Eric Douglas collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material relating to two Antarctic expeditions, the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, 1929-1930 (leader Sir Douglas Mawson) sometimes known as BANZARE and the Discovery Investigations, (1924-1951), 1935-1936.

Administrative / Biographical History

(Gilbert) Eric Douglas was born on 6 December 1902 in Victoria, Australia. He joined the Australian Flying Corps as an air mechanic, qualifying as a pilot officer in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1927 and receiving his commission two years later. He served as second pilot in RRS Discovery on the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, 1929-1931 (leader Sir Douglas Mawson), flying a Gypsy Moth floatplane over the coast of East Antarctica.

Douglas returned to Antarctica with the Discovery Investigations, 1935-1937 (leader George Edward Raven Deacon), to search for the aviators Lincoln Ellsworth and Herbert Hollick-Kenyon in the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea. Retiring from the Royal Australian Air Force in 1948 with the rank of group captain, he died on 4 August 1970.


The collection is split into two sub-fonds comprising of material on BANZARE and the Discovery Investigations respectively.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


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 has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 and British polar exploration and research, a historical and medallic record with biographies 1818-1999 by Lieutenant Colonel Neville W. Poulsom and Rear Admiral John A.L. Myres, Savannah Publications, London (2000) SPRI Library Shelf 737.2 and Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and Mr. Ellsworth and the Discovery II by Percy Douglas in The Polar Record (July 1936) number 12 p166-172

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.

Related Material

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a number of photographs, film and other illustrative material in the Picture Library, some of which covers the expeditions Douglas was a member of. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.