Christ's College : Aurora australis

Shackleton, Ernest Henry Sir 1874-1922, British Antarctic Expedition (1907-1909)

Christ's College

<p style='text-align: justify;'>The Aurora australis was the "first book ever written, printed, illustrated and bound in the Antarctic". Produced entirely by members of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-9, it was edited by Commander Ernest Shackleton, illustrated with lithographs and etchings by George Marston (1882-1940, expedition artist), printed by Ernest Joyce (1875-1940, in charge of the dogs and sledges) and Frank Wild (1874-1939, in charge of provisions), and bound by Bernard Day (1884-1934, motor expert). Production of the book was one of the cultural activities encouraged by Shackleton while the team over-wintered at Cape Royds on Ross Island in the McMurdo Sound, to ensure that "the spectre known as 'polar ennui' never made its appearance".</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>Between fifty and a hundred copies of the Aurora australis were printed; two others are held in Cambridge, both at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI). Our copy was donated to Christ's College by Fellow Commoner Raymond Edmund Priestley (1886-1974), expedition geologist and SPRI's co-founder. The <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(218);return false;'>inside cover of Priestley's copy</a> shows the stencil on the original packing case that was used for the book's front and back boards, and our copy is thus known as the 'Irish Stew' copy.</p>


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