AKA Home of the Blizzard: Part 2

AKA Home of the Blizzard: Part 2
 Quentin Turnour
Douglas Mawson (detail), from a poster promoting the AAE film, 1913


In Part Two of his essay, the NFSA’s Chief Cinema Programmer Quentin Turnour investigates Frank Hurley’s association with the promotion of Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) film. And the facts about the ownership and titling of the 1911–1916 film that came to be known as Home of the Blizzard are revealed.

This essay is in two sections. Go to Part One.



Did Frank Hurley lecture with the AAE film?

Not being about to cut the 1913 film release also means that Hurley was almost certainly in Java when the AAE film premiered in Melbourne at West’s Picture Palace on Saturday 19 July 1913 (not in Sydney, as is always stated). No review or advertisement for the 1913 season mentions his live presence, nor anyone else’s for that matter

So was Frank Hurley being misleading when he told of lecturing with the AAE film? The fault might rest with his hagiographers rather than Hurley himself.

Most Hurley biographers have written in detail of his successful Australian tour lecturing in 1919 with In the Grip of the Polar Ice, his own cut of Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition footage. Philip Ayres’s 1999 biography of Mawson also describes Hurley and Mawson’s correspondence on the 1931 sound re-release of the British Australian, New Zealand, Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) film Siege of the South. The commercial failure of the film was another source of irritation between Mawson and Hurley for the remainder of both men’s lives.

It is not as widely known that the first commercial version of Siege of the South, released in 1930 as Southward Ho with Mawson, was silent. The Sydney Morning Herald on 11 August 1930 described how ‘Captain Hurley has synchronised appropriate noises with the visual image. The sea-lions … utter curious shrill roars. The hull of the ship sends out a sustained hiss as it cleaves the ice. The sailors sing [s]hanties while they work. All this increases the realism of the story while, at the same time, it has not been made obtrusive enough to drown Captain Hurley’s voice as he speaks through a microphone and gives a stream of comment on the various incidents’.(37)

Apart from the new technologies of the microphone and gramophone, it sounds familiar as an anecdotal account of Hurley’s supposed 1913 gig – except that the performance was in 1930. One can’t help but wonder whether his biographers might have crossed Hurley’s recollections of his lecturing with the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and BANZARE material with the AAE film.

Fig. 5: (Self?) portrait of Frank Hurley, probably on board the 'Aurora’, on or around 23 February 1913. ‘The Mawson Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911–1913, Version 2’, NFSA: 1356

 Did Frank Hurley own the AAE film?

While no historian has ever suggested it, popular assumption often has it that Frank Hurley, as ‘director’ of Home of the Blizzard, must have been the source for the surviving footage. Where else could it have come from? The history of a film’s provenance, survival and preservation often contributes to an understanding of its original form and creation.

There are other legends, I should add. Among some senior or now retired NFSA archivists who had worked with the NFSA’s predecessor, the Film Division of the National Library, there is some cultural memory of Home of the Blizzard having been acquired from the British Film Institute (BFI) in the 1960s. And it is hard not to deduce that many references, in popular histories, to the AAE film being Home of the Blizzard can be sourced to the Film Division of the National Library and the NFSA’s public catalogues. The NFSA is probably one of the main agents in disseminating the attribution, title and date: ‘Home of the Blizzard: Frank Hurley, 1913’.

Where did the NFSA’s own historical conceptualisation of the film material emerge from? After all, unlike the video reproduction, the original negatives of the film the NFSA calls Home of the Blizzard lack any identifiers beyond occasional reel numbers. The BFI has no record of holding Home of the Blizzard, any Mawson AAE material or even any unidentified silent Antarctic footage that might be of AAE origin.(38)
Fig. 17: Douglas Mawson (detail), from a poster promoting the AAE film, 1913 NFSA: 360787

Fortunately, another accidental reality of national collecting institutions is that, after a while, their own administrative records can transform into historic artefacts. An NFSA file, ‘Sir Douglas Mawson. OBE, FRS, DSC, BE (historical)’,(39) outlines the acquisition history for the AAE material and a fascinating narrative of the concerns of two national institutions: on the one hand, Sir Douglas Mawson trying to confirm his public legacy in his twilight years; on the other, the Film Division of the National Library trying to establish its place in the formative culture of screen archiving in Australia.

