Sir Douglas Mawson OBE FRS FAA was an Australian geologist, Antarctic explorer, academic. Along with Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton, he was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration; the Mawson Station in the Australian Antarctic Territory is named in his honour. Mawson was born on 5 May 1882 to Margaret Ann Moore, he was born in Shipley, West Yorkshire, but was less than two years old when his family immigrated to Australia and settled at Rooty Hill, now in the western suburbs of Sydney. He attended Fort Street Model School and the University of Sydney, where he graduated in 1902 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree, he was appointed geologist to an expedition to the New Hebrides in 1903. That year he published a geological paper on Mittagong, New South Wales, his major influences in his geological career were Professor Edgeworth David and Professor Archibald Liversidge. He became a lecturer in petrology and mineralogy at the University of Adelaide in 1905.
He first described the mineral davidite. Mawson joined Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition to the Antarctic intending to stay for the duration of the ship's presence in the first summer. Instead both he and his mentor, Edgeworth David, stayed an extra year. In doing so they became, in the company of Alistair Mackay, the first to climb the summit of Mount Erebus and to trek to the South Magnetic Pole, which at that time was over land. Mawson turned down an invitation to join Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition in 1910. Mawson chose to lead his own expedition, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, to King George V Land and Adelie Land, the sector of the Antarctic continent south of Australia, which at the time was entirely unexplored; the objectives were to carry out geographical exploration and scientific studies, including a visit to the South Magnetic Pole. Mawson raised the necessary funds in a year, from British and Australian governments, from commercial backers interested in mining and whaling.
The expedition, using the ship SY Aurora commanded by Captain John King Davis, departed from Hobart on 2 December 1911, landed at Cape Denison on Commonwealth Bay on 8 January 1912, established the Main Base. A second camp was located to the west on the ice shelf in Queen Mary Land. Cape Denison proved to be unrelentingly windy, they wintered through nearly constant blizzards. Mawson brought the first aeroplane to Antarctica; the aircraft, a Vickers R. E. P. Type Monoplane, was to be flown by Francis Howard Bickerton; when it was damaged in Australia shortly before the expedition departed, plans were changed so it was to be used only as a tractor on skis. However, the engine did not operate well in the cold, it was removed and returned to Vickers in England; the aircraft fuselage. On 1 January 2009, fragments of it were rediscovered by the Mawson's Huts Foundation, restoring the original huts. Mawson's exploration program was carried out by five parties from the Main Base and two from the Western Base.
Mawson himself was part of a three-man sledging team, the Far Eastern Party, with Xavier Mertz and Lieutenant Belgrave Ninnis, who headed east on 10 November 1912, to survey King George V Land. After five weeks of excellent progress mapping the coastline and collecting geological samples, the party was crossing the Ninnis Glacier 480 km east of the main base. Mertz was skiing and Mawson was on his sled with his weight dispersed, but Ninnis was jogging beside the second sled. Ninnis fell through a crevasse, his body weight is to have breached the snow bridge covering it; the six best dogs, most of the party's rations, their tent, other essential supplies disappeared into the massive crevasse. Mertz and Mawson spotted one dead and one injured dog on a ledge 165 ft below them, but Ninnis was never seen again. After a brief service and Mertz turned back immediately, they had plenty of fuel and a primus. They sledged for 27 hours continuously to obtain a spare tent cover they had left behind, for which they improvised a frame from skis and a theodolite.
Their lack of provisions forced them to use their remaining sled dogs to feed the other dogs and themselves: Their meat was stringy and without a vestige of fat. For a change we sometimes chopped it up finely, mixed it with a little pemmican, brought all to the boil in a large pot of water. We were exceedingly hungry. Only a few ounces were used of the stock of ordinary food, to, added a portion of dog's meat, never large, for each animal yielded so little, the major part was fed to the surviving dogs, they ate the skin, until nothing remained. There was a quick deterioration in the men's physical condition during this journey. Both men suffered dizziness. Mawson noticed a dramatic change in his travelling companion. Mertz wished only to remain in his sleeping bag, he began to deteriorate with diarrhoea and madness. On one occasion Mertz refused to believe he was suffering from frostbite and bit off the
The South Pole known as the Geographic South Pole or Terrestrial South Pole, is one of the two points where Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on the surface of Earth and lies on the opposite side of Earth from the North Pole. Situated on the continent of Antarctica, it is the site of the United States Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, established in 1956 and has been permanently staffed since that year; the Geographic South Pole is distinct from the South Magnetic Pole, the position of, defined based on Earth's magnetic field. The South Pole is at the center of the Southern Hemisphere. For most purposes, the Geographic South Pole is defined as the southern point of the two points where Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface. However, Earth's axis of rotation is subject to small "wobbles", so this definition is not adequate for precise work; the geographic coordinates of the South Pole are given as 90°S, since its longitude is geometrically undefined and irrelevant.
