Having failed to raise funding for his proposed Antarctic expedition in Australia, Borchgrevink headed to England to continue his quest. There he met with rejection after rejection until, in 1897, he met the wealthy magazine publisher, Sir George Newnes, who granted him some £40,000 towards the expedition. At the time, this stunning success infuriated the British establishment, particularly the esteemed gentlemen of the Royal Geographical Society who were preparing to mount a Society-endorsed expedition to Antarctica. Although Borchgrevink’s expedition flew the Union Jack there were, in fact, only two Englishmen in the team. The remainder of the ten-strong party was made up of two Lapps, an Australian and five Norwegians.
Borchgrevink purchased a former sealer, the Pollux, which was renamed Southern Cross and equipped with new, more powerful, engines. He then began to outfit the expedition with a wide range of equipment and supplies. Many items were purchased from the Military Equipment Stores and Tortoise Tents Company Limited in London. Included were aluminium cooking utensils, 53 camp stoves (the Primus stove was invented in Sweden in 1892 and these were the first Primus stoves to be used in Antarctica), mining tools, gunpowder, silk tents, Eau de Cologne as a deodorant, 500 Union jacks for “purposes of survey and extension of the British Empire” and between 70 to 90 dogs of Greenland and Siberian origin. These were the first dogs to be taken south for sledging operations and, for their sustenance, there were 28 tons of cod-liver oil, fish, meat and oatmeal biscuits containing 58% fat. The dogs were also provided with coats, fur boots and brass chains. The expedition even took 12-gauge paradox guns for protection against any big game, assuming that Polar bears might exist in Antarctica as they did in the Arctic.
For the Shore Party the range of provisions included five tons of bread, one ton of Irish butter and two tons of compressed vegetables, including potatoes – the first dehydrated food prepared for an Antarctic expedition. Clothing included suits of reindeer skin, Jaeger camel hair costumes and fleece-lined slippers.
The objectives of the expedition included the collection of scientific data and achieving the first winter-over on the continent, but Borchgrevink had not ruled out the possibility of reaching the geographic South Pole or South Magnetic Pole. He also intended to investigate the commercial possibilities of the region, which included whaling, mineral prospecting and the mining of the large quantities of penguin guano at Cape Adare for fertiliser. The Shore Party, to be led by Borchgrevink, was originally planned to be nine, but was later increased to ten. The party consisted of: