On this day, 2nd December 1911, Douglas Mawson departed from Hobart at the start of his Antarctic Expedition.
Antarctic explorer, Douglas Mawson, was born on 5 May 1882, in Yorkshire, but his family emigrated to Australia in 1884. He studied geology at Sydney University and became a lecturer in petrology and mineralogy at the University of Adelaide in 1905.
In 1907, Mawson joined an expedition to Antarctica led by Ernest Shackleton, as a scientific officer, and was one of the first to ascend Mount Erebus and get close to the South magnetic pole. He was offered a place on Robert Scott’s Terra Nova expedition but turned it down to lead the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914, sailing on the “Aurora”.
On 2 December 1911, Mawson departed from Hobart on the “Aurora”, bound for Macquarie Island, 1500 kilometres south east of Tasmania and 1300 kilometres north of Antarctica. Here, he established a base before leaving on December 23 to explore the Antarctic continent.
These photographs from the State Library of New South Wales depict the departure of the Aurora from Hobart.