When a longitude is desired, it may be given as 0°. At the South Pole, all directions face north. For this reason, directions at the Pole are given relative to "grid north", which points northwards along the prime meridian. Along tight latitude circles, clockwise is east, counterclockwise is west, opposite to the North Pole; the Geographic South Pole is located on the continent of Antarctica. It sits atop a featureless, barren and icy plateau at an altitude of 2,835 metres above sea level, is located about 1,300 km from the nearest open sea at Bay of Whales; the ice is estimated to be about 2,700 metres thick at the Pole, so the land surface under the ice sheet is near sea level. The polar ice sheet is moving at a rate of 10 metres per year in a direction between 37° and 40° west of grid north, down towards the Weddell Sea. Therefore, the position of the station and other artificial features relative to the geographic pole shift over time; the Geographic South Pole is marked by a stake in the ice alongside a small sign.
The sign records the respective dates that Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott reached the Pole, followed by a short quotation from each man, gives the elevation as "9,301 FT.". A new marker stake is fabricated each year by staff at the site; the Ceremonial South Pole is an area set aside for photo opportunities at the South Pole Station. It is located some meters from the Geographic South Pole, consists of a metallic sphere on a short bamboo pole, surrounded by the flags of the original Antarctic Treaty signatory states. Amundsen's Tent: The tent was erected by the Norwegian expedition led by Roald Amundsen on its arrival on 14 December 1911, it is buried beneath the snow and ice in the vicinity of the Pole. It has been designated a Historic Site or Monument, following a proposal by Norway to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting; the precise location of the tent is unknown, but based on calculations of the rate of movement of the ice and the accumulation of snow, it is believed, as of 2010, to lie between 1.8 and 2.5 km from the Pole at a depth of 17 m below the present surface.
Argentine Flagpole: A flagpole erected at the South Geographical Pole in December 1965 by the First Argentine Overland Polar Expedition has been designated a Historic Site or Monument following a proposal by Argentina to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. In 1820, several expeditions claimed to have been the first to have sighted Antarctica, with the first being the Russian expedition led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev; the first landing was just over a year when American Captain John Davis, a sealer, set foot on the ice. The basic geography of the Antarctic coastline was not understood until the mid-to-late 19th century. American naval officer Charles Wilkes claimed that Antarctica was a new continent, basing the claim on his exploration in 1839–40, while James Clark Ross, in his expedition of 1839–43, hoped that he might be able to sail all the way to the South Pole. British explorer Robert Falcon Scott on the Discovery Expedition of 1901–04 was the first to attempt to find a route from the Antarctic coastline to the South Pole.
Scott, accompanied by Ernest Shackleton and Edward Wilson, set out with the aim of travelling as far south as possible, on 31 December 1902, reached 82°16′ S. Shackleton returned to Antarctica as leader of the British Antarctic Expedition in a bid to reach the Pole. On 9 January 1909, with three companions, he reached 88°23' S – 112 miles from the Pole – before being forced to turn back; the first men to reach the Geographic South Pole were the Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his party on December 14, 1911. Amundsen named his camp Polheim and the entire plateau surrounding the Pole King Haakon VII Vidde in honour of King Haakon VII of Norway. Robert Falcon Scott returned to Antarctica with his second expedition, the Terra Nova Expedition unaware of Amundsen's secretive expedition. Scott and four other men reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912, thirty-four days after Amundsen. On the return trip and his four companions all died of starvation and extreme cold. In 1914 Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition set out with the goal of crossing Antarctica via the South Pole, but his ship, the Endurance, was frozen in pack ice and sank 1
Australasian Antarctic Expedition
The Australasian Antarctic Expedition was an Australasian scientific team that explored part of Antarctica between 1911 and 1914. It was led by the Australian geologist Douglas Mawson, knighted for his achievements in leading the expedition. In 1910 he began to plan an expedition to chart the 3,200-kilometre-long coastline of Antarctica to the south of Australia; the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science approved of his plans and contributed substantial funds for the expedition. Accomplishments were made in geology and terrestrial biology, unlike both of Ernest Shackleton's following expeditions which produced little science. In a celebration of the achievements of Mawson and his men, a centenary scientific voyage, retracing the route of the original expedition, departed from Australasia on 25 November 2013 and became stuck on 24 December 2013; the team selected for the expedition came from universities in Australia and New Zealand. Of the men who would occupy bases on the Antarctic continent, twenty-two were Australian residents.
