Polar Record


Henrik Bull, the Antarctic Exploration Committee and the first confirmed landing on the Antarctic continent

Andrew McConville a1
a1 State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000, Australia

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The Norwegian Henrik Johan Bull managed the Antarctic expedition that penetrated the Ross Sea in 1895 and made a landing at Cape Adare, the first confirmed landing on the Antarctic mainland. Bull had attempted to fund the voyage in Melbourne where he had lived since the late 1880s. At that time, Melbourne's learned societies, through their Antarctic Exploration Committee (AEC), were also making strenuous attempts to launch an expedition. The two parties had contact but the differences in their aims resulted in little cooperation. The AEC plans of a joint commercial/scientific expedition with Dundee or Norwegian whalers, and then a joint scientific expedition under Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, foundered due to lack of funds. The plans to include a scientist, nominated by the learned societies, in Bull's expedition also failed. Instead, Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink joined Bull's expedition as an ordinary seaman and an occasional scientist. He used this experience to realise his plans to winter on Antarctica. Both Bull and the AEC were important in developing interest in Antarctic exploration and commerce.

(Received September 2006)