Homecoming: Introduction

In their own words

On February 26 we gazed on distant cliffs of rock and earth — Kangaroo Island — and the tiny cluster of dwellings round the lighthouse at Cape Borda. Then we entered St. Vincent’s Gulf on a clear, hot day, marvelling at the sandy-blue water, the long, flat mainland with its clumps of trees and the smoke of many steamers.

— Mawson, Home of the Blizzard

As the Aurora drew near her berth we saw that the shore was white with people. The temperature was high in the eighties and many of the men stood in their shirt sleeves, while the women wore light skirts and blouses, with big wide hats, and carried gaily-coloured parasols. A heaving line flaked through the air and fell upon the forecastle-head. Then the cheering broke out. As the mooring lines were drawn ashore and secured to the bollards, the cheers rang out louder and louder. In a moment one could hardly hear the pilot saying, ‘Tell the Mate to make her well fast. That’ll do the engines.’ Then I turned to Blair upon the forecastle, having to use a megaphone in order to be heard above the noise, ‘Vast heaving! And make fast!’ We were home.

— J K Davis, High Latitude

Life on this ship seemed very good after the hut, there were so many people to talk to and such a lot to say, but Adelaide, South Australia, was better still.

— Frank Bickerton, BBC interview, 17 March 1927

The welcome home — the voices of innumerable strangers — the hand-grips of many friend — it chokes one — it cannot be uttered!

— Mawson, Home of the Blizzard

They looked so thin, their faces were so hollow and their eyes so deep sunken …

— From an unattributed press clipping in Paquita’s scrapbook, March 1914