Four were three British and one Swiss. Three of the leaders, Mawson and Davis, were veterans of other Antarctic voyages; the expedition sailed on the Newfoundland sealing vessel Aurora, a steam-powered sailing vessel with a length of 50 metres and a displacement of 600 tons. The ship underwent modifications for the trip, including adding three large tanks for storing fresh water; the Aurora captain was John King Davis. The vessel departed for Macquarie Island on 2 December 1911, arriving on 11 December after surviving stormy weather during the crossing. A second vessel, the Toroa, followed with passengers. Departing Macquarie Island on 23 December, the Aurora began exploring the coastal areas, during which the vessel and its men discovered and named King George V Land and Queen Mary Land. Key members of the expedition included Frank Hurley as official photographer, Frank Wild as leader of the western base, Charles Hoadley as geologist, Cecil Madigan as meteorologist. Other members of the expedition included Edward Bage, Frank Bickerton, Leslie Russell Blake, Sidney Jeffryes, Charles Laseron, Archibald McLean, Herbert Dyce Murphy, Frank Stillwell and Leslie Whetter.
The expedition built their main base, or winter quarters, at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay, where eighteen men spent the winter of 1912 and seven spent the winter of 1913.. They built two auxiliary bases, a support base and wireless relay station on Macquarie Island headed by George Ainsworth, a western base on the Shackleton Ice Shelf, but these two auxiliary bases no longer survive; the teams at all three bases conducted routine scientific and meteorological observations, which were recorded in great detail in the voluminous reports of the expedition. They overcame months of failures with equipment and masts by establishing the first Antarctic wireless radio connection. Three short film clips from the official film of the expedition entitled The Home of the Blizzard can be found online. An extensive critique of the final film appears on the NFSA page in two parts. A 15-minute 3-D version of Frank Hurley's still photographs from the expedition is available online. Coastal and inland sledging journeys enabled the teams to explore unknown lands.
In the second half of 1912, there were five major journeys from the main base and two from the western base. Mawson himself was part of a three-man sledging team, the Far Eastern Party, with Xavier Mertz, Lieutenant B. E. S. Ninnis who headed east on 10 November 1912 to survey King George V Land. On 14 December 1912, after three weeks of excellent progress, the party was crossing the Ninnis Glacier, when Ninnis fell through a snow-covered crevasse. Mertz had skied over the crevasse lid, Mawson had been on his sled with his weight dispersed, but Ninnis was jogging beside the second sled and his body weight is to have breached the lid. Six dogs, most of the party's rations, their tent and other essential supplies disappeared into a massive crevasse 480 km east of the main base. Mertz and Mawson spotted one dead and one injured dog on a ledge 46m down but Ninnis was never seen again. Mawson and Xavier Mertz turned back immediately, their scanty provisions forced them to eat their remaining sled dogs, unwittingly causing a quick deterioration in the men's physical condition.
