The first buildings and first wintering over on the continent
The wealthy British publisher Sir George Newnes then contributed £40,000 for him to lead a private expedition. He quickly purchased the 521 ton ship “Pollux” that he renamed the “Southern Cross” and he left London in August 1898 as leader of the “British Antarctic Expedition 1898 – 1900” which is perhaps better known as the “Southern Cross expedition”.
The ship went too far west and was delayed in the pack ice on the way south but on the 16th February 1899 they
It took 10 days to unload their buildings and supplies onto the shingle promontory below the cliffs where they established their base that Borchrevink called “Camp Ridley” - his mother’s maiden name.
The shore party of 10 men and 75 sledge dogs quickly discovered that the site was also one of the windiest and exposed on the continent but with winter rapidly approaching they could not relocate so Cape Adare became the site of first the wintering over in Antarctica.
Two huts, prefabricated in Norway by Strømmen Trævarefabrikk, were erected for accommodation and storage and these became the first structures ever built on the Antarctic mainland.
These huts now make Antarctica the only continent on the globe where the buildings of the first human inhabitants still stand.
The expedition members included; 7 Norwegians of which 2 were Samis, 2 Englishmen and an Australian. Their objectives were largely scientific and they also hoped to locate the South Magnetic Pole. They planned that from Cape Adare they could climb up to the polar plateau and travel further south but unfortunately their chosen location was isolated by a high mountain range and unsafe sea ice so the extent of their exploration was greatly restricted and this limited some of their planned studies and discoveries.