In November 1955, the then 73-year-old Sir Douglas Mawson contacted the Film Division of the National Library regarding the film of his 1929–1931 BANZARE expedition. Aware that the National Library held a negative of Frank Hurley’s commercial release version of Siege of the South, he asked that the library embargo access, hoping to re-release a new cut of the footage in order to fund BANZARE’s scientific research publication program (as Mawson biographer Philip Ayres notes, this program continued, epically, until 1975) (40). This time, Mawson implied, it would be without Frank Hurley’s original voice-over, which Sir Douglas described as ‘[converting] the film story of a scientific expedition into a second grade popular story, introducing Mickey-the-Mouse and boxing arena jargon’.(41)

Agreeing to Mawson’s request and understanding the opportunity, Assistant National Librarian CA Burmester used this as an excuse to ask Mawson to consider depositing his other Antarctic archives with the National Library.(42)The papers were already committed to the University of Adelaide; however, Mawson indicated there was still an apparently considerable collection of positive and negative cinefilm material in his possession, with no determined future.

The correspondence continued through 1956, now mostly between Mawson and the head of the National Library, HL White. White learnt Mawson had been in contact with the BFI National Archive in the UK since 1954. A true Edwardian, Mawson initially had difficulty grasping the Australian, rather than British, heritage value of the material and had only made contact with the National Library as a result of prompting by the BFI. More alarmingly, in mid-March 1956 the BFI forwarded to White a copy of correspondence in which Mawson had casually indicated that something was already being done, locally, about his film holdings:(43)

The Commonwealth Government has had an officer visit me and overhaul the negatives and positives in my possession. The cinema film of our Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–14 has been reported still printable. Some of the positives have deteriorated beyond redemption … It has been arranged with the Commonwealth National Films organisation that the negative be carefully copied.(44)

To White, this ‘Commonwealth officer’ must have seemed like some kind of film heritage Man in Black – mysterious and alarming. If Mawson did not trust the future of his clearly important materials to the only film archive in the Commonwealth, then to whom? Alarmed, but deferential, White wrote to Mawson on 24 July 1956, pleading for the Library to be kept in the loop: ‘We are ourselves actively engaged in copying for preservation … and are of course most anxious that films of the importance of yours be preserved in the national collection’.(45)

Mawson, frail and now finding it difficult to keep up with his correspondence, delayed any clarification until mid-May 1958. Then he revealed that the ‘Commonwealth Officer’ was in fact Alan Campbell-Drury, head of the photographic division of the Antarctic Division. After another segue into his mixed feelings regarding Hurley’s contribution – acknowledging his skills, for all his vulgarity (‘In artistry and technique [he] is unique. [Herbert] Ponting himself once told me: “Tell him that he is a better man than me in polar exploration films”’) – Mawson outlined the condition of both the AAE and BANZARE films. Campbell-Drury had gone though the ‘negative and some old prints which I have … he finds some shrinkage and some of the prints are not so stable as others and have chemically deteriorated and have had to be thrown away. Other positive is still in good condition and I am told that negative could still be made from any undeteriorated positive’.(46)

Antarctic Division papers confirm that Mawson had probably also been in discussions about his film collection with its head, Dr Philip Law, as far back as 1954. In September that year Law had seconded the renowned Anglo-Austrian scientific journalist and filmmaker Anthony Michaelis – then briefly on staff at Sydney University – to visit Adelaide. Michaelis reported back on Mawson’s apparently depressing re-acquaintance with his long neglected nitrate film trove, ‘can after can of spoilt film and the loss of the negatives has certainly shown to Sir Douglas that his insurance policy is by no means of a permanent nature, and I think he was really quite upset’.(47)

Campbell-Drury’s 1958 visit appears to have just been the mopping up operation. Mawson advised White that the footage had gone to the Division’s photographic studios in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, where Campbell-Drury would ‘… go through these films carefully, retaining all that can still be useful’. He did agree that a Commonwealth Government Department would strike a negative and that ‘arrangements will then be made for your film library to get a negative copy’.