The liver of one dog contains enough vitamin A to produce the condition called Hypervitaminosis A. Mertz became incapacitated and incoherent. After Mertz died, Mawson continued alone for 30 days, he cut his sled in half with a pen knife and dragged the sled with geological specimens but minimal food 160 km back to the base at Cape Denison. During the return trip to the Main Base, he fell through the lid of a crevasse and was saved only by his sledge wedging itself into the ice above him; when Mawson made it back to Cape Denison on 8 February 1913 the words of his first rescuer upon finding Mawson were, "My God, which one are you?" However it was just hours. The ship was recalled by wireless communication. Mawson, six men who had remained behind to look for him, wintered a second unplanned year until December 1913. To maintain morale over the prolonged period of isolation Archie Macle
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2, comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, is the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley, it has a population of 4.9 million, its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians". The city was founded on 30 August 1835, in the then-British colony of New South Wales, by free settlers from the colony of Van Diemen’s Land, it was incorporated as a Crown settlement in 1837 and named in honour of the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. In 1851, four years after Queen Victoria declared it a city, Melbourne became the capital of the new colony of Victoria. In the wake of the 1850s Victorian gold rush, the city entered a lengthy boom period that, by the late 1880s, had transformed it into one of the world's largest and wealthiest metropolises.
After the federation of Australia in 1901, it served as interim seat of government of the new nation until Canberra became the permanent capital in 1927. Today, it is a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region and ranks 15th in the Global Financial Centres Index; the city is home to many of the best-known cultural institutions in the nation, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria and the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building. It is the birthplace of Australian impressionism, Australian rules football, the Australian film and television industries and Australian contemporary dance. More it has been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and a global centre for street art, live music and theatre, it is the host city of annual international events such as the Australian Grand Prix, the Australian Open and the Melbourne Cup, has hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Due to it rating in entertainment and sport, as well as education, health care and development, the EIU ranks it the second most liveable city in the world.
The main airport serving the city is Melbourne Airport, the second busiest in Australia, Australia's busiest seaport the Port of Melbourne. Its main metropolitan rail terminus is Flinders Street station and its main regional rail and road coach terminus is Southern Cross station, it has the most extensive freeway network in Australia and the largest urban tram network in the world. Indigenous Australians have lived in the Melbourne area for an estimated 31,000 to 40,000 years; when European settlers arrived in the 19th-century, under 2,000 hunter-gatherers from three regional tribes—the Wurundjeri and Wathaurong—inhabited the area. It was an important meeting place for the clans of the Kulin nation alliance and a vital source of food and water; the first British settlement in Victoria part of the penal colony of New South Wales, was established by Colonel David Collins in October 1803, at Sullivan Bay, near present-day Sorrento. The following year, due to a perceived lack of resources, these settlers relocated to Van Diemen's Land and founded the city of Hobart.
It would be 30 years. In May and June 1835, John Batman, a leading member of the Port Phillip Association in Van Diemen's Land, explored the Melbourne area, claimed to have negotiated a purchase of 600,000 acres with eight Wurundjeri elders. Batman selected a site on the northern bank of the Yarra River, declaring that "this will be the place for a village" before returning to Van Diemen's Land. In August 1835, another group of Vandemonian settlers arrived in the area and established a settlement at the site of the current Melbourne Immigration Museum. Batman and his group arrived the following month and the two groups agreed to share the settlement known by the native name of Dootigala. Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales, with compensation paid to members of the association. In 1836, Bourke declared the city the administrative capital of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, commissioned the first plan for its urban layout, the Hoddle Grid, in 1837.
Known as Batmania, the settlement was named Melbourne in 1837 after the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, whose seat was Melbourne Hall in the market town of Melbourne, Derbyshire. That year, the settlement's general post office opened with that name. Between 1836 and 1842, Victorian Aboriginal groups were dispossessed of their land by European settlers. By January 1844, there were said to be 675 Aborigines resident in squalid camps in Melbourne; the British Colonial Office appointed five Aboriginal Protectors for the Aborigines of Victoria, in 1839, however their work was nullified by a land policy that favoured squatters who took possession of Aboriginal lands. By 1845, fewer than 240 wealthy Europeans held all the pastoral licences issued in Victoria and became a powerful political and economic force in Victoria for generations to come. Letters patent of Queen Victoria, issued on 25 June 1847, declared Melbourne a city. On 1 July 1851, the Port Phillip District separated from New South Wales to become the Colony of Victoria, with Melbourne as its capital.
