11th December 2015
Writing: Finn Morrisroe (Year 7)
At the end of the week, the entirety of Year 7 received a lecture about Earnest Shackleton’s penultimate expedition to the Antarctica, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–17. The lecture was kindly delivered by Geoff Selley, using the account written by the expedition's meteorologist Dr Leanoard Hussey - and I was amazed by this brilliant story of survival and bravery.
At the start Selley showed us some interesting artefacts he had collected from the expedition. In particular he had the heavy glass photographs taken by Frank Hurley on the expedition, and the antique projector used to show the photographs during Hussey's original lecture. There was also lots of books written about the thrilling experience and about the famous ship Endurance, which they undertook the expedition in.
With the account having being written a hundred years ago, Selley warned us that there might be language that we didn't understand and jokes we didn't get, but Selley had the photographs projected behind him whilst he spoke so we knew what it looked like when they were there. It was quite something to think that these were the real pictures taken on the visit.
The middle portion of the story really captured me: Endurance had become stuck fast in the ice and had to be abandoned, and they had to survive with a just little bit of seal meat for breakfast and a little bit for dinner and that was it. They had to capture their food in the freezing cold: it was about -40 degrees Celsius. It was also really fascinating to see how they camped, spending 497 days living on an ice floe, and how they kept each other entertained, with Dr Hussey keeping spirits up with his banjo.
It was a really inspirational story, I thought it was great how Mr Selley was willing to give up his time to talk us through this adventure from a hundred years ago, asking in exchange only for a donation to his selected charity, the Christina Noble Children's Foundation.