This was not reassurance. It merely converted alarm into consternation. White wrote again to the Commonwealth Film Unit head Stanley Hawes, trying to find out whether the latter was doing the printing. Hawes agreed it should be the job of the Library’s Film Division, but had heard nothing about it. Through July, White pleaded with the Antarctic Division for any material Campbell-Drury discarded to be deposited with the Library, and with Mawson, to whom he suggested the Library would be keen to do the copying work on the AAE film at least from ‘one complete print’.

Too late. Mawson wrote to White that the material had already gone to Campbell-Drury. However, some compromise seems to have been reached; the Antarctic Division of External Affairs agreed in August that ‘no editing is being done other than the rejection of film which has decomposed with age’ and agreed to deposit the ‘preserved’ footage with the library.(48)

In fact the Film Unit of the National Library had little to offer as alternative means of preserving the film, given its resources and knowledge base in the late 1950s. The National Library was reliant on external commercial lab work, and also practised some of the – in retrospect – bad screen archiving habits of the era, especially the tendency to print 35mm down to 16mm, or to discard original nitrate film after the printing of safety materials.

In retrospect, it is fortunate that the final supply-chain utilised the then considerable in-house photographic resources of the Antarctic Division, and of a photographic professional who was a stakeholder in the survival of the material and a confidant of the donor. Indeed, the evidence suggests that Campbell-Drury did about as well as he could. But that still leaves questions that the, as yet, unformulated values of Australian screen archiving and the largely non-existent discipline of local film history did not know how to ask or answer.

Sir Douglas Mawson died in October 1958. Eighteen months later, and after what must have been a worrying period, the Antarctic Division’s RHJ Thompson sent a long memo to White on the outcome of Campbell-Drury’s work (Fig. 18). Overall the film ‘has been held by this Division rather longer than was intended’. The positive material had been badly deteriorated and poorly stored, the negative in slightly better condition. Thompson advised that he intended to forward to the library ‘74 cans each measuring 10 3/4 inches in diameter: … AAE … (silent film cuts) 38 reels; AAE… ‘Home of the Blizzard’ Silent lecture film, 5 reels; AAE negative film, 13 reels’. This is the first mention of the title Home of the Blizzard in any of this correspondence. Mawson had never referred to the material by this name, always calling it the ‘AAE film’.(49)
Fig. 18: Antarctic Division memo to the National Library on the condition of AAE footage, 1960 NFSA TRIM: 98/01142

Attached to Thompson’s memo was Campbell-Drury’s condition report (Fig. 19), which included photographs confirming just how advanced the deterioration was in the 10,000 feet of mostly positive film (Fig. 20). Much of the film was either utterly destroyed, ‘or had suffered complete bleaching of the image, due to the fumes and insufficient washing and/or fixation at the time of processing’. Campbell-Drury was frank:

‘Some of this film had, however, passed the danger point [for spontaneous combustion], since in most cases the tin containers had corroded so badly that the rolls of film had actually eaten their way out. In some cases it was possible to count the number of rolls of film in a can without removing the lid by the fine brown powdered rust heaped up in little cones on the tops of the lids.’

Shrinkage of this footage was up to six per cent, but Campbell-Drury believed that this could be step-printed once it had been ‘humidified’. Importantly, he also reported that much ‘of the material had been dyed as was the early custom.


Amber dye giving the brighter effect of warmth and sunlight and the blue-green dye simulating coldness in the snowscape section’, and most of the dyes had faded.