The discovery of gold in Victoria in mid-1851 sparked a
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
The Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands is an Australian external territory comprising a volcanic group of barren Antarctic islands, about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica. The group's overall size is 372 square kilometres in area and it has 101.9 km of coastline. Discovered in the mid-19th century, the islands have been an Australian territory since 1947 and contain the country's only two active volcanoes; the summit of one, Mawson Peak, is higher than any mountain on the Australian mainland. The islands lie on the Kerguelen Plateau in the Indian Ocean; the islands are among the most remote places on Earth: They are located 4,099 km southwest of Perth, 3,845 km southwest of Cape Leeuwin, Australia, 4,200 km southeast of South Africa, 3,830 km southeast of Madagascar, 1,630 km north of Antarctica, 450 km southeast of the Kerguelen Islands. The islands are uninhabited. Heard Island, by far the largest of the group, is a 368-square-kilometre bleak and mountainous island located at 53°06′S 73°31′E.
Its mountains are covered by 41 glaciers and dominated by Mawson Peak, a 2,745-metre-high complex volcano which forms part of the Big Ben massif. A July 2000 satellite image from the University of Hawaii's Institute of Geophysics and Planetology Thermal Alert Team showed an active 2-kilometre-long and 50- to 90-metre-wide lava flow trending south-west from the summit of Big Ben; the McDonald Islands are located 44 kilometres to the west of Heard Island at 53°02′20″S 72°36′04″E. The islands are rocky. In 1980 they consisted of Flat Island and Meyer Rock, they totalled 2.5 square kilometres in area, where McDonald Island was 1.13 square kilometres. There is a small group of islets and rocks about 10 kilometres north of Heard Island, consisting of Shag Islet, Sail Rock, Morgan Island and Black Rock, they total about 1.1 square kilometres in area. Mawson Peak and McDonald Island are the only two active volcanoes in Australian territory. Mawson Peak is one of the highest Australian mountains. Mawson Peak has erupted several times in the last decade.
The volcano on McDonald Island, after being dormant for 75,000 years, became active in 1992 and has erupted several times since, the most recent in 2005. Heard Island and the McDonald Islands have no harbours; the coastline is 101.9 kilometres, a 12-nautical-mile territorial sea and 200-nautical-mile exclusive fishing zone are claimed. The islands have an Antarctic climate, tempered by their maritime setting; the weather is marked by low seasonal and daily temperature ranges and low cloud cover, frequent precipitation and strong winds. Snowfall occurs throughout the year. Monthly average temperatures at Atlas Cove range from 0.0 to 4.2 °C, with an average daily range of 3.7 to 5.2 °C in summer and −0.8 to 0.3 °C in winter. The winds are persistently strong. At Atlas Cove, monthly average wind speeds range between around 33.5 km/h. Gusts in excess of 180 km/h have been recorded. Annual precipitation at sea level on Heard Island is in the order of 1,300 to 1,900 mm. Meteorological records at Heard Island are incomplete.
The islands are part of the Southern Indian Ocean Islands tundra ecoregion that includes several subantarctic islands. In this cold climate plant life is limited to grasses and mosses. Low plant diversity reflects the islands’ isolation, small size, severe climate, the short, cool growing season and, for Heard Island, substantial permanent ice cover; the main environmental determinants of vegetation on subantarctic islands are wind exposure, water availability, parent soil composition, salt spray exposure, nutrient availability, disturbance by trampling and altitude. At Heard Island, exposure to salt spray and the presence of breeding and moulting seabirds and seals are strong influences on vegetation composition and structure in coastal areas. Evidence from microfossil records indicates that ferns and woody plants were present on Heard Island during the Tertiary. Neither group of plants is present today, although potential Tertiary survivors include the vascular plant Pringlea antiscorbutica and six moss species.
Volcanic activity has altered the abundance of the vegetation. The vascular flora covers a range of environments and, although only six species are widespread, glacial retreat and the consequent connection of separate ice-free areas is providing opportunities for further distribution of vegetation into adjacent areas. Low-growing herbaceous flowering plants and bryophytes are the major vegetation components; the vascular flora comprises the smallest number of species of any major subantarctic island group, reflecting its isolation, small ice-free area and severe climate. Twelve vascular species are known from Heard Island, of which five have been recorded on McDonald Island. None of the vascular species is endemic, although Pringlea antiscorbutica, Colobanthus kerguelensis, Poa kerguelensis occur only