National Archives of Australia

Radio telegram from Douglas Mawson to Professor Edgeworth David

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Title: Radio telegram from Douglas Mawson to Professor Edgeworth David
Date: 1913
Notes:

A close friend and mentor, Professor Edgeworth David led a team of himself, Douglas Mawson and Dr Alistair Forbes Mackay that first located the approximate position of the south magnetic pole, during the 1907–09 British Antarctic expedition led by Ernest Shackleton.

Keywords: Antarctica, exploration, Mawson, Aurora, Antarctic
Record creator: Postmaster General's Department
Reference: MP341/1, 1915/2307

Radio telegram from Douglas Mawson to Professor Edgeworth David

Radio telegram from Douglas Mawson to Professor Edgeworth David

Radio telegram from Douglas Mawson to Professor Edgeworth David


Transcript:

Form 2 – Received Message Form
RADIO TELEGRAM
Forwarding Charge – Deld. Date: 3 March 1913.
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA
DEPARTMENT OF POSTMASTER-GENERAL
PREFIX: 2 CODE: - WORDS: 218
OFFICE OF ORIGIN: Winter Quarters
SERVICE INSTRUCTIONS: Aust. Antarctic Expedition Commonwealth Bay Antarctica
TO: Professor David Sydney
OFFICE RECEIVED FROM: MQI (Macquarie Island)
TIME RECEIVED: 11:35
BY WHOM RECEIVED:
MESSENGER:
TIME SENT OUT:
BY WHOM SENT:

Aurora arrived January thirteenth all sledging parties returned hut by January seventeenth excepting my party Lieut Ninnis Dr Mertz and myself on December fourteenth whilst exploring new coast line three hundred miles south east of winter quarters Ninnis with one dog team and almost all the food disappeared into an unfathomable crevasse Mertz and I with inadequate provisions and six starving dogs struck out over the plateau for the hut encountering unexpectedly bad weather retarding our progress we subsisted chiefly upon the dogs on January seventh Mertz died from causes arising from malnutrition on february seventh I arrival at hut six men are here with me at the hut left to prosecute search namely Madigan Bage Mclean Bickerton Hodgeman and Jeffryes the Aurora intends to return from the west and is expected in a few days when an attempt will be made to get off but on account of heavy winds we are unlikely to get off regular wireless communication may be expected in future please communicate to Daily Telegraph Douglas Mawson.

Learning content

This radio telegram was sent by Douglas Mawson to his friend Professor Edgeworth David on 3 March 1913. Mawson returned from a gruelling sledge expedition that claimed the lives of his two companions, struggling through blizzards back to base camp alone on the brink of death only hours after the Aurora had left. In this radiogram, he describes the struggle he faced and the extreme conditions he had experienced. He had hauled himself out of crevasses, slaughtered his dog team to survive and trekked uncharted expanses of Antarctica.

Educational value

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