This fact, and the surviving intertitles Campbell-Drury identified, indicate that these were release prints, not cutting-room floor offcuts. Unfortunately, in order to reprint the film, it would be necessary to bleach ‘out what dye survived … back to its original black-and-white’.
Fig. 19: Report on the condition of AAE footage, c1960 NFSA TRIM: 98/01142.

Campbell-Drury’s report suggests a good grasp of film preservation process. He replaced the original film cans and understood the urgency of ‘immediate attention if duplication is to be carried out’. Of the surviving negative film ‘approx. 5,968 feet’ he concluded:

It is intended to have some pieces of the badly shrunken film projected to observe its effect on the screen and determine whether or not it was shot at sound or silent speed. This test together with chemical tests on the dyes etc. to [be] carried out at the Antarctic Division darkroom will determine finally just what can be done in regard to making duplicates.(50)

But it is still unclear how aggressive he was in discarding damaged film and to what extent he destroyed potentially salvageable material, even in light of then state-of-the-art preservation techniques.

The surviving, post-cull, Mawson collection was forwarded to the National Library in May 1960. White immediately involved himself in arrangements for the footage to be copied to safety film at the commercial Automatic Film Laboratories in Sydney, beginning with four reels of positive in July 1960. ‘We have about 30 more reels … in about the same condition’, White wrote to Automatic, adding that the first reels are a film ‘called “Home of the Blizzard” and is the only surviving material of this particular film’.(51)

Fig. 20: Photograph from Alan Campbell-Drury’s report, showing decomposition of the original AAE footage, c1960. NFSA internal document (TRIM: 98/01142)

White was beginning with the reels of what Campbell-Drury had referred to as the ‘silent lecture film’, the material both in the best condition and which seemed the most narratively cohesive. Automatic’s inspection of these reels found ‘most of film in good to fair condition [but] app [sic] 100 to 200 ft in reel 2 the image has faded almost away’.(52) There is discrepancy between the number of reels sent to Automatic (four) and the number Campbell-Drury first indicted made up the ‘lecture film’ (five). Human error, or was one reel not copied at that time due to the reported advanced fade? The surviving Home of the Blizzard certainly does have some very wobbly continuity around reel two, apparent even without subtitles or script.

By early 1961, 16mm prints had been made of these first reels, and a start seems to have been made on the remaining 38 cans of silent film cuts. White was already thinking of a way to ‘piece together a complete film of the expedition with suitable titles’.(53) His ‘Memoriam for the Librarian’ summarises the actions taken and proposed:

  1. Negative … 13 reels transferred
  2. Positive … 5 reels transferred. These five reels form the film ‘HOME OF THE BLIZZARD’ which was edited from the whole material to form a popular illustration to lectures on the Expedition …
  3. Positive … 38 reels still to be transferred/ Of the 38 reels, 13 would be the same as the 13 reels of negative mentioned in (1.) However, the reels do not match and it seems that the material is so confused that the only sane course is to transfer all 38 with the certainty that there will be some duplication … it seems possible that by transferring everything we have we shall end up with a nearly complete record.(54)

The correspondence between Campbell-Drury and White on the copying of the footage illuminates something of how the received story of the AAE film evolved, in the context of film archiving practices of the time and the not always sophisticated policies of a nascent screen archive. For example, White intended to destroy the originals after copying to the cost-saving 16mm format, but fortunately Campbell-Drury had more foresight, ‘[as] there are no other records of the 1911–1914 AAE film it might be advisable to keep it in its present 35mm form … It is assumed that this could then [be] reprinted down to 16mm positive if so required’.(55)

White seems to have agreed to send at least some of this copied material back to the Antarctic Division in the hope that the Division’s inside knowledge could contribute to a reconstruction based on the script of the ‘lecture film’ White was certain existed. Campbell-Drury had sighted no such script, but suggested that a reconstruction was possible through reference to the subtitles and alternative footage in the AAE negative material.(56)

White tried the few surviving AAE expeditioners, such as John King Davis, Cecil Madigan, FL Stillwell and Frank Hurley, from whom he asked for ‘… any notes on the making of the film? In particular, we thought that you might have a copy of the lecture which accompanied the edited version [of] “HOME OF THE BLIZZARD”’.(57)

Thus the current received history of Home of the Blizzard falls into place. It only needs Frank Hurley to have the last word. Although other on-file correspondence suggests that National Library staff were in contact with daughter Toni Hurley, White seems to have received no reply from Frank Hurley to his AAE inquiry.

