The Forgotten Expedition

The Forgotten Expedition (continued)


The Southern Cross in the Pack Ice  circa 1899 (credit D Vogt Collection, Canterbury Museum)
The "Southern Cross" returned to collect them on 28th January 1900 and with all back on board it departed 5 days later.  Before heading north they made a brief exploratory voyage further south where they discovered a bay (later named the Bay of Whales) that was to be used by Roald Amundsen  for  his base in the race for the South Pole.  The first news of their return to civilisation was sent by telegram from Bluff, New Zealand on 1st April 1900.

The expedition however had not been without incident.  During the winter the Norwegian biologist, Nicolai Hanson died of a stomach ailment that was never diagnosed with certainty.  He therefore has the doubtful honour of having the first grave on the continent. 

Climbing the Glaciers of South Victoria Land March 1899. (Credit: L Bernacchi Collection, Canterbury Museum)
The expedition suffered several near disasters; one occurred when a candle set alight to some curtains and the hut almost burned down and another when 3 of the men were almost asphyxiated by a carbon monoxide build up in the hut while the others were away on a sledging expedition.  Sledging teams also experienced several serious incidents.

Twelve years later, in 1912 Cape Adare was chosen by the Northern Party (part of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's National Antarctic [Terra Nova] expedition) as a base for geological studies.  The expedition, which had only limited success, built another prefabricated hut close to Borchgrevink’s but this was not able to withstand the severe weather conditions and eventually collapsed.  It now lies in ruins which is a tribute to the construction of the Norwegian huts.

The Northern Party (members of Scott's Terra Nova Expedition), 1911. Back Row L to R: Abbot, Dickason, Browning. Front Row L to R: Priestley, Campbell and Levick (Credit Scott Polar Research Institute)

After this little is known about visits to the site until about 1950 but it was probably visited by whalers and sealers before this time.  It was not until the current era of Antarctic exploration beginning with the International Polar Year in 1957 that the historic values of this (and other sites in the Ross Sea area) began to be recognised.

To read more about this expedition and the other historic sites around Cape Adare click here to purchase Icy Heritage, an Antarctic Heritage Trust publication.




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Cape Adare
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Cape Adare
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