A glimpse into the lives of Mawson's men

Parliament House Antarctic exhibition (Photo: AAD)
Parliament House Antarctic exhibition (Photo: AAD)
Two men wearing woollen beanies and hunching to keep warm stare at the camera with weathered faces.Parliament House Antarctic exhibition (Photo: AAD)

14th March 2012

A rare glimpse into the daily lives of the men of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Sir Douglas Mawson a century ago, is on display in a photographic exhibition at Parliament House in Canberra.

The exhibition was officially opened today and features photographs taken by some of the original expeditioners Frank Hurley, Xavier Mertz and Frederick Gillies.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said the exhibition showcases the lives of the 32 men who lived in Antarctica and on Macquarie Island as part of the Expedition.

“The photographs transport you back 100 years to be part of the daily domestic rituals of the men, while highlighting the incredible challenges they faced living in such an extreme environment,” Mr Burke said.

“Mawson and his men were true pioneers of Antarctic science.

“The Expedition’s legacy continues to have a profound resonance today, through Australia’s world-leading science program and the continuing commitment by the Gillard Government to value, protect and understand Antarctica.”

Mawson’s Huts at Commonwealth Bay, where the crew stayed, is also showcased in the exhibition through photo essays from cameramen Peter Curtis and Dean Lewins who visited the site as part of the centenary commemorations held earlier this year.

The exhibition, curated by the Australian Antarctic Division, will be displayed in the Presiding Officers’ Exhibition Area, Parliament House, until 26 April.

There are several other Antarctic events in Canberra and around the country this month, as part of the centenary celebrations.

More information

Mawson's Men exhibition

Australasian Antarctic Expedition centenary website