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

State Library of New South Wales Report

Megan O'Neill 1 week ago

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

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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

State Library of New South Wales Report

Sarah Kim 5 days ago

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

#12 Photo Of The Crew Members

Photo Of The Crew Members

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Lizard Queen 6 days 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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McPhilips 6 days ago

Some types of these old photo plates were able to capture so much detail an such a high resolution that the pictures almost looked three dimensional.

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

F. Bickerton Looking Out Over Seas Near Commonwealth Bay

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Alib 1 week ago

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

#18 Weddell Seal In Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Weddell Seal In Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica

State Library of New South Wales Report

Alia G. 3 days ago

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

#23 Australian Antarctic Expedition Members In The Kitchen

Australian Antarctic Expedition Members In The Kitchen

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Kevin Donegan 5 days ago

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

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

Start Of The First Depot Journey; "The Grottoes"

State Library of New South Wales Report

seanemone 5 days ago

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

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