Pioneers in Antarctica

Australian scientists have been involved in exploring and researching our planet’s greatest wilderness since the beginning of exploration in Antarctica. Louis Bernacchi, a Tasmanian physicist, was among the first group of 10 men to endure the endless night of the Antarctic winter in 1899, and was also a member of Lieutenant Robert Scott’s Discovery expedition of 1902–1904.

The most famous Australian Antarctic scientist was the geologist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. Under the leadership of another Australian geologist, Professor Edgeworth David, Mawson made the first ascent of Mt Erebus, and in what is still described as one of the greatest manhauling trips of all time, reached the South Magnetic Pole.

Scientific and exporatory expeditions were made possible through the skilled and bold seamanship of Captain John King Davis, Clarence Petersen de la Motte and other Australians crewing aboard the vessels that carried expeditioners into the icy regions.