Organised another talk

Isobel Williams will present new findings on Edward Wilson’s life and work, based on her research. the talk was organised by me for the Antarctic Society, Canterbury branch.


Dr. Edward Wilson
Artist, naturalist, explorer and Scott’s confidant

When:   Wednesday, 8th March 2017, 6:30 pm

Where:  Psychology-Sociology Room 252,  (University of Canterbury)

Dr. Edward Wilson was with Robert F. Scott in the Antarctic twice. Wilson was a civilian scientist and artist and Scott was the navy officer and leader. Both developed a close friendship over the years. Five British men went to the South Pole and died on the way back, Wilson was one of them. Isobel will give a new insight in Wilson’s life and work based on her research.


Isobel Williams is qualified in medicine at St. George’s Hospital, London University. She got interested in Antarctic history whilst she was a junior doctor. After she retired, she visited Antarctica and became interested in Antarctic history and published a biography on Edward Wilson. Isobel got increasingly interested in the history of the “below-deck” seamen who kept the expedition going. This led to another publication of the biography of Chief Petty Officer Edgar Evans. She just finished a publication on William Speirs Bruce, the Scottish explorer. To learn more about Isobel’s work see her blog





AntSoc presentation: Oral History Program

New Zealand Antarctic Society

Oral History Program

Jacqui Foley

Tuesday 26th July, 6pm

Lecture theatre A4

You are invited to an interesting talk on the current Oral History Project of the Antarctic Society. Beginning in 1997, Jacqui Foley has interviewed most of the 48 members of different Antarctic expeditions, and their wives. The project gives a valuable insight into work and life in the Antarctic since the 1950s and the support these members received from their families.

Jacqui Foley is a freelance oral historian for more than 20 years. She works also for museums and trusts and is involved in several other history projects. Jacqui has received a number of Oral History awards. She lives in Tokarahi, North Otago.

All welcome


Book launch – Worsley enchanted

The book launch was a success! 20 people were there on a cold, windy and rainy evening, but it was a great atmosphere at the Naval Point Club in Lyttelton. Our treasurer, John (see picture) introduced Sue who lead through the evening. Lynda from the Akaroa Museum introduced the “young Frank Worsley”and Sue presented the journey in 1914-1917, especially the boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia. A great account to read next to the poem is “The great Antarctic Rescue. Shackleton’s Boat Journey” by Frank Worlsey himself. Even the title shows that Worsley kept Shackleton’s legacy alive and put himself in the background. The poem is a great way to give Worsley the credit he deserves.

18 Copies were sold and people not only like the poem, they love the line drawings by Myra Walton what ” brings the story very much alive” (quote of a buyer).

Marsden Fast Start Fund

To get a Marsden Fund is a lifetime opportunity for a researcher here in New Zealand. This year I was fortunate to get invited to submit a full proposal. After the fifth attempt, I made it into the second round! It was a lot of work before the submission. Many people supported me by discussing my ideas and helped me to find a way through it that in the end a proposal could be submitted. Now I have to wait for the comments of reviewers, can submit a response to it and at the end of October I will know then if I will have the chance to continue with my research on historic weather data and how early Antarctic explorer reacted to the extreme weather, and how their interactions, well-being, decision making, etc.  were influenced by the low temperature and strong winds.

Preliminary results, which I worked on supported with a COMNAP research fellowship in 2012/2013, are published in the latest issue of the The Polar Journal. This is the basis for the Marsden Fast Start Fund proposal.


The picture shows scientists from the Drygalski Expedition (1901-1903) taking ice temperature.


It was bad weather today and so the flight was cancelled. Maybe it is happening tomorrow;  that is life in the Antarctic! You have to deal with it!


This picture is from 1912 when Wilhelm Filchner (expedition leader) and his companion Alfred Kling (navigation officer) were traveling to examine the ice during the time when the ship Deutschland was frozen into the ice. Filchner is searching the horizon and at one of these journeys they proofed that Morrell Land was not existing. When I go, all the surrounding of Scott Base is known, and I hope to see it soon, maybe tomorrow… who knows…

Frank Worsley. Shackleton’s Fearless Captain

The Antarctic Society, Canterbury Branch

invites you to a special presentation on

Frank Worsley. Shackleton’s Fearless Captain. The biography of a true New Zealand hero


By John Thomson

When: Thursday, 11th December 2014, 6 – 8 pm
Where: University of Canterbury Staff Club
Ilam Homestead
87 Ilam Road
Christchurch 8041.

John Thomson is a New Zealand Journalist who spent 50 years with newspapers at home, in Australia, Britain and East Africa, as well as his national news agency. He lectured on Antarctic history at several cruises from South America to Antarctica. John Thomson will give a lecture on his newest publication and will sign copies during a social gathering at the Staff Club.

Drinks have to be purchased at the Staff Club (no BYO). Nibbles will be provided by the society.

Please, RSVP by Tuesday, 9th December 2014 to