Douglas Mawson

By Maddy

Sir Douglas Mawson was born on the 5th of May 1882 at Shipley, Yorkshire, England. He was the second son of Robert Ellis Mawson and Margaret Ann. The family moved to Rooty Hill, near Sydney, in 1884, when Douglas 2. Douglas was educated at Rooty Hill and at Fort Street Model School in Sydney. At the University of Sydney in 1899-1901 he studied mining and engineering and graduated in 1902 when he was appointed as a junior demonstrator in chemistry. The next year he took 6 months off to do extra study. He returned to further studies in geology in 1904, New South Wales.

In 1905 Mawson was appointed lecturer in mineralogy and petrology in the University of Adelaide. He immediately became interested in the glacial geology of South Australia. Also, he continued his interest in radioactivity.Sir Douglas Mawson was born on the 5th of May 1882 at Shipley, Yorkshire, England. He was the second son of Robert Ellis Mawson and Margaret Ann. The family moved to Rooty Hill, near Sydney, in 1884, when Douglas 2. Douglas was educated at Rooty Hill and at Fort Street Model School in Sydney. At the University of Sydney in 1899-1901 he studied mining and engineering and graduated in 1902 when he was appointed as a junior demonstrator in chemistry. The next year he took 6 months off to do extra study. He returned to further studies in geology in 1904, New South Wales.

In 1905 Mawson was appointed lecturer in mineralogy and petrology in the University of Adelaide. He immediately became interested in the glacial geology of South Australia. Also, he continued his interest in radioactivity.

He later died on the 14th of October, 1958 in Adelaide.

Country Of Origin

Douglas Mawson’s country of origin was Shipley, Yorkshire in England.

When He Migrated

Douglas Mawson migrated in 1884 to Sydney, Douglas was only two at the time.

What he achieved in Australia

In November 1907 (Sir) Ernest Shackleton, leader of the British Antarctic Expedition, he visited Adelaide on his way south. Mawson approached him with a view to making the round trip to Antarctica on the Nimrod. His idea was to see an existing ice-cap. After consulting with David, who had agreed to join the expedition, Shackleton telegraphed: 'You are appointed Physicist for the duration of the expedition'. Mawson accepted, and so began his long association with the Antarctic.

Although he recognized that Shackleton's prime aim of reaching the South Pole was considered essential to financing the expedition, he would have liked more opportunity offered to the scientists. Nevertheless, the scientists' achievements proved to be considerable and Mawson had good opportunities for glaciological and geological investigations.

In March 1908 Mawson was one of the first party, led by David, to climb Mount Erebus. Next summer David (who was the leader), Mackay and Mawson were the first to reach the vicinity of the South Magnetic Pole, hauling their sledges 1260 miles (2028 km); Mawson was responsible for the magnetic. The return was difficult because of exhaustion and shortage of food. David, aged 50, suffered badly and at his request Mawson assumed leadership. The journey almost ended in disaster: having reached their main depot two days late and hearing a rocket distress signal fired from the Nimrod, Mawson, while rushing towards the ship, fell into a crevasse. Help from the ship was required for his rescue.

Shackleton's confidence in Mawson led to his instructions: should his own expedition to the South Pole not return in time, Mawson was to lead a search party. David said in public tribute: 'Mawson was the real leader who was the soul of our expedition to the Magnetic Pole.’

Mawson returned to Adelaide in 1909.