Percy E. Correll

AAE position: Mechanic, assistant physicist

Percy Edward Correll, a native of South Australia, was only 19 when Mawson granted him a place with the AAE. He had been a student of science at Mawson’s institution, the University of Adelaide.

Correll joined the AAE as a mechanic and an assistant physicist. He kept a low profile during most of the 1913 winter, except on one occasion when as night watchman he went missing, out in a fierce katabatic storm while fetching coal from the stack outside the main hut.

Frank Hurley had awoken to a cold hut, and after lighting the fire went out into the blizzard to look for him. Correll was discovered safe and well in a snowdrift 20metres from the hut, having lost his bearings in the blackness after being bowled over by the wind some two hours earlier.

Correll also became a specialist in clocks, tide gauges, theodolites and sledge meters. As Mawson recalled, his ‘perseverence and unlimited patience’ ensured the tide-gauge on the harbour ice supplied ‘a good series of unbroken records’.

Madigan, McLean and Correll made up the Eastern Coastal Party. The trio explored the Antarctic coast in the heavily-crevassed region to the east of Commonwealth Bay, across Mertz Glacier and beyond.

Corell’s Antarctic career covered three summers and a winter. During Aurora’s final cruise in 1913–14 he worked alongside Hurley as a photographer, recording the cruise using a leading-edge technique to obtain images in colour.