However, Hurley did subsequently come out prior to his death to confirm himself as the public guardian of this material, possibly in the wake of the Sydney Film Festival’s June 1961 retrospective of his work. Later that year, clearly in response to the AAE footage having now come into the hands of the Commonwealth, Hurley agreed to be interviewed on-camera by a Commonwealth Film Unit crew.

Fig. 21: AAE film still, taken from a promotional poster, 1913 NFSA: 360787

The footage was utilised by the Commonwealth Film Unit for two released films: Mawson’s Expedition to the Antarctic (1961), essentially Hurley’s oral history of his AAE experiences; and [aso[Australia Today – Antarctic Pioneers]] (1963), an expansion of the first film released soon after his death. The latter also covered Hurley’s later BANZARE experience and, oddly, gave the impression of his involvement in post-BANZARE Antarctic activity in which he took no part.

From a historical perspective the Commonwealth Film Unit productions are valuable in confirming that footage from among the 13 reels of negative not in the ‘lecture film’(Home of the Blizzard) was copied at that time. Scenes not in Home of the Blizzard, but in The Mawson Antarctic Expedition, Version 1 and 2 footage appear, for example: the Hobart departure in December 1911; the establishment of Commonwealth Bay; and the recovered western base party on board ship in March 1913.

The selection of footage that accompanies Hurley’s oral account of the AAE expedition plays loose with the events: the March 1913 footage is used to illustrate the December 1911 departure, for example. The edit was probably assembled in-house by the Commonwealth Film Unit at the time and Hurley may not have been consulted. But, as I’ll argue, he may not have had as detailed a knowledge of the footage as has been assumed anyway. And only the few AAE survivors then still alive would have known any better.

Was the AAE official film released as Home of the Blizzard?

I’ve noted Douglas Mawson’s unwillingness to call the AAE film by the title others have been enthusiastic to use: Home of the Blizzard. This is not an entirely original train of thought. That any official, commercially released AAE film was in fact distributed under this title has long been suspect among the Australian film history community.
Fig. 22: Poster promoting the screening of the AAE film in Sydney on 30 July 1913 NFSA: 360787

Chris Long has pointed out discrepancies between the Home of the Blizzard material held by the NFSA and descriptions of the film released in 1913.(58) Eric Reade’s Australian Silent Films notes both Dr Mawson’s Antarctic Film Series and Life in the Antarctic as titles used in 1913 – but also somehow (reflecting an idée fixe of Australian film history) that ‘… it had been titled Home of the Blizzard’.(59) Ken Berryman’s and Ina Bertrand’s entries for The Oxford Companion to Australian Cinema reiterate doubts about the film’s iterations.(60) Even the Internet Movie Data Base prefers Dr Mawson in Antarctica.(61)

In fact, and as Reade alludes, Life in the Antarctic is just one of the titles used among the bombast of newspaper advertisements for the AAE film in Sydney and Melbourne, in 1913. This is an era when typeface repetition substituted in newspaper cinema advertisements for artwork, and it can be difficult to work out what the film was called from the column ads or reviews. The Mawson Antarctic Expedition or Life in the Antarctic are just some of the headlines that column advertisements in the Melbourne Argus give the film over its July Melbourne season.(62) When it reached West’s Sydney Crystal Palace, The Sydney Morning Herald’s column advertisement for 4 August 1913 describes the film as Dr Mawson’s Antarctic Film Series, then later as The Mawson Pictures.(63)




