Video collection

Frank Hurley speaks of his selection

Excerpt from Antarctica Pioneers (1962). Cinematography by Frank Hurley. © Australian Antarctic Division

Frank Hurley speaks of his selection

Video transcript

Frank Hurley: This happened half a century ago, and well do I remember the day back in 1911 when I applied to fill the vacancy of official photographer to the Mawson expedition. The Mawson expedition was the first Australian expedition to Antarctica and I think that everybody who carried a camera applied for that job. I had spent my teenage life in the steel works at Lithgow. I was a good mechanic and I had turned my hobby, photography, into my profession. I think the combination impressed Dr Mawson, for two days later he sent me a wire from Adelaide, "You are accepted." Now let us turn back the clock - the summer of 1911.

[end transcript]

Find out more: Selections

SY Aurora anchored at Commonwealth Bay

Cinematography by Frank Hurley. © Australian Antarctic Division

Find out more: Building the base

Unloading stores and equipment

Excerpt from Antarctic Pioneers (1962). Narration and cinematography by Frank Hurley. © Australian Antarctic Division

Unloading stores and equipment

Video transcript

Frank Hurley: As the weather was delightfully calm, no time was lost in lightering ashore hut timbers, stores and equipment.

[end transcript]

Find out more: Unloading - and a warning

Landing equipment at Cape Denison

Note the Vickers REP Aircraft in a packing case. Cinematography by Frank Hurley. © Australian Antarctic Division

Landing equipment at Cape Denison

Video transcript

Frank Hurley: It was to be our main shore base, from where sledging parties would go out east and west and south to carry on scientific work and explore the unknown.

[end transcript]

Find out more: Unloading - and a warning

First blizzard at the Hut

Excerpt from Antarctica Pioneers (1962). Cinematography by Frank Hurley. © Australian Antarctic Division

First blizzard at the Hut

Video transcript

Frank Hurley: We had scarcely got our hut up at the winter quarters, Cape Denison, when we had our first bad blizzard. Little did we imagine, when we landed in calm sunshine, that we had established ourselves in the most tempest-ridden spot on the face of the globe. We developed a technique of walking about, but any routine work beyond shelter became a struggle against tempest and frostbite. For the whole year the average wind velocity was 48.5 miles an hour. The worst day was in May, when the wind reached 90.1 miles continuously for an hour.

[end transcript]

Find out more: Temples to science

Mawson, Ninnis and Mertz depart Aladdin’s Cave

Excerpt from Mawson the Survivor (1982). © Australian Antarctic Division and the ABC

Mawson, Ninnis and Mertz depart Aladdin’s Cave

Video transcript

Ninnis: Mush! Mush! Mush! Mush! Mush! Mush! Hi-hike, hike, hike boys! Hike!

Mertz: Mush, mush, mush!

Ninnis: Hike boys, hike!

Mertz: Hike!

Ninnis: Right, right! Right boys! Right!

Mertz: Mush! Mush! Mush! Mush! Mush! Mush! Come on, come on dogs. Come on!

Mawson (narrating): Any doubts as to the capacity of the dogs to pull the loads were dispelled. And both Ninnis and Mertz are good men. It is unlikely that any harm will come to us.

[end transcript]

Find out more: Mawson’s fatal journey

Xavier Mertz sickens

Excerpt from Mawson the Survivor (1982). © Australian Antarctic Division and the ABC

Xavier Mertz sickens

Video transcript

Mawson (narrating): I think he has a fever. He doesn’t assimilate his food. Things are in a most serious state for both of us. If he can not go 8 to 10 miles in a day, we're doomed. His heart seems to have gone. It’s very hard to be within a hundred miles of the hut. and in such a position. It’s awful. If only I could get on, but I must stop with Xavier.

Mertz experiences a seizure.

[end transcript]

Find out more: The death of Mertz

Xavier Mertz buried

Excerpt from Mawson the Survivor (1982). © Australian Antarctic Division and the ABC

Xavier Mertz buried

Video transcript

[music]

[end transcript]

Find out more: Alone