Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition [Ross Sea Party] 1914-1917

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of material used by and created during the expedition.

Administrative / Biographical History

This expedition was organised by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton to meet the party from Endurance who were to sledge across the Antarctic from the Weddell Sea. After visiting Macquarie Island to provision the Commonwealth Meteorological Expedition the Aurora (Captain Mackintosh) sailed to Ross Island. When ice prevented the creation of a base at Cape Crozier the ship continued to Cape Evans where ten men became stranded when on 6 May 1915 Aurora was driven from her moorings in a blizzard. With minimal supplies and equipment the party laid depots towards the Beardmore Glacier for the expected Weddell Sea party. Three men including Captain Mackintosh died between March and May 1916. During the 1916 winter a party of four wintered at Cape Evans while a party of three were at Hut Point. Aurora (Captained by Stenhouse) drifted for ten months in the Ross Sea before returning to New Zealand. The seven survivors were rescued in January 1917.

Expedition members, Æneas Lionel Acton Mackintosh (Captain), Joseph Russell Stenhouse (Captain), Leslie James F Thompson (2nd officer), Alfred J Larkmas, (Chief Engineer), C A Donnelly (2nd Engineer), Alexander O Stevens (Chief Scientist), John Lachlan Cope (Biologist/Doctor), Andrew Keith Jack (Physicist and Meteorologist), Richard Walter Richards (Physicist), Irvine Oswald Gaze (Scientist), Reverend Arnold Patrick Spencer-Smith (Padre/Photographer), James Paton (Boatswain), Clarence Charles Mauger (Carpenter), Lionel George Alfred Hooke (Wireless operator), Aubrey Howard Ninnis (Motor engineer), Ernest Edward Miles Joyce (Dog handler/shore party leader), Victor George Hayward (Storekeeper/dog handler), E Wise (Cook), E D'anglade (Steward), Aitkin, A Downing, A Cavenagh, A Warren (Able Seamen), G Gliddan (Seaman), S Grady (Fireman), H Shaw (Fireman)


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, South by Ernest Henry Shackleton, 1919 SPRI Library (7)91(08)[1907-1909]

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 this expedition. The catalogue can be searched on line by going to the Picture Library Database and selecting the Enter Polar Pictures link.


South by Ernest Henry Shackleton recounts the expedition, copies are available at the Institutes Library (7)91(08)[1914-1917]