My talk was on the race to the South Pole in its historical context. The title “We took risks. We knew we took them” from a quote from Scott’s diary, should show the audience that it was a risky business (and is still today) in exploring the Antarctic and that the early explorers were well aware of that. The historical context is often overlooked. The economic, political and scientific aims at going South were strongly linked with each other and I wanted to demonstrate this on several examples related to the “race”.
The event on Wednesday started with a movie about the Amundsen expedition and was followed by my talk. There were over 100 people in the audience and they got very engaged in the discussion afterward.
The Norwegian Honorary Consul General, Graeme Mitchel, thanked me at the end of the evening and presented a beautifully handcrafted polar bear of clear glass that looks like a piece of clear ice.
On 12 April the Antarctic Society Canterbury branch, the Canterbury Museum and the Lyttelton Museum Society celebrated two important birthdays. Baden Norris, the founder of the Lyttelton Museum, gets 90 years old on Sunday, 16 April. He is a “walking encyclopedia” in Antarctic history matters. Baden and his teams saved the historic huts in the Antarctic in the 1960s and he was long time curator of the Antarctic collection at the Canterbury Museum – what he is still doing on a volunteer basis.
The other birthday-boy is Alex McFerran. At the very day as Baden he will celebrate his 95th birthday. He overwintered at Scott Base in 1970 – 1971 as electrician and dog handler. At this time his colleagues and he were digging out the Hillary tractor and repaired it and brought the vehicle to Scott Base. The tractor is now on display at the Canterbury Museum. in 1974 – 1975 he overwintered at Campbell Island and was involved in erecting and maintaining the meteorological station there. For his achievements in the Antarctic and his long time membership in the Antarctic Society, Canterbury branch, he was awarded with the life-membership.
It is always amazing meeting these people and hear their stories about the days in the Antarctic. Both men’s experiences in the Antarctic are recorded via the NZAS Oral History project. A wonderful source for current and future historians.
Alex McFerran receives his life membership certificate
Alex McFerran and Baden Norris at their birthday event
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.
A request from a young man from Somerfield School lead to an invitation to give a presentation on Robert Scott. On 17 May I will meet 77 pupils (10 years old) who want to know the story of Robert Scott. I am looking forward to it.
A new article is out: “‘Blizzard blowing again and considerable discomfort on board as usual.’ Personal accounts of weather as scientific data, and the weather’s influence on expedition members during the Heroic Age”
It is not allowed that I put the link on that page – so when someone wants to read the article, please go to “The Polar Journal” and search the latest issue (June 2015). from here you can download then the text as pdf. Sorry for that hassle, but the access to my article on Felix Koenig has been blocked and the link in my post is not working.