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 www.isobelpwilliams.com.
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).
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
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.
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.
I delivered my lecture on Antarctic History yesterday evening – at Scott Base. Some people from Scott Base attended the lecture and of course all the PCAS students. It was good to have the tour through the Discovery Hut the day before, so I could refer to the location quite often. I compressed my lecture from a three hour to a one and a half hour one. That worked quite well and it was very helpful that we had the exercise already in the field. My lecture was recorded by Anthony Powell and I am looking forward how he will integrate parts of it in his new documentary.
Today I gave 3 tours in the Discovery Hut at Hut Point. It was very cold in there. It is hard to imagine how the Ross Sea Party members could live there for 2 month with the little equipment that was available to them, with the scurvy they endured during their long support sledge parties in 1915-16. We were all in our warm gear and were comfortably layered, but these men had only insufficient clothing, no heating and did not know if they would ever be rescued. Their achievements are not recognised enough and I hope I could make our students more aware that also others than Scott and Shackleton have endured hardships.
Discovery Hut 3 January 2016
This picture is from last year, this year there was much more in the hut. All the restored and preserved artefacts were back and the impressions were much more intense for me than last year. It was somewhat of familiar but also very new this year. I am really privileged with my second chance to see the hut.
Tomorrow is another departure to the Antarctic. At 8:30am is reporting time at Antarctica NZ and I hope all goes to plan. Another PCAS course is going down and I am the History Tutor this year again. I hope the Discovery hut is furnished again (not like last year, when all was under conservation work) so that the students get a better idea of the conditions 100 years ago.
History lecture in the Discovery Hut, Dec. 2014; courtesy: James Stone
I will also deliver my lecture on Antarctic History at Scott Base.
The 21 quilts (see previous note) for the exhibition are also ready to go and I hope many people at Scott Base will see them and that also people from McMurdo will come along and have a look and maybe participate at the viewer’s choice.
I will post more at Scott Base and hope it will be that exciting than last year’s event.