No Antarctic leader of his generation was as attuned to the potential of new technology as Mawson. He lived in an exciting time — heavier-than-air flying machines were less than a decade old, as was long-distance wireless communication. Black-and-white photography was a mature art, but colour photography was taking its first tentative steps, and cinema was a rapidly-developing industry with enormous potential as a publicity vehicle.

Besides using all these technologies, the AAE adopted state-of-the-art equipment and techniques for sampling waters of the ocean and sounding its depths. The technology did not always work as planned — the aircraft was a failure and the wireless largely ineffectual — but there were enough successes to endorse Mawson’s vision and justify his pioneering effort.