Still No Mawson: Frank Stillwell’s Antarctic Diaries 1911-1913.


Frank Stillwell was geologist on Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14. His diaries present him as a mild-mannered somewhat recessive personality, but they are candid enough to include several critical comments about the leader as moody, irascible, inconsistent, and arbitrary. Most of his comments on reading are confined to the period of the austral night of May to August 1912, and are mostly notes of what other people were reading, including Mawson reading aloud from Aurora Australis and South Polar Times (p. 49), Mawson reading his lectures on Polar exploration (p. 80), Mawson reading Robert Lewis Stevenson (p. 83-84), Madegan reading ‘Lady Betty across the water’ (p. 85), Mawson reading Kipling on the Flag (p. 86), and Mawson reading Robert Service’s The Trail of ‘98 over a few days (p. 89-92). These reading references generally cease with the gradual return of light in August/September.