Exhibition follows in the footsteps of Shackleton

Published 7 November 2018
Dogs and dogloos beside the trapped Endurance 720 x 475 Dogs and dogloos beside the trapped Endurance, with meteorological station at its stern, 1915, Frank Hurley photographer, courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Shackleton: Escape from Antarctica panel display opens on 10 November at the Solitary Islands Aquarium, National Marine Science Centre, Coffs Harbour.

It’s one of the greatest survival stories of all time and now, more than 100 years later, a new panel display on tour from the Australian National Maritime Museum invites visitors to walk in the footsteps of famous Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Shackleton: Escape from Antarctica brings together first-hand accounts and dramatic images by official expedition photographer, Australian Frank Hurley, to tell the compelling story of Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-17.

The display opens on Saturday, 10 November, 2018, in the Solitary Islands Aquarium at Southern Cross University's National Marine Science Centre at Coffs Harbour. It runs until 16 December.

Sir Ernest Shackleton set out in August 1914 with a bold plan to be the first to cross Antarctica’s vast interior. His strategy was to have two parties working from opposite sides of the continent. He would lead the Weddell Sea crossing party, while a Ross Sea supply party would lay critical rations ahead of him.

Both ships were ultimately lost, and while Shackleton’s party would never even touch the continent they hoped to cross, the other was marooned on it, desperately sledging across hundreds of kilometres of ice to lay depots for the party that would never come.

Through the eyes of modern-day adventurer Tim Jarvis AM, who re-enacted parts of Shackleton’s journey, and biologist and Shackleton fellow Mel Mackenzie, the display follows the harrowing experiences of both parties and asks visitors to think about their reactions and decisions.

"The Shackleton expedition is an amazing story on a number of levels, firstly as a feat of extraordinary human endurance and also from a scientific perspective because research was being carried out the whole time," said Mr Stephan Soule, Community Outreach and Education Program Manager at Southern Cross University's School of Environment, Science and Engineering.

"Even after being rescued, Shackleton was still collecting data and that research imperative continues today with Australian scientists among the international cohort stationed in Antarctica.

"The exhibition offers insight into what Shackleton and his men went through, just to survive.

"Interestingly, Frank Hurley's daughter Adelie, who became a successful photographer in her own right, retired to Coffs Harbour in 1983, and was later joined by her widowed identical twin sister Toni Mooy Hurley. Both have since passed away."

Coinciding with the exhibit, the National Marine Science Centre will hold its bi-monthly Marine Discovery Series Lecture on Thursday, 15 November 2018, from 6.30-7.30pm.

This free event features guest speaker Rod Simpson, a former NMSC Director and zoologist with the Australian Antarctic Division, who will highlight his Antarctic research.

Media contact: Jessica Nelson 0417288794, scumedia@scu.edu.au