To follow are brief biographies, in alphabetical order, of the Shore and Land Party of the British Antarctic Southern Cross Expedition 1898–1900 led by Carsten Borchgrevink.
Ages given are at the start of the expedition in 1898 and 1910, and place names commemorating the person are given.
Shore and Land Party of the British Southern Cross Expedition 1898 - 1900
Louis Charles Bernacchi: 24, Astronomer and Physicist
Born in Brussels, Belgium in Nov 1876. Louis arrived in Tasmania with his parents and two siblings at the age of 7. The eldest son of the owner of Maria Island, he was educated at Hutchins School in Hobart then entered the Melbourne Observatory 1895 and became qualified as an astronomer, meteorologist and magnetic expert. Appointed to Belgian Antarctic Expedition 1897 but unable to join the Belgica. Served on the Discovery as physicist, during Scott’s National Antarctic expedition 1901–04. On return, he embarked on various private expeditions and, in 1910, entered politics. He served during World War One and received the Unites States Navy Cross and OBE. In 1925, he began to plan his own Antarctic expedition, and while he again volunteered for naval service, this never proceeded and he died in London in 1942. Cape Bernacchi and Bernacchi Bay on the Victoria Land Coast and Bernacchi Head on Franklin Island are named after Louis Bernacchi.
Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink: 34, Commander
Born in Christiania, Norway, 1864. Son of a Norwegian barrister and an English mother (Miss Ridley). Educated at Gjertsen College, followed as a full-time student at the Royal Forestry school, Tharandt, Saxony, 1885–1888. Then went to Australia and worked with government surveyors for six years. In 1894, arrived in Melbourne and joined HJ Bull’s whaling expedition as an ‘ordinary seaman’. Landed Possession Islands 19 January 1895 and Cape Adare 24 January. One of only two married men, he led the first expedition to winter over on the Antarctic Continent in 1899 and sledged over the Ross Ice Shelf. In 1902, he went to the United States then examined the effects of the volcanic eruption of Mont Pelee. Returned to Norway and, in 1930, was awarded the Patron’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. He died in Oslo, 1934. Antarctic features named are the Borchgrevink Coast, Borchgrevink Glacier and Borchgrevink Glacier Tongue, Borchgrevinkisen a glacier in the Sor Rondane Mountains and Borchgrevink Nunatak.
William Colbeck: 27, Magnetic Observer and Cartographer
Born at Kingston-upon-Hull, England, 1871. Son of a Hull lawyer and educated Hull Grammar School. Did a six-month course in navigation before going to sea at age 14. By 1886, had gained all his certificates and served on the clipper ship Loch Torridon in East India trade. Obtained second-mate’s certificate in Calcutta, 1890, and served on the Wilson Line’s passenger steamer Montebello. Obtained first-mate’s certificate in 1894 and passed for extra-master 1897. Gazetted to sub-lieutenant RNR June 1898 and studied magnetism at Kew Observatory. Met Borchgrevink during a voyage to Norway. In 1901, placed in command of the National Antarctic Expedition (1901–04) relief vessel Morgenen (Morning). Captain Colbeck returned to his former employment and today is recognised in Antarctica with Cape Colbeck, Colbeck Bay and Colbeck Archipelago.
Kolbein Ellifsen: 23, Assistant
Passed Civil Service Examination. Experienced sailor and, at time of appointment, working in an office in Tonsberg, Norway. Also Cook on the expedition and talented artist.
Hugh Blackwall Evans: 23, Assistant Zoologist
Born Aylburton, England, 1874. Son of the Reverend Edward Evans, he lived in Ledbury and Gloucester. Educated at King’s School, Gloucester, after which at the age of 16 he went to Canada for four years, spending the first year at an agricultural college in the North-West Territories, followed by the next three years as a hired hand on a cattle ranch. Returned to Britain in 1897 then went to Australia and joined a 251-ton sailing brig Edward on a sealing expedition to Kerguelen Island. Collected specimens for The Tring Museum. Wintered at Cape Adare in 1898 and sledged with Bernacchi, Fougner and Johansen across the Ross Ice Shelf to latitude 74o 34’ S. Remained a close friend of Captain Colbeck and, for many years, farmed in Canada. He retired in Vermilion, Alberta. In 1977, Hugh Blackwall Evans, who had been the oldest living explorer from the heroic era, was posthumously awarded the Polar Medal. (He died in February 1975.)
Anton Fougner: 30, Scientific Assistant
Born in Norway, 1870. Educated at a college in Christiania (now Oslo). Obtained his mate’s certificate and became an experienced sailor and snow-shoe runner. At time of appointment was an office clerk.
Nicolai Hanson: 28, Zoologist
Born at Christiansund, Norway, 1870. The son of a broker and an experienced hunter, collector and taxidermist. Studied zoology under Professor Robert Collett at the University of Christiania. At time of appointment was collecting in north Norway for the British Museum and the Zoological Museum in Christiania. Experienced skier. Married and had a daughter Johanne. Wintered at Cape Adare in 1899 where he died 14 October after being ill for about three months. Hanson Peak (1,255m) on the Adare Peninsula commemorates Nicolai Hanson.
Herlof Klovstad: 30, Medical Officer
Born Norway, 1868. Attended Christiania University and received degrees of MA and MD. At time of joining the expedition was a resident doctor at a hospital for the mentally ill near Bergen. Died soon after the return of the expedition and has Cape Klovstad in Robertson Bay named after him.
Ole Must: 22. In charge of dogs
Born Norway, 1877. An experienced snow-shoe runner from Lapland.
Persen Savio: 22, In charge of dogs.
Following is a brief biography of the master and other members of the crew of the expedition’s ship The Southern Cross.
Bernhard Jensen: Master
Born Norway, 1853. Twenty years’ experience in ice navigation. Served as Master on Southern Cross.
Jorgen Petersen: First Mate
Experienced ice navigator. Died 1900 on voyage from Australia.
Hans Hansen: Second Mate
Born 1877. Experienced hunter and ice navigator.
Hans Ulis: Carpenter
Johannes Christian Olsen: First Engineer
First-class certificate and experienced engineer and boiler maker. At time of appointment was a professional engineer at Jensen and Dahl’s ship building yard at Friedrikstad, Norway.
Julius Johanesen: Second Engineer
At time of appointment was at the same ship building yard as JC Olsen.
Crew List of the Northern Party Expedition
The Northern Party expedition (part of the British Antarctic [Terra Nova] Expedition 1910–1913 led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott) also used the Cape Adare site and built their own hut in 1911. To read about the history associated with the Northern Party (and meet the crew members) click here.
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