The collection comprises of material regarding the British Naval Expedition, 1839-1842 (leader James Clark Ross) to Antarctic waters.
Cornelius Sullivan collection
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 15 Cornelius Sullivan
- Dates of Creation1843
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical DescriptionExpedition material
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Cornelius J. Sullivan served on the British naval expedition, 1839-1843 (leader James Clark Ross), as blacksmith on board HMS Erebus. The voyage was organized to conduct a series of magnetic observations in the southern hemisphere and to locate and reach the South Magnetic Pole if possible. The expedition, with Ross in HMS Erebus and Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier commanding HMS Terror, left England in September. Establishing magnetic observatories in St. Helena, Cape Town, and Iles Kerguelen, and taking running observations en route, the two ships reached Hobart, Tasmania early in 1840. A geophysical observatory 'Rossbank' was established in Hobart with the co-operation of the Governor, Sir John Franklin. Later in the same year, the two vessels headed south into the Southern Ocean, crossing the Antarctic Circle on 1 January 1841 and were the first vessels to force a way through the pack ice of the Ross Sea. Ross discovered and roughly charted 900 kilometres of new coast in Victoria Land, which was claimed for Queen Victoria on Possession Island on 12 January and Franklin Island on 27 January 1841. Continuing south, he discovered Ross Island, with twin peaks that he named Erebus and Terror, and the huge ice shelf that also bears his name. He calculated the position of the South Magnetic Pole as 75.83°South, 154.13°East, but was unable to reach the Pole either by boat or by sledging. After wintering in Australia, the expedition returned to the Ross Sea in December 1841, then visited the South Shetland Islands, the Falkland Islands and proceeded into the South American sector of Antarctica. Sullivan wrote an account of the first season of the expedition, and in the second season kept a diary, dictated to him by James Savage, a seaman who had joined the expedition at Hobart.
The collection is arranged chronologically.
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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.
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Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Ross in the Antarctic, the voyages of James Clark Ross in Her Majesty's ships Erebus & Terror 1839-1843 by Maurice James Ross, Caedmon of Whitby (1982) SPRI Library Shelf (ƫ)91(08)[1839-1843 Ross] 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.
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