Antarctic publication, Aurora Australis

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of a copy of the publication.

Administrative / Biographical History

The first book to be printed in Antarctica, Aurora Australis, was produced during the winter of 1908 by members of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1909 (leader Ernest Henry Shackleton), at the expedition base at Cape Royds.

The British printing firm of Joseph Causton & Sons lent the printing press, a small etching press as well as donating the paper, ink and type. The firm also arranged for three weeks of instruction in printing and typesetting for Ernest Joyce and John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild, and in lithography and plate etching for George Marston.

Intended as an anthology rather than a topical magazine, Aurora Australis was edited by Shackleton, who encouraged contributions from other expedition members. The book was bound by Bernard Day in venesta boards from the expedition's packing cases. Copies today tend to be known for the lettering on these boards, e.g. 'Butter', etc.


The collection is arranged chronologically.

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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 Aurora Australis edited by Ernest Henry Shackleton, Bluntisham Books and Paradigm Press, Harleston (1986) SPRI Library Shelf (#42;7)91(08)[1907-1909 Shackleton]

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.