Read about some of the famous Antarctic explorers and their connections to Christchurch.
The British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, on board his ship Discovery, sailed for Antarctica in December 1901. In 1910 he left Christchurch’s port, Lyttelton, aboard Terra Nova to try once again to reach the South Pole. Terra Nova returned to Christchurch in 1913 bringing news of the death of Scott and his four companions on their way back from the South Pole in March 1912.
The great Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, and his party were the first to reach the South Pole in December 1911. Amundsen gave a public lecture in Christchurch in December 1912 and, in gratitude to Canterbury Museum for the help he had received, he donated the penknife used to cut the flagstaff marking the South Pole.
Irishman Ernest Shackleton first travelled to Antarctica with Scott but had suffered badly on the expedition and was invalided out. In September 1907 he was back to try again with his own expedition on Nimrod.
Antarctic Adventurer Frank Worsley, Shackleton’s Captain and navigator during the 1914-1917 Trans-Antarctic Expedition, was born in Akaroa in 1872. His remarkable skill brought the 22.5’ James Caird safely to South Georgia across 800 miles of Southern Ocean, saving the lives of all Shackleton’s men. Memorabilia is preserved in the Akaroa Museum (currently closed).