April 1916, where wintered; Shackleton with 5 others sailed 1450 km to South Georgia in modified whale boat James Caird; he and 2 of them made the first major trek across the island to Stromness; 5 relief expeditions were organized in 1916, of which the fourth rescued the party of 22 men from Elephant Island, 30 August 1916, which was led by John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild after Shackleton's departure. [Endurance was equipped with wireless telegraphy apparatus but it was insufficiently powerful to communicate with a coast station; dogs used for sledge hauling and a motor sledge carried; James Francis [Frank] Hurley made a cin film and took colour photographs.]
1914-17 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party] (Britain)
®neas Lionel Acton Mackintosh (1914-15) and
Joseph Russell Stenhouse (1915-16) Aurora
Organized by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton to meet the Endurance party intending to sledge across Antarctica from the Weddell Sea (1914-16); visited Macquarie Island to provision Commonwealth Meteorological Expedition there, December 1914; continued to Ross Island, where it was intended the vessel remain for winter. Attempts to deploy a hut at Cape Crozier were thwarted by ice, Aurora continued to McMurdo Sound where supplies were unloaded and moved to the ice shelf where 6 men began laying depots for the crossing party; dogs used for hauling. Blizzards and ice drove Aurora off, 11 March, leaving the men stranded at Hut Point. The ship reached Cape Evans where she prepared to winter until forced off her moorings, 6 May 1915, stranding 4 men ashore in the hut. The men from Hut Point sledged to Cape Evans and all 10 were reunited, 2 June 1915. During the 1915-16 summer depot laying continued southwards to the Beardmore Glacier under very arduous conditions with minimal supplies and equipment. Of the last returning sledging party one man died on the ice shelf, 9 March 1916; the 5 survivors reached Hut Point, but 2 of them were lost crossing sea-ice, 9 May 1916. During the 1916 winter 4 men were at Cape Evans and 3 survived at Hut Point before traversing to Cape Evans, 15 July. Aurora, with a complement of 18, became beset, then drifted in the Ross Sea pack ice passing Balleny Islands, until free, 14 March 1916, and reached New Zealand, 3 April. The 7 survivors from the shore party were rescued, 10 January 1917. [Mackintosh commanded Aurora during the outward voyage and remained ashore from January 1915, he died on sea-ice, May 1916; Stenhouse took command of the ship, 10 May 1915. Expedition had wireless telegraphy apparatus but reception was intermittent from Macquarie Island, it was insufficiently powerful to communicate elsewhere; a motor sledge was carried but not used successfully; cin film sections produced. There was no man designated as leader after the death of Mackintosh.]
1916 Norwegian [first] relief expedition (from South Georgia)
Ingvar O. Thom Southern Sky
Whale-catcher, with Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton aboard, attempted but failed to reach Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands, May, to rescue Shackleton's party left there, April 1916; conveyed Shackleton to Falkland Islands.
1916 Uruguayan [second] relief expedition (from Montevideo)
Ruperto L. Elichiri-Behety Instituto de Pesca No I
Called at Falkland Islands where took Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton aboard; attempted but failed to reach Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands, June, to rescue Shackleton's party left there, April 1916.
1916 British [third] relief expedition (from Punta Arenas)
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton
Frank Arthur Worsley Emma
Chartered vessel attempted but failed to reach Elephant Island, July, to rescue Shackleton's party left there, April 1916. Towed and escorted for part of voyage by Chilean vessel Yelcho.
1916 Chilean [fourth] relief expedition (from Punta Arenas)
Luis Alberto Pardo Villalon Yelcho
Chilean naval vessel, with Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton aboard, rescued 22 men of Endurance from Elephant Island, 30 August. [Discovery (James Fairweather) sailed from Plymouth to assist in the rescue (fifth relief expedition); reached Montevideo where heard of Yelcho's success. Arrangements for the loan of Fram, to be commanded by Carl Anton Larsen, were made by the Norwegian government and the Chilean navy also offered a vessel to rescue the Elephant Island party.]
1916-17 Ross Sea relief expedition (from Port Chalmers)
John King Davis Aurora
Funded by Australian, British, and New Zealand governments; after extensive refitting in Port Chalmers, Aurora rescued the 7 survivors from the Ross Sea party of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition from Cape Evans, Ross Island, 10 January 1917 (3 men had perished). Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton accompanied the voyage. [The ship had wireless telegraphy apparatus, sporadic contact was maintained with New Zealand.]
1920 Scott Polar Research Institute founded in Cambridge, Britain, 26 November.
1920-22 British Expedition to Graham Land
John Lachlan Cope (Leader for 1920-21 summer)
Ole Andersen Svend Foyn
Four men were taken to South Shetland Islands by whaling vessels based at Deception Island; they intended to sledge southwards from Hope Bay but ice conditions prevented access; they continued to Paradise Harbour aboard Svend Foyn where a camp was established at the whalers' depot on Waterboat Point. Local exploration was made but the leader and George Hubert Wilkins returned to Britain aboard Solstreif. Thomas Wyatt Bagshawe and Maxime Charles Lester remained, with a dog team, and wintered during 1921 at Waterboat Point, recording meteorological, tidal and zoological observations until relieved, 13 January 1922 (a complete year of data were obtained), by Andersen, accompanied by Arthur George Bennett, Falkland Islands Dependencies Administrator. [This expedition was planned as a far more ambitious operation, the British Imperial Antarctic Expedition, but was unable to obtain sufficient finance. Transport was provided by several other vessels of the Norwegian whaling fleet. Sir Ernest Shackleton, with Wilkins, aboard Quest were prepared to rescue the Waterboat Point party but this proved unnecessary. The remains of the base of the hut are now protected as a 'historic site'.]
1921-22 Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic Expedition (Britain)
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and
John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild Quest
Visited South Georgia, where Shackleton died, 5 January 1922. Wild took command and expedition continued to the Weddell Sea; visited South Sandwich Islands; confirmed non-existence of 'New South Greenland'; attempts to discover new land in the Enderby Land region were unsuccessful; sighted Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands; returned to South Georgia, then visited Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha. A Post Office operated aboard Quest. [The expedition, with George Hubert Wilkins aboard, was prepared to rescue the Waterboat Point party but this proved unnecessary (British Expedition to Graham Land, 1920-22).]