25 September 2002
Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914
Frank HURLEY (1885-1962), Eric Norman WEBB and R. BAGE. A section from a wooden sledge runner, 10¾ x 3¾ x 1in. (27.5 x 9.5 x 2.9cm.), inscribed in ink 'Portion of Sledge Runner South Magnetic Pole Summer 1912-13 Party "Hoyle - F.J.[sic] Hurley "Bob" - R. Bage "Essie" - E.N. Webb'
Captain W. Thompson, Brisbane.
A fine memento: Hurley, Webb and Bage formed the Southern Party which left the expedition's camp at Cape Denison on 10 November 1912 with orders to 'march towards the South Magnetic Pole provided that the compass continued to indicate that it lay far from due south of Winter Quarters. In the event of the needle diverging much from due south, as they continued to the march, it was left to their discretion as to whether they should continue to the true South or towards the Magnetic South' (D. Mawson, The Home of the Blizzard, London: 1934, p.204). The party travelled to within 50 miles of the South Magnetic Pole, establishing a sledging record of 41 miles in a day.
'Our sledges were similar to those of other British Antarctic expeditions; of eleven- and twelve-foot lengths. The best were Norwegian, made of ash and hickory. Others built in Sydney, of Australian woods, were admirably suited for special work. A decking of bamboo slats secured by copper wire to the crossbars was usually employed' (D. Mawson, op.cit., p.114).
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