Alasdair McGregor 1984-85

Oil painting
Oil painting "Evening on Fairchilds Beach" Heard Island by Alasdair McGregor
Alasdair McGregor photographing artefacts inside Mawson's main hutAlasdair McGregor crests a snow bank at Cape Denison during the 1997 Mawson's Huts expedition

Alasdair McGregor was born in 1954 and studied architecture at the University of New South Wales, gaining an honours degree in 1979. Since the early 1980s he has devoted himself almost exclusively to self development as an artist, later also directing his energies to writing and photography.

In 1983 he co-organised an expedition to Heard Island, and has since visited the subantarctic islands and the Antarctic continent several times. He travelled as an Arts Fellow with the Australian Antarctic Division in the summer of 1984/85. He has also travelled extensively in the Pacific and Australia, especially in the Northern Territory, the Kimberley and coastal regions, continuing a commitment to the region's natural landscapes.

Between 1996 and 2001, Alasdair McGregor was artist and photographer for the AAP Mawson's Huts Foundation, taking part in three summer expeditions to Commonwealth Bay. In 2001 he curated a photographic exhibition for the Australian High Commission to Canada: A Century of Australians in Antarctica.

Alasdair McGregor has held numerous solo exhibitions and completed corporate and public commissions in Australia and overseas. His paintings are represented in both public and private collections.

He is the author of The Kimberley: Horizons of Stone, Australia's Wild Islands (both with Quentin Chester), Mawson's Huts: An Antarctic Expedition Journal, and has written a biography of renowned photographer, Frank Hurley.

Antarctic impression

"In 1982, sheer chance found me involved with a group of enthusiastic young adventurers hoping to realise their dreams and sail off to Heard Island. It might sound trite, but the resultant summer on the shores of that wild and magnificent place literally changed my life.

Again, happy circumstances intervened and a stamp design commission for Australia Post found me swept up in the excitement of joining an Australian Antarctic Division resupply voyage to Casey station. My Antarctic canvas was growing broader. I have now visited the region on six occasions, and twenty years after my first Antarctic experience, I am still thinking and dreaming of the place and expressing its impact on me in words and pictures.

When writing the conclusion for a 1999 magazine article, I looked back on two months spent at Mawson's Huts at CapeDension, attempting to understand Antarctica's lure:

As on my previous Antarctic encounters CapeDenison had me again pondering some large questions. Perhaps the unfathomable or the unknowable could be understood, even in some small way? The wild indifference and majesty of such a place as Antarctica emboldens one to dare to ask such unanswerable questions. Therein lies the ultimate stimulus for the artist in me."