Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to the British Antarctic Expedition, 1898-1900 (led by Borchgrevink), general correspondence with other polar explorers and miscellaneous documents.

Administrative / Biographical History

Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink was born in Oslo, Norway in 1864, the son of a Norwegian father and an English mother. He enrolled as a student at the Royal Forestry School in Saxony in 1885 and at the age of twenty-four emigrated to Australia. Initially, he worked on government survey teams in Queensland and New South Wales before becoming a teacher of languages and natural science in New South Wales.

In 1894 Borchgrevink volunteered as seaman, seal-shooter and naturalist for the Norwegian Sealing and Whaling Exploration, 1893-1895 (leader Henrik Johan Bull), organised to investigate Antarctic whaling possibilities. The expedition ship Antarctic managed to penetrate the ice of the Ross Sea and Borchgrevink was a member of the party that landed at Possession Island and Cape Adare in January 1895.

This experience led Borchgrevink to visit England to raise funds to lead an Antarctic expedition of his own, the British Antarctic Expedition, 1898-1900. The expedition ship Southern Cross sailed from Hobart in December 1898 and after a successful landing at Cape Adare in February 1899, two huts were erected where ten men wintered, the first party to do so on Antarctica. Borchgrevink left Cape Adare onboard Southern Cross in February 1900, called at Possession Islands, Cape Crozier and coasted along the Ross Barrier. At a place in the Barrier that approximates to the Bay of Whales, a sledging party reached a farthest south of 78.83° in February 1900.

After his return to England, Borchgrevink did not receive the acclaim that he considered his due and had to wait more than a quarter of a century before receiving the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1930. He returned to Norway with his English wife and continued to interest himself in scientific pursuits. He died in comparative poverty on 21 April 1934.

Published works, First on the Antarctic continent. Being an account of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1898-1900 by Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink, C. Hurst and Co. London (1980) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1898-1900] The voyage of the Antarctic to Victoria Land by Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink, in 'Report Sixth International Geographical Congress' (London 1895) John Murray, London (1896) SPRI Library Shelf 061.3[1895]


The collection is split into three sub-fonds comprising of expedition material, correspondence and miscellaneous papers.

Access Information

By appointment.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author signs the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to 'A forgotten Explorer, Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink' by H B Evans and A G E Jones in The Polar Record (September 1974) volume 17 number 108 p223-235 and Encyclopaediaof Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible.