More than a hundred years ago, the young Australian geologist Douglas Mawson embarked on a first Australasian Antarctic expedition. This expedition is deemed legendary for the resilience, physical endurance, loyalty and accomplishments of the crew.


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The Australasian Antarctic Expedition began in 1911. The objective was to investigate, as far as possible, a stretch of essentially unknown Antarctic coast. However this mission turned out to be fatal for 2 of Mawson's crew members. Belgrave Ninnis plummeted down a crevasse with a sledge carrying most of their supplies. Another crew member, Xavier Mertz, perished from exhaustion, starvation and possible toxicity from eating dogs' livers. Mawson's survival was a miracle, as he described it in his journals “Never have I come so near an end; never has anyone more miraculously escaped".

Despite the sacrifices that were made, the 3 years spent in sub-zero temperatures and extremely harsh winds didn't go to waste. The expedition managed to chart large segments of east Antarctic coastline and resulted in major contributions to the knowledge of the region. Furthermore, species on land and sea, previously unknown, were described for the first time. Mawson was hailed as a hero for his persistence, determination and bravery which contributed to the advancement of science.

Thanks to the photographer Frank Hurley and other crew members, we can witness this groundbreaking expedition through these astonishing photographs.

  More info: flickr

#1 Huskies Pulling Sledge

Huskies Pulling Sledge

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Megan O'Neill 4 months ago

It's interesting to see dogs from 100+ years ago. Breeding has changed the overall look of some dogs.

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#2 Blizzard, The Pup In Antarctica

Blizzard, The Pup In Antarctica

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Heather Vance 1 month ago

awww he's super cute!

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#3 Ice Cased Adelie Penguins After A Blizzard At Cape Denison

Ice Cased Adelie Penguins After A Blizzard At Cape Denison

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Pani Nimia 4 months ago

Look! I have a new vest!

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#4 Mushroom Ice Formation

Mushroom Ice Formation

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JillVille 4 months ago

Wow, this one is really cool!

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#5 Skeleton Of Sea-Elephant & Harold Hamilton

Skeleton Of Sea-Elephant & Harold Hamilton

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stellermatt 4 months ago

which one's which?

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#6 King Penguins, Antarctica

King Penguins, Antarctica

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Alib 4 months ago

Gorgeous!

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#7 Basilisk & Ginger At Main Base

Basilisk & Ginger At Main Base

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Alib 4 months ago

Pretty girls. Hope they stayed warm!

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#8 C.t. Madigan With An Ice Mask

C.t. Madigan With An Ice Mask

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Agnes Jekyll 4 months ago

I want more information!

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#9 Cavern Carved By The Sea In An Ice Wall Near Commonwealth Bay

Cavern Carved By The Sea In An Ice Wall Near Commonwealth Bay

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Sarah Kim 4 months ago

It's really crazy the patterns and formations that nature can do.

#10 Wreck Of The 'Gratitude' In Macquarie Island

Wreck Of The 'Gratitude' In Macquarie Island

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stellermatt 4 months ago

and it's cargo was a load of penguins!

#11 Sclater Penguin

Sclater Penguin

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Dark Half 4 months ago

happy feet

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#12 Photo Of The Crew Members

Photo Of The Crew Members

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Lizard Queen 4 months ago

Left to right: J.E. Maverick, R. W. Skullsplitter, O. G. McSassypants

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#13 A Radiant Turret Lit By The Midsummer Midnight Sun

A Radiant Turret Lit By The Midsummer Midnight Sun

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#14 Frozen Adelie Penguin, Antarctica

Frozen Adelie Penguin, Antarctica

State Library of New South Wales Report

Heather Vance 1 month ago

awww poor little guy.

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#15 A Dreamy Venice In Seal-Land

A Dreamy Venice In Seal-Land

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#16 F. Bickerton Looking Out Over Seas Near Commonwealth Bay

F. Bickerton Looking Out Over Seas Near Commonwealth Bay

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Alib 4 months ago

That icy edge looks precipitous! I think I'll stick to my explorations of sandy beaches.

#17 State Library Of New South Wales Follow Hamilton Hand-Netting For Macro-Plankton From Aurora

State Library Of New South Wales Follow Hamilton Hand-Netting For Macro-Plankton From Aurora

State Library of New South Wales Report

Kevin Donegan 4 months ago

The guy on the end of the plank drew the short straw that morning.

#18 Weddell Seal In Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Weddell Seal In Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica

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Alia G. 4 months ago

He/she looks like they weren’t ready for the photo

#19 Shags Defending Nest, Macquarie Island

Shags Defending Nest, Macquarie Island

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#20 The Air-Tractor

The Air-Tractor

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#21 Mertz Leaving The Hut By The Trapdoor On The Verandah Roof

Mertz Leaving The Hut By The Trapdoor On The Verandah Roof

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Lizard Queen 4 months ago

Fred Mertz was once a badass. Don't tell Ethel or Lucy.

#22 Arthur Sawyer & Sea Elephant Pup

Arthur Sawyer & Sea Elephant Pup

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#23 Australian Antarctic Expedition Members In The Kitchen

Australian Antarctic Expedition Members In The Kitchen

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Kevin Donegan 4 months ago

The guy sitting is barefoot ... One would think you would be covered head to toe 24/7.

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#24 Wild & Watson In Sleeping Bag Tent On Sledge Journey

Wild & Watson In Sleeping Bag Tent On Sledge Journey

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Netty Briggs 4 months ago

Is that Charlie Hunnam on the right?!

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#25 Victoria Penguin

Victoria Penguin

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#26 Frank Hurley Washing Cinematograph Film On The "Aurora"

Frank Hurley Washing Cinematograph Film On The "Aurora"

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Alib 4 months ago

Incredible!

#27 Female Sea-Elephant, Macquarie Island

Female Sea-Elephant, Macquarie Island

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Kerfuffle 4 months ago

"Oooomergawd, stop with the pictures Larry!!!"

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#28 Winter Quarters, Queen Mary Land Winter

Winter Quarters, Queen Mary Land Winter

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Crazy Cow Lady 4 months ago

looks warms and toasty

#29 Mawson Rests At The Side Of Sledge, Outward Bound On First Sledge Journey In Adelie Land

Mawson Rests At The Side Of Sledge, Outward Bound On First Sledge Journey In Adelie Land

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Debra Redford 4 months ago

He looks like he's really rethinking his choices!

#30 Start Of The First Depot Journey; "The Grottoes"

Start Of The First Depot Journey; "The Grottoes"

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seanemone 4 months ago

so sad... they must have eaten the dogs by the time this picture was taken. ... (jk! ... i hope)

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#31 In Full Sledging Gear On The Plateau

In Full Sledging Gear On The Plateau

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#32 State Library Of New South Wales Follow Aurora Traversing Loose Pack Ice Entering The Durville Sea

State Library Of New South Wales Follow Aurora Traversing Loose Pack Ice Entering The Durville Sea

State Library of New South Wales Report

#33 Bob Bage And J. Hunter At 65 Miles South

Bob Bage And J. Hunter At 65 Miles South

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#34 Bage In The Entrance To The Astronomic Observatory

Bage In The Entrance To The Astronomic Observatory

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#35 Young Sea-Elephants On The Beach, Macquarie Ilsand

Young Sea-Elephants On The Beach, Macquarie Ilsand

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#36 Madigan At The Rail & Mawson Stepping From The Rail Of The Aurora

Madigan At The Rail & Mawson Stepping From The Rail Of The Aurora

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#37 Unloading Supplies At Cape Denison

Unloading Supplies At Cape Denison

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