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Douglas Mawson

Sir Douglas Mawson, Antarctic explorer, was born at Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1882, but was brought up in Australia, where he was educated at Sydney University. After taking up an academic career, he was appointed geologist to an expedition to the New Hebrides in 1903, and subsequently became a lecturer at Adelaide University.

In 1907, Mawson joined an expedition to Antarctica led by Ernest Shackleton, as a scientific officer, and was one of the first to ascend Mount Erebus and get close to the South magnetic pole. Having turned down an invitation to join Robert Falcon Scott's last fatal expedition, Mawson led his own party into King George V Land[?] and Adelie Land in 1911. A disastrous turn of luck led to his enduring several weeks alone with minimal supplies, after the loss of his companions, and on his return he was too late to be picked up by ship and was forced to remain in Antarctica until early 1914.

On his return, he married Paquita Delprat and was knighted, but the public took little interest in his achievements, being completely taken up with the Scott disaster and the outbreak of World War I. Mawson pursued his academic studies, taking further expeditions abroad, including a joint British, Australian and New Zealand expedition to the Antarctic in 1929-1931. He died in 1958.



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