Hurley's request to join the AAE

 

When Hurley heard of Douglas Mawson’s need for a skilled photographer for the planned Australasian Antarctic Expedition, he immediately applied and made time to see Mawson and plead his case despite his inexperience.

Transcript: 
29th Septr/1911 Dr Mawson, Commander Antarctic Expedition, Dear Sir. I am desirous of offering my services as photographer and kinematographer to the expedition. Have had over II (eleven)years practical experiencein every branch and have given considerable time to scientific research in photo-micrography and Natural History. My work is well known throughout Australasia and I have much pleasure in mentioning as references Mr J.J.Rouse, Aust KodaK Ltd:Mr John Harrington, Harringtons Ltd:Mr LeSeouf,Royal Zoological Society: Mr Hallman,Museum: Mr R H Branguin Sydney TechnicalCollege: or in fact any of the leading amateurs or professionals of Sydney. I an 26 Years of age and unmarried,and have had a good share of "roughing it ". At present I have a large commercial Photographic business and have much pleasure in inviting you to my rooms to see my work. As I have a very keen interest in the expedition and its object, I am prepared to offer my services absolutely free and any competitive arrangement I shall be pleased to submit to. Also hold Sydney Tech College,Honors certificates for Electrics . Over
Correspondence of Douglas Mawson, 29 September - 16 October 1911, no date View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a259001
Transcript: 
I need scarcely add that in the interests of science and love of photographic art no diligent perseverance, thought and originality would be lacking to ensure success in my department, Yours fthlly, J F Hurley
Correspondence of Douglas Mawson, 29 September - 16 October 1911, no date View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a259002

 

Permission denied by his mother

Hurley’s attempts to join his first expedition, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914, were nearly blocked by his anxious mother.

Mrs Hurley wrote to Douglas Mawson, then organising his expedition south, explaining that her son was ill with a lung complaint and therefore not fit to join the expedition. In response to Mrs Hurley's plea Mawson asked Hurley to have a medical examination. Hurley passed the examination and sent Mawson an official medical certificate proving his fitness for the expedition.

As Official Photographer

On 20 October 1911 Mawson wrote to Hurley officially offering him a position on the Expedition team with the following conditions.

'You will have to conform to the regulations of the Expedition before leaving Hobart. This includes the fact that all photographs taken during the currency of the Expedition shall be copyright of the Expedition but shall always be published with the name of the photographer subscribed. It will be necessary for us to make use of these photographs at the expiration of the expedition in order to raise the necessary funds to meet liabilities.'

As part of the agreement Hurley's travel expenses to Hobart would be covered by the Expedition and all equipment supplied. On his return in April 1913 Hurley was promised ₤300.

Many weeks were spent preparing the equipment for the expedition. The photographic supplies included 48 dozen glass-plate negatives of assorted sizes with sensitised papers, 17,000 feet of film, a stereocamera and numerous standard cameras.

Packing & apportioning stores; Queen's Wharf, Hobart
Frank Hurley
Digital ID: 
a128115
View collection item detail
Hurley washing cinematograph film after development in the Antarctic on board the "Aurora"
Frank Hurley
Digital ID: 
a128174
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Made possible through a partnership with the Graham & Charlene Bradley Foundation.