Ellsworth and Wilkins

Ellsworth and his pilot J. Lymburner on this expedition made a flight on January 11 1939, from which a canister was dropped at their farthest inland point that contained the following note.

To whom it may concern:

Having flown on a direct course from latitude 68:30 S, longitude 79:00 E, to latitude 72° S, longitude 79° E, I drop this record, together with the flag of the United States of America, and claim for my country, so far as this act allows, the area south of latitude 70° to a distance of 150 miles south of latitude 72° S, longitude 79° E which I claim to have explored, dated Jan. 11, 1939. Lincoln Ellsworth.

Australian Hubert Wilkins had other ideas and managed to get the ship to a point where he could get ashore also on January 11 and reassert Australia's prior claim whilst Ellsworth was making his flight.

Wilkins protected his claim note in a copy of the Australian Geographical Magazine Walkabout and left it in a canister along with a red ensign. The site has for generations of Australians that have gone south been known as Walkabout Rocks.

After Ellsworth arrived at Hobart, he publicly reasserted his claim to the territory over which he had flown and called "American Highlands" on January 11. Actually he increased the area involved in the claim from 80,000 square miles to 430,000 square miles. A claim immediately disputed by the Australian Government and Sir Douglas Mawson.

For full story about Lincoln Ellsworth

This page was last modified on 18 September 2009.