A young Douglas Mawson was part of Shackleton’s Nimrod expedition in 1907 as a geologist. He was in the small party that were the first to reach the South Magnetic Pole. Fixated with Antarctica and the potential discoveries, Mawson organised an Australian venture.
Mawson's Australasian Antarctic expedition (AAE) established two bases. One was located at Commonwealth Bay and the other at Shackleton Ice Shelf. The expedition explored the extensive coast near the bases and claimed land as British territory.
The planning, financing and crewing of this expedition can be read in detail at the Australian Antarctic Division’s Home of the Blizzard. This website was established to honour the centenary of the AAE.
The AAE has joined the ranks of legendary expeditions. They showed tenacity of spirit, physical endurance and loyalty. These accomplishments were achieved under profoundly difficult circumstances.
It is hard to imagine today just what a leap into the unknown Mawson was taking.The huge store of scientific knowledge the expedition produced continues to impress. Mawson was a committed scientist and excellent leader. He also had the foresight to introduce radio to Antarctica, to report weather phenomena.
In 1929–1931 further extensive claims to sovereignty were made. Douglas Mawson also led this expedition. This was known as the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE).