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.


Show Full Text

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 2 months ago

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

View More Replies...
View more comments

#4 Mushroom Ice Formation

Mushroom Ice Formation

State Library of New South Wales Report

JillVille 2 months ago

Wow, this one is really cool!

View more comments

#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 2 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

State Library of New South Wales Report

stellermatt 2 months ago

and it's cargo was a load of penguins!

#12 Photo Of The Crew Members

Photo Of The Crew Members

State Library of New South Wales Report

Lizard Queen 2 months ago

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

View More Replies...
View more comments

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

F. Bickerton Looking Out Over Seas Near Commonwealth Bay

State Library of New South Wales Report

Alib 2 months 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. 2 months ago

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

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

Mertz Leaving The Hut By The Trapdoor On The Verandah Roof

State Library of New South Wales Report

Lizard Queen 2 months ago

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

#23 Australian Antarctic Expedition Members In The Kitchen

Australian Antarctic Expedition Members In The Kitchen

State Library of New South Wales Report

Kevin Donegan 2 months ago

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

View More Replies...
View more comments

#27 Female Sea-Elephant, Macquarie Island

Female Sea-Elephant, Macquarie Island

State Library of New South Wales Report

Kerfuffle 2 months ago

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

View more comments

#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 2 months ago

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

View more comments