Story: Antarctica and New Zealand

Mawson expedition, Adélie Land

Mawson expedition, Adélie Land

Antarctic exploration was particularly challenging. The extreme cold and wind, the resulting need to live in very close quarters, and the limited resources available – seals for meat and water from melted ice were all that could be obtained – combined to test all those involved. A member of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–14, New Zealander Leslie Whetter, is shown here digging out ice next to the expedition's Adélie Land camp. Provision of water was Whetter's primary task, and one that expedition leader Douglas Mawson felt he did poorly: Whetter, he wrote, was not fit for exploration. Whetter told Mawson that the men were driven too hard, and that a number of them purposely worked slowly in order to avoid being given other tasks. After this, hours of work were reduced to six a day, and Sunday became a day of rest (unless the wind had dropped sufficiently to allow outside work to be done).

About this item

National Library of Australia
Reference: nla.pic-an23478538
Photograph by Frank Hurley

Permission of the National Library of Australia must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nigel Roberts, 'Antarctica and New Zealand - The heroic age of Antarctic exploration', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/37193/mawson-expedition-adelie-land (accessed 17 October 2017)

Story by Nigel Roberts, published 20 Jun 2012