Herbert PONTING, The Hut at Cape Evans - after the sea ice went out Enlarge 1 /1


England 1870 – 1935

The Hut at Cape Evans - after the sea ice went out 1911 Materials & Technique: photographs, brown carbon photograph enlargement using carbon tissue transfer process Support: card

Primary Insc: signed in ink lower right image HG Ponting
Dimensions: image 73.7 h x 56.8 w cm sheet 74.8 h x 58.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2009
Accession No: NGA 2009.924

Looking over to the Barne Glacier at noon in the fading daylight, this atmospheric image shows the now famous hut around which the legend of the Antarctic expedition revolves. Ross Island in McMurdo Sound is 100 miles south-east of where Mawson set up camp in Adelie Land. The men set up base camp there and Ponting, and the others who were not part of the push for the Pole, remained for fourteen months before sailing for home in February 1912. Their stores can be seen piled high next to the hut. Ponting had a well organised, though small darkroom. Scott left him free to photograph, not including him in the general work or exploratory sledging trips, though this meant that he was confined to photographing within the vicinity of the hut. During his time in Antarctica, he exposed around 2,000 photographic plates. In addition Ponting had made many cinematographic sequences which it was hoped, when pieced out with magic lantern slides, were to have been a key element in helping Scott tell his story on his return to raise funds to cover the cost of the expedition.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra