[HASN logo] No. 35, December 1995 ISSN 0811-4757

Edited and published by Tim Sherratt (Tim.Sherratt@asap.unimelb.edu.au) for ASAP.


Mawson Museum Appeal

An appeal to honour one of Australia's greatest heroes is underway across the nation, jointly launched by the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Museum.

Sir Douglas Mawson's life followed the tradition of the world's legendary explorers - to venture into undiscovered country and to chart forbidding lands - to get there first, map the area and to bring back rare samples and specimens.

Mawson made his name in the forbidding Antarctic region, first as a scientific officer with Shackleton's expedition of 1907 which discovered the South Magnetic Pole and then as leader of the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition which charted 2000 miles of coast in a gruelling test of endurance which eventually claimed lives as the party tackled icebergs, avalanches and fierce weather.

The specimens and scientific studies of wildlife, geology and geography truly helped put Antarctica on the map as an invaluable sanctuary and resource.

It is this collection of 100 000 items which has come in from the cold, with its donation to the University of Adelaide by Mawson's family on the basis that it is available for study, research and is publicly displayed.

Original equipment, snow sledges, archives, outstanding expedition photographs - and even Mawson's favourite huskies (now somewhat less than frisky) - waiting to bring back to life the drama of Mawson, the explorer, scientist and man, in detail. The Adelaide University and the Museum have joined forces to ensure that the collection can get the exposure it deserves.

The appeal plans to raise $5 million over four years, with $3 million needed to secure the first stage of the collection's care and display. The entire collection will be preserved and made available for study at the University of Adelaide. Part of the collection will also be displayed at the Museum on North Terrace in a staged fashion. The ultimate aim is a permanent Mawson Gallery at the Museum.

Through these exhibitions, visitors to the Museum will be able to explore Mawson's Antarctic through interactive computer and video displays. The crackling of the icebergs, roar of avalanches and cries of seal and whale will echo back into the past with Mawson's diary and scientific entries.

He and his work will live again!

- From SAM, The Quarterly Newsletter of the South Australian Museum, Vol.2, No.4, July 1995.

Then Mawson appeal now has a WWW site, visit it at http://www.camtech.com.au/mawson/index.html

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