The Spirit of Mawson - Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 - 2014

Australasian Antarctic Expedition

Category: Preparation

Sir Douglas Mawson c 1916

Back to the future: The Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 2013-2014

Posted by Chris - 16 August 2013

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 has been a long time in the making. I’m used to planning expeditions but this is on a whole different level. I should have seen it coming. There really is no excuse. After all, I’ve been immersed in the writings and plannings of earlier explorers who certainly faced one succession […]

Chris and Mat in Edwardian gear!

The first of the expedition gear arrives!

Posted by Chris - 17 August 2013

A major aspect of our expedition is making comparisons to Mawson’s venture a century ago. This isn’t just about looking at the scientific data collected a hundred years ago; we also want to explore how the clothing and equipment used by the intrepid scientists of yesterday stacks up against modern gear. Side by side, does […]

The air tractor in Antarctica (source: the Mitchell Library, Sydney)

Taking Flight

Posted by Chris - 25 August 2013

To maintain public interest in the original Australasian expedition south — and keep funds flowing — Douglas Mawson looked to Scott of the Antarctic’s motorised sledges for supporting work on the ice. After reviewing the designs of the vehicles in 1911 he regretfully concluded they would not do. Instead, Mawson thought flight might be a […]


Finding a path

Posted by Chris - 1 September 2013

Mawson’s expedition was a complete scientific exploration of what many suspected to be an entirely new continent, lying in the ‘Australian quadrant’. While exploring on the ice, the expedition vessel, the Aurora, would traverse the Southern Ocean collecting ocean and biological samples alongside depth soundings. Mawson was in no doubt about the importance of his […]

Shackleton's famous advert

PhD volunteers sought for Antarctic science and adventure

Posted by Chris - 9 September 2013

In 1913, the Anglo-Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton allegedly ran the following advert in The Times newspaper: Shackleton’s famous advert Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success. Although it seems unlikely this call was actually ever […]

Youtube logo

Fantastic response to call for Antarctic expeditioners

Posted by Chris - 15 September 2013

The Antarctic expeditions of old would routinely advertise for applicants to join them in the south. Exciting – and often wonderfully sensational – proclamations would be placed in the broadsheets, appealing to national sense of duty to scientifically explore the newly discovered continent in the Southern Ocean. Posting calls in the press helped team leaders […]

Tracey Rogers & Leopard Seal

The Science Program of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014

Posted by Chris - 23 September 2013

The original Australasian Antarctic Expedition produced the first comprehensive study of the vast region south of Australia and New Zealand. The three years’ worth of observations gleaned by Mawson and his men provide a precious dataset we can compare against today. Yet, in spite of a century of research, major research questions remain. Weighty policy […]

The Scott statue in Christchurch awaiting restoration

The Start of the Antarctic Science Season

Posted by Chris - 30 September 2013

On 11 February 1913 England woke to the Daily Mail headline ‘Death of Captain Scott. Lost with four comrades. The Pole reached. Disaster on the return.’ Just a day before, the press had reported that the British Antarctic expedition leader was back in New Zealand after succeeding in his goal to reach the South Geographic […]

Scientific exploration of Antarctica: Spreading the word

Putting the Team Together: A Call for Help

Posted by Chris - 8 October 2013

When planning an expedition, it’s essential you put together the strongest possible team, capable of achieving your goals. The challenge is to pick individuals who will get on under almost any circumstance; not something altogether easy from the comfort of a warm and sunny Sydney. Skill sets are one thing but an ability to get […]

The arrival of our shipping container

Packing Up

Posted by Chris - 23 October 2013

Against a backdrop of smoke-filled air and concern for family and friends in the Sydney bush, we spent last week packing our shipping container with scientific gear for Antarctica. The last month has been a scramble, with Chris and I ordering and receiving ever more equipment, talking to the media, negotiating with various officials – […]

A Polynesian fishhook dating back to the 14th century from the subantarctic Auckland Islands. 
See the real thing at the Southland Museum & Art Gallery, Invercargill, New Zealand.

History of Antarctic Exploration in 30 Objects: The Countdown Begins!

Posted by Chris - 29 October 2013

As a general rule, I loathe counting down to a big occasion. Following the passing hands of a clock is not something you would naturally associate with keeping people calm. So when Monday arrived it was with some little trepidation. 30 days before the departure of the expedition would the anxiety levels perceptibly rise? Might […]

An elephant seal in the sub-Antarctic

Win a trip to the New Zealand sub-Antarctic islands!

Posted by Chris - 10 November 2013

Bringing the Antarctic a little closer to home is a major reason for the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014. You can get involved in all manner of ways. For those keen to have a hand in the science programme and join us in the south, berths are for sale. Working with Commonwealth Bank as sponsors of […]


Final Preparations

Posted by Chris - 23 November 2013

I am sitting in Dubai, waiting to catch my flight back home. Looking out of the airport window, the sandy landscape blurs with the skyline, dissipated by the high temperatures outside. It’s the antithesis of where I’ll be in one week’s time. Instead of blistering heat, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 will be departing from […]