None of the newspaper reviews indicate a specific descriptor for the film, apart from nomenclature like ‘the official Antarctic pictures’. Internal Gaumont, AAE and Spencer’s Pictures paperwork is equally uncertain about what to call the 1913 film: when Gaumont supplies Conrad Eitel with 1913 season receipts on 5 September 1913 they are for ‘The Mawson Film’; supplying receipts for its negligible tour of Western Australia in October, it is now Dr Mawson’s South Pole Film.(64) West’s Film Exchange, when corresponding with Eitel over the supply of foyer publicity material in August 1913 vaguely call it ‘the Mawson Pictures’.(65) The insured negative was described as Antarctica.(66) About the only title never used in 1913 was Home of the Blizzard.

Nor was Home of the Blizzard used as a title for releases in Australia in 1912, 1914 or for subsequent releases.


I have argued against long-standing assumptions about Frank Hurley’s role in the making of the film known as Home of the Blizzard, suggesting that his contribution went little beyond that of cinematographer.

I’ve also suggested that even this role wasn’t his alone: others, especially Gaumont Australia’s then cameraman Richard Primmer, contributed to the now iconic moving imagery of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE). And by looking at the provenance of the AAE footage held by the NFSA, including the Home of the Blizzard material, I’ve begun to examine Sir Douglas Mawson’s poorly understood role as its ‘producer’ and auteur.

Frank Hurley’s celebrity, and its occasional tendency to claim retrospective authorship over every project which he brushed past, is the first confronting problem in the issue of Home of the Blizzard for Australian cinema history studies.

The authorship debate is only an insertion-point into the core discussion; what exactly was – or is – the film Graham Shirley and Brian Adams describe in Australian Cinema: The First Eighty Years as ‘the earliest Australian feature-length film to survive in its entirety’.(67) And is it really?

In an essay to be published on this website in 2012, I will argue that the NFSA video catalogue title ‘Home of the Blizzard: Frank Hurley, 1913’ is a misnomer. None of the descriptors of the AAE are in fact accurate: neither the title Home of the Blizzard, nor ‘made’ by Frank Hurley, nor the release date of 1913 explain the true history of the footage.

I will focus further on Mawson’s ‘authorship’ of the AAE film, and also on a likely reason why he may have been a little obtuse – and some of Frank Hurley’s biographers a little confused – about the title of the film and the variety of versions of the AAE film that in fact circulated in the years after and even before 1913.

To do so, I’ll look in detail at the history, form and possible content of the, at least, six substantially different commercially-released versions of the AAE footage that can be identified:

May–July 1912, Australia
July–August 1913, Australia
August–September 1914, Australia
October 1914–1915, North America
May 1915, London
1916–? in distribution, North America

As can be seen, many of these dates confound the received story of the film and assumptions about its content, but also the presumption that the NFSA’s Home of the Blizzard footage is the film released in 1913. I will attempt to reconcile the many different AAE-released film offspring with the footage preserved by the NFSA, in an attempt to confirm what has actually survived from the above slate, and what can be reconstructed. After all, the possibility of film restoration is always the nicest outcome of writing film history.

An earlier version of this essay was published in Journal of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2007.

Go to AKA Home of the Blizzard: Part One.


