Fieldwork in the Subantarctic Islands, a hundred years ago

I’ve been enjoying our scientist’s fieldwork posts.  We have scientist’s photographs from several historic field trips in the photography collection.  My favourites are in this photo album from the 1907 Expedition to the Subantarctic Islands.  The Expedition was initiated by the Canterbury Philosophical Institute with support from the Government, and studied plants, animals, soils and marine life on the Auckland and Campbell Island groups, as well as a few outliers.

Dr Cockayne, botanist, inspecting native florae. From the album: [1907 Sub-Antarctic Expedition]; circa 1908; North, W. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Page, Samuel. Te Papa

Dr Leonard Cockayne inspecting ‘Poa litorosa’. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Photo attributed to Samuel Page. Te Papa.

 The islands were of real interest to scientists, as they wanted to compare the distribution of species with other parts of the world.  The famous British botanist Joseph Hooker had studied plants near the coast during the 1840s, but no one had looked inland or at some of the smaller islands.  

The Expedition party was made up entirely of New Zealand scientists such as botanist Leonard Cockayne.  There was also a cook, the crew of their transport ship Hinemoa, and a small crew for a whaleboat to ferry the scientists about.   

Scientific members & assistants of the Expedition. From the album: [1907 Sub-Antarctic Expedition]; circa 1908; North, W. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Page, Samuel. Te Papa

Scientists and assistants of the Auckland Island party of the Expedition. November 1907. Front row: E R Waite, Doctors Cockayne, Benham and Farr. Middle row: G V Hudson, Captain Dorrien-Smith, H D Cook, B C Aston, J S Tennant, R Speight. Back row: S Page, A M Finlayson, G S Collyns, H B North. Photo attributed to Samuel Page. Te Papa

Whaleboat, used by Expedition, and crew in Carnley Harbour. From the album: [1907 Sub-Antarctic Expedition]; circa 1908; North, W. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Page, Samuel. Te Papa

Whaleboat and crew in Carnley Harbour. November 1907. The head of the crew was Whaitiri, from Ruapuke Island. Photo attributed to Samuel Page. Te Papa

The Hinemoa left Bluff on 14 November 1907, and returned at the end of the month.  The scientists made the most of their time on the islands by splitting between the Auckland Islands and Campbell Island.  This photo album was put together by the cook to the Auckland Islands group, Mr W B North, and donated to Te Papa by North’s son years later. 

Magnetic survey tent, Auckland Islands. From the album: [1907 Sub-Antarctic Expedition]; circa 1908; North, W. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Page, Samuel. Te Papa

Magnetic survey tent, Auckland Islands. November 1907. Photo attributed to Samuel Page. Te Papa

The expedition members were astounded to find a group of shipwrecked sailors on Auckland Island.  These men had survived the wreck of the barque Dundonald eight months before, and ate birds, seals and roots until they managed to reach the cache of emergency stores left by the Government.  Their story is an epic tale, so I’ll cover it in my next post.

Survivors of wreck of the barque "Dundonald". From the album: [1907 Sub-Antarctic Expedition]; circa 1908; North, W. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Page, Samuel. Te Papa

Survivors of wreck of the barque “Dundonald”. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Photo attributed to Samuel Page. Te Papa

The Expedition was a great success.   The scientists described a huge range of flora and fauna, and found a number of new species.  Some of the specimens they collected are now in Te Papa’s collection.  A detailed report was published in 1909 and was well received in the scientific world.  The trip was also covered by several newspapers – the Otago Witness did a two-page spread of photographs on Christmas Day, which includes some of the photos in this album.

Snares Island. From the album: [1907 Sub-Antarctic Expedition]; circa 1908; North, W. November 1907, Snares Islands. Page, Samuel. Te Papa

Penguin rookery, Snares Islands. November 1907. Attributed to Samuel Page. Te Papa

Graphania erebia (Hudson, 1909); holotype; holotype of Melanchra erebia Hudson, 1909, collected 29 Nov 1907, Erebus Cove, Port Ross. Auckland Islands. New Zealand. Te Papa

One of the specimens collected during the Expedition. Graphania erebia (Hudson, 1909); holotype; holotype of Melanchra erebia Hudson, 1909, collected 29 Nov 1907, Erebus Cove, Port Ross. Te Papa

Sea Lion on shore of Enderby Island. From the album: [1907 Sub-Antarctic Expedition]; circa 1908; North, W. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Page, Samuel. Te Papa

Sea Lion on shore of Enderby Island. November 1907. Attributed to Samuel Page. Te Papa

Views in Carnley Harbour. From the album: [1907 Sub-Antarctic Expedition]; circa 1908; North, W. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Page, Samuel. Te Papa

Views in Carnley Harbour. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Attributed to Samuel Page. Te Papa

Auckland Islands crab. From the album: [1907 Sub-Antarctic Expedition]; circa 1908; North, W. November 1907, Auckland Islands. Page, Samuel. Te Papa

Auckland Islands crab, November 1907. Attributed to Samuel Page. Te Papa

 

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