The object of this book is to present a connected narrative of the expedition from a popular and general point of view. The field of work is a very extensive one, and I feel that this account provides a record inadequate to our endeavours. However, I am comforted by the fact that the lasting reputation of the expedition is founded upon the scientific volumes which will appear in due course.
Allusion to the history of Antarctic exploration has been reduced to a minimum, as the subject has been ably dealt with by previous writers. This, and several other aspects of our subject, have been relegated to special appendices in order to make the story more readable and self–contained.
A glossary of technicalities is introduced for readers not familiar with the terms. In the same place is given a list of animals referred to from time to time. There, the common name is placed against the scientific name, so rendering it unnecessary to repeat the latter in the text.
The reports handed to me by the leaders concerning the work of sledging journeys and of the respective bases were in the main clearly and popularly written. Still it was necessary to make extensive excisions so as to preserve a “balance” of justice in all the accounts, and to keep the narrative within limits. I wish to assure the various authors of my appreciation of their contributions.
Mr Frank Hurley’s artistic taste is apparent in the numerous photographs. We who knew the circumstances can warmly testify to his perseverance under conditions of exceptional difficulty. Mr AJ Hodgeman is responsible for the cartographical work, which occupied his time for many months. Other members of the expedition have added treasures to our collection of illustrations; each of which is acknowledged in its place.
To Dr AL McLean, who assisted me in writing and editing the book, I am very greatly indebted. To him the book owes any literary style it may possess. Dr McLean’s journalistic talent was discovered by me when he occupied the post of editor of the ‘Adélie Blizzard', a monthly volume which helped to relieve the monotony of our second year in Adélie Land. For months he was constantly at work, revising cutting down or amplifying the material of the story.
Finally, I wish to express my thanks to Dr Hugh Robert Mill for hints and criticisms by which we have profited.
London, Autumn 1914