37The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 11 August 1930, viewed 24 October 2011.
38 The BFI in fact referred the producers of the Shackleton mini-series to the NFSA for the material used in the mini-series.
39 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Canberra, NFSA internal document (TRIM: 98/01142).
40 Ayres, P 1999, Mawson: A Life, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, p 140.
41 Mawson to TV Holland, 3 November 1955, NFSA: 98/01142.
42 Burmester to Mawson, 30 November 1955,. NFSA: 98/01142.
43 Letter Mawson to Liam O’Leary (BFI) 12 March 1956, NFSA: 98/01142.
44 Mawson to White, 1 May 1958, NFSA: 98/01142.
45 White to Mawson, 24 July 1956, NFSA: 98/01142.
46 Mawson to White, 1 May 1958, NFSA: 98/01142.
47 See Law and Michaelis correspondence, August to September 1954, Antarctic Division NAA: CA 1873, in the National Archives of Australia.
48 White to Stanley Hawes, 4 July 1958; White to Department of External Affairs, 11 July 1958; White to Mawson, 15 July 1958; Mawson to White, 15 August 1958; Department of External Affairs to White, 18 August 1958. NFSA: 98/01142.
49 Thompson to White, 29 February 1960, NFSA: 98/01142.
50 ‘General report on condition of film, 20.10.1955 [sic]’, NFSA: 98/01142.
51 White to the manager of Automatic Laboratories, 8 June 1960, NFSA: 98/01142.
52 Dove (Automatic Film Laboratory) to White, 24 June 1960, NFSA: 98/01142. Automatic attached to the letter two very faded frames of the film – still attached to the letter when the file was rediscovered in 2002.
53 White to Campbell-Drury, 19 January 1961, NFSA: 98/01142.
54 HL White, ‘Memoriam for the Librarian’, 21 April 1961, NFSA: 98/01142.
55 Campbell-Drury to White, 26 May 1960, NFSA: 98/01142.
56 White to Campbell-Drury, 18 July 1960; Campbell-Drury to White, 9 May 1961, NFSA: 98/01142.
57 White to Hurley, 13 May 1960, NFSA: 98/01142.
58 Chris Long presumes that this was the UK release version. See Long, C, ‘Documentary and Non-Fiction’ in McFarlane, B, Mayer, G & Bertrand I (eds) 1995, The Oxford Companion to Australian Film, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, p 113; Long, C & Rodgers, W, ‘Australian Film History: Three New Projects’ in Cinema Papers, October 1998, p 39.
59 Reade, E 1970, Australian Silent Films, Lansdowne Press, Melbourne, p 72–73.
60 Berryman, K ‘Lost Films’ and Bertrand, I ‘Frank Hurley’ in McFarlane, Mayer & Bertrand I (eds), Oxford Companion to Australian Film, p 223 and 270.
61The Internet Movie Database, visited 6 June 2007.
62 For example, see The Argus, 21 July 1913, p 9; 24 July 1913, p 12; 26 July 1913, p 24.
63The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August, p 2.
64 Mitchell Library MLMSS 171, Vol. 21, pp 93–95, 117–119.
65 West’s Film Exchange to Eitel, 16 August 1913, Mitchell Library MLMSS 171, Vol. 17, p 439.
66 Robinson and Mitchell to Eitel, 13 October 1913, Mitchell Library MLMSS 171, Vol. 21, p 103.
67 Shirley G & Adams B 1989, Australian Cinema, the First Eighty Years, revised edition, Currency Press, Sydney, p 285.


The contribution of those who have made this essay possible cannot be understated, especially Alasdair McGregor, whose research for his biography Frank Hurley: A Photographer’s Life (2004) first opened this can of worms. Deep thanks go to Alasdair for what was generously shared and for his own acknowledgment to me in A Photographer’s Life. Sections in this essay relating to Frank Hurley’s AAE activities draw from the same well of primary sources, and are also covered in McGregor’s book, although with a different emphasis – especially the circumstances of Hurley’s AAE appointment. Also essential has been Mark Pharaoh, Senior Collection Manager of the Australian Polar Collection, South Australian Museum and volunteer researcher Clive Wilson-Roberts, South Australian Museum; Gareth Thomas from the Mawson family; and various members of the Friends of Mawson, especially Nancy Robinson Flannery and Ian Flannery. Again, all should be seen as collaborators on this essay. Ken Berryman and Helen Tully from the NFSA, Adele Hann from the Adelaide International Film Festival, Juanita Kwok of the Sydney Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Suzie Gasper, the AFI Research Collection and Screen Tasmania also all gave assistance at various times. Some of this material was first presented in a paper given at the 2002 History and Film Conference, Flinders University, Adelaide.