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



NSC Deep South

I submitted my report for the NSC DS. I assessed 46500 images of logbooks, registers, and correspondence to gather weather information. The oldest logbook was from 1770 and the youngest from 1887. The material was partly very poor quality what made the reading challenging. However, there was some information useful for the project. It was an interesting research. I assessed many convict ships on their way to Australia. Gives one an interesting insight of populating the continent by the Europeans.

The next stage is the search for more logbooks here in NZ. Some archives, museums and libraries have material but many I contacted have no logbooks in their collections. That means: searching harder to find what we need.

One little example of the images I worked with:


Worsley enchanted


Frank Worsley

A poem with the title  “Worlsey enchanted” was published by Douglas Stewart in 1948. It tells the story of the epic journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia  1914-1917. The Antarctic Society has republished the book with beautiful line drawings by Myra Walton (Secretary of the National Council of the Society).

A book launch is organised by the Canterbury Branch of the Antarctic Society at

Naval Point Club, Lyttelton, Dampier Bay

Thursday, 26th may 2016, 5:30 – 7pm

Book price: $ 15 (Cash bar available).


Somerfield School

Thanks to Angus (in the picture left with the book) and Ethan (on the right), 2 bright year 5 pupils from Somerfield School, Christchurch, I had the opportunity to talk about Antarctic history.

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I was invited by the pupils and their teachers to give them information on Robert Falcon Scott for their project on leadership and heroes. Scott is their first character they work on, but I have seen some other heroes on their pin board such as Edmund Hillary. It would be interesting what they find out about him. I got also an certificate as thank you for my presentation. The children were already well prepared what they wanted to know. They collected their thoughts on a mind map and I am glad that my presentation matched their expectation.


77 children participated, were communicative and had very interesting questions. It was inspiring.

It was a great event with wonderful young people.


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Back from the Antarctic


Open sea on the way to Antarctica

It is now one month that we have been to the Antarctic. New impressions shaped my picture of Antarctica. But now is time to concentrate on writing and the “normal” work again.

I will submit another Marsden Fast Start proposal and work already on that.

I have started to work as part time employed subcontractor for NIWA for the National Science Challenge. I assess logbooks and have to catalog them for the weather modeling system which is a focus from that project. Logbooks are a valuable source of information on social conditions on board and data such as weather conditions. The material I have to work with are logbooks which were traveling to Australia and New Zealand. I started with the systematic search for data and learned already a vast amount about ships, what happened in the colonies and many more details. The first set of data is dated from the 1840s on.

Another work I will finish soon is a book chapter for the Routledge handbook for Polar Regions. I wrote in a former post about it, but I am close to finish the first draft. Exploring and mapping Antarctica is the theme of my chapter. It is exciting to work on that and it will bring new insight into the history of Antarctic exploration.


Crater Hill in the Antarctic with a wind turbine for Scott Base

Antarctic Society

I am the current chair of the NZ Antarctic Society, Canterbury Branch. NZAS_logo

We had already good events this year and two of the highlights were the Midwinter Dinner (26 June 2015) in Christchurch and the presentation from Jacquie Foley at the Canterbury Historical Association on the Oral History Project of the Antarctic Society (14 July 2015). What us all connected in the society is our passion for the Antarctic …. and there are many topics, themes, events, actions what keeps the interest alive: History, Personal Experience, Arts, Climate Change, Marine Protected Areas, COMNAP, SCAR, Research, and much more.

The picture below is from my first trip to the Antarctic as tutor for PCAS last year:

Pressure Ridges – Scott Base, 18th December 2014

Antarctic, 2014

Antarctic, 2014

New Publication

A new publication of mine is out!

Von der Antarktis nach Sibirien. Biographische Stationen eines oesterreichischen Polarforschers; in : Oesterreich in Geschichte, Literatur  und Geographie, 1/2015, pp56-69. The article is based on a talk I gave in June 2014 at the Institut fuer Oesterreichkunde. The article is accessible  as a scanned version:  OEGL_Artikel_2015

I submitted the article few days before I left to the Antarctic. It is a strange feeling that I have been to this fantastic place where all these people were before me and now I write about them.

Mt. Erebus December 2015

Mt. Erebus December 2014

The talk was on biographical snapshots of Felix Koenig – and this is now published. Unfortunately it is only available in German. Other publications on Koenig, with a different focus are available under: Koenig_article_PolarJournal and  Koenig_ant.mag_2014

Felix Koenig in his igloo (1912)

Felix Koenig in his igloo (1912)