Frank Hurley with camera on ice in front of the bow of the trapped  Endurance

Hurley, Frank, 1885-1962. 
[Frank Hurley with camera on ice in
front of the bow of the trapped 
Endurance in the Weddell Sea, 
Shackleton expedition, 1915]

The National Library is privileged to hold Frank Hurley’s personal collection of over 10,000 photographic negatives and lantern slides, and several hundred of his photographic prints, purchased from the Hurley family in batches from 1963. The collection includes over 250 prints and negatives taken by Hurley in Antarctica and sub-Antarctic islands such as Macquarie Island.

Hurley’s Antarctic images can be viewed in the National Library’s Catalogue. They are an eloquent record of the beauty of the Antarctic landscape, of penguins, seals and other animals, and of the living conditions of expeditioners. The best known of Hurley’s Antarctic photographs were taken on the 1914-1916 expedition led by Shackleton, on which the ship Endurance was crushed by the ice, and the expedition members spent nearly eleven months camped on the pack ice and Elephant Island.

Hurley was official photographer on the following Antarctic expeditions:

  Leader Date Route Ship
Australasian Antarctic Expedition Sir Douglas Mawson 1911-1913 Hobart, Macquarie Island – Cape Denison on Commonwealth Bay in Adelie Land Aurora
Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition Sir Ernest Shackleton 1914-1916 South Georgia, Weddell Sea, Elephant Island, South Georgia Endurance
BANZARE (British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition) Sir Douglas Mawson 1929-1930 Crozet Islands, MacRobertson Land,, Kerguelen Island, Adelaide Discovery
BANZARE (British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition) Sir Douglas Mawson 1930-1931 Hobart, Macquarie Island, Commonwealth Bay, Hobart Discovery

Photographs by Hurley of the Antarctic are also held by a number of other institutions, notably the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge in the United Kingdom, the Royal Geographical Society in London and the South Australian Museum (transferred there from the University of Adelaide’s Mawson Institute). Although the National Library’s holdings of Hurley Antarctic images are extensive, none of the images are uniquely held by the Library.

Linda Groom
Pictures Librarian
National library of Australia
Canberra
ACT 2600

October 2004