Herbert PONTING, The 'Terra Nova' in the pack-ice Enlarge 1 /1


England 1870 – 1935

The 'Terra Nova' in the pack-ice 1910 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Dimensions: image 32.0 h x 45.5 w cm sheet 33.4 h x 46.7 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.68

Already established as one of the foremost travel photographers of his day having travelled extensively through America, Europe and Asia, Ponting was a valuable and respected member of the party. He was paid five pounds a week; the members of Dr E. Wilson’s scientific staff, for example, receiving four. On the journey south from New Zealand, Ponting quickly fitted out a darkroom and started work immediately, shooting the first iceberg they encountered on 7 December 1910 as well as onboard life. The Terra Nova was caught in pack-ice for twenty days, far longer than other ships had suffered – setting back the first season’s work and impairing preparations for the polar march. Here Norwegian ski expert, Tryggve Gran, geologist Griffith Taylor, and physicist Charles Wright, are shown on lookout duty, standing on the ship’s maintop, searching for open-water leads in the ice-pack. A combination of steam power and wind was used to maneuver the ship through the ice.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra