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Australian History

December 2, 1911 – Douglas Mawson departs Hobart to commence his Antarctic exploration


Sir Douglas Mawson and his Exploration Party

Sir Douglas Mawson and his Exploration Party

Australian Antarctic explorer, Douglas Mawson, was born on 5 May 1882, in Yorkshire, but his family emigrated to Australia in 1884.

He studied geology at Sydney University, and was appointed geologist to an expedition to the New Hebrides in 1903.

After this, he returned to Australia to become a lecturer in petrology and mineralogy at the University of Adelaide in 1905.

In 1907, Mawson joined an expedition to Antarctica led by Ernest Shackleton, as a scientific officer, and was one of the first to ascend Mount Erebus and get close to the South magnetic pole.

He was offered a place on Robert Scott’s Terra Nova expedition but turned it down to lead the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914, sailing on the “Aurora”.

On 2 December 1911, Mawson departed from Hobert on the “Aurora”, bound for Macquarie Island, a sub-antarctic island 1500 kilometres south east of Tasmania and 1300 kilometres north of Antarctica.

Here, he established a base before leaving on December 23 to explore the Antarctic continent.

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