At home in Antarctica

The main base for the Australasian Antarctic Expedition was established at Cape Denison, in Commonweath Bay. The building was complete by early 1912 and the expeditioners, including Frank Hurley, took up residence.

Over the next 12 months, Hurley documented life in the hut. His record of the everyday and routine–work that supports any expedition is unique and rich, documenting a now superceded chapter of Antarctic life.

The Main Base (now known as Mawson’s Hut) was divided into two main spaces, the living quarters and the workshop. Hurley’s photographic darkroom was contained in the living quarters.

The men got along well together, tasks and routines were allocated, entertainments organised and plans made for future exploration and science-based activities. Special days, such as the traditional midwinter feast and party, and birthdays were celebrated, enhancing the bonds between the men.

Hurley produced a series of stereo negatives during the expedition, using a camera with twin lenses. Seen through a special viewer called a stereoscope, prints from these negatives appeared as three-dimensional ("3-D") images. However, in order to view these images in 3-D today, the left and right halves must be transposed.

>View the complete set of stereo negatives contained in the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914 : pictorial material

Series 02: Half-plate stereoscopic and postcard stereo negatives from the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914
1911-1914
Digital ID: 
a1887050
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Series 02: Half-plate stereoscopic and postcard stereo negatives from the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914
1911-1914
Digital ID: 
a1887053
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Australasian Antarctic Expedition Members: scenes inside living quarters, 1911-1914
1911-1914
Digital ID: 
a205001
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Australasian Antarctic Expedition Members: scenes inside living quarters, 1911-1914
1911-1914
Digital ID: 
a205002
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Australasian Antarctic Expedition Members: scenes inside living quarters, 1911-1914
1911-1914
Digital ID: 
a205003
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Bage repairing his sleeping bag in a corner of the Hut. Winter Quarters, Adelie Land
Frank Hurley
Digital ID: 
aae_36695
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Mertz leaving the Hut by the trapdoor on the verandah roof
Frank Hurley
Digital ID: 
a128096
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In the catacombs leading to the Hut at Cape Denison. Ninnis is the figure in the foreground
Frank Hurley
Digital ID: 
aae_36724
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Photograph of three men with partial ice masks taken in the doorway between the verandah and workshop
1911-1914
Frank Hurley
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Digital ID: 
aae_36830
An after-dinner confab. in Winter Quarters, Adelie Land
Frank Hurley
Digital ID: 
aae_36710
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Close trims Madigan's beard. Other figures, left to right; Close, ? with pipe, Madigan seated, Stillwell, McLean, Hunter & Murphy
Frank Hurley
Digital ID: 
aae_36642
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Washing up after dinner at the winter quarters, Cape Denison; left to right, Hunter Hodgeman, Bage
Frank Hurley
Digital ID: 
aae_36823
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Midwinter dinner menu

Midwinter in Antarctica is a special time. It marks the equinox and the slow return of the sun. The midwinter dinner of 22 June 1912 was a merry and harmonious celebration at Main Base. Walter Hannam and Francis Bickerton prepared the meal. Mawson wrote:

‘their menu de dinner to us was a marvel of gorgeous delicacies. After the toasts and speeches came a musical and dramatic programme, punctuated by choice choruses. The washing up was completed by all hands at midnight. Outside, the wind was not to be undone; it surpassed itself with an unusual burst of ninety-five miles per hour’

Charles Francis Laseron - Diaries, 21 Nov. 1911 - 24 Feb. 1913, kept while a member of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914, together with related papers, 1911 - ca. 12 Oct. 1912
1911-1913
Charles Francis Laseron
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Digital ID: 
a206001
Charles Francis Laseron - Diaries, 21 Nov. 1911 - 24 Feb. 1913, kept while a member of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914, together with related papers, 1911 - ca. 12 Oct. 1912
1911-1913
Charles Francis Laseron
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Digital ID: 
a206003
Charles Francis Laseron - Diaries, 21 Nov. 1911 - 24 Feb. 1913, kept while a member of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914, together with related papers, 1911 - ca. 12 Oct. 1912
1911-1913
Charles Francis Laseron
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Digital ID: 
a206004

Made possible through a partnership with the Graham & Charlene Bradley Foundation.