23 August 1898

The Southern Cross Expedition, the first British venture of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, departs from London.

The 1898 Southern Cross Expedition was an important scientific journey led by Carsten Borchgrevink, a Norwegian-British explorer, to the continent of Antarctica. This expedition is notable for being one of the earliest attempts to conduct scientific research in Antarctica and for contributing to our understanding of the region’s harsh conditions.

Leader and Participants: Carsten Borchgrevink, a Norwegian-born British explorer, organized and led the expedition. The team included scientists, crew members, and explorers from various backgrounds.

Ship and Arrival: The expedition was carried out aboard the ship “Southern Cross,” which was a steamship and sail-powered vessel. The expedition party arrived in Antarctica in January 1899, making landfall at Cape Adare on the northern tip of the continent.

Scientific Focus: The primary goal of the expedition was to conduct scientific research and gather data about the natural environment, wildlife, meteorology, and geography of Antarctica. The team collected specimens of plants, animals, and rocks, and conducted various studies related to the region’s geology, biology, and climate.

Wintering Over: The team spent the Antarctic winter of 1899 at Cape Adare. This was a challenging period due to the extreme cold, isolation, and limited resources. They constructed huts to shelter themselves from the harsh conditions.

Achievements and Challenges: Despite the difficulties, the expedition achieved significant scientific discoveries. They documented new species of animals and plants and conducted important studies on meteorological conditions and terrestrial magnetism. However, the team faced numerous challenges, including food shortages, disagreements among members, and the harsh Antarctic environment.

Legacy: The 1898 Southern Cross Expedition is often recognized for its pioneering efforts in conducting scientific research in Antarctica. It laid the groundwork for future explorations and expeditions that would contribute to our understanding of the continent’s unique ecosystem and its importance in global climate systems.

Publication: Upon returning to England, Borchgrevink published an account of the expedition titled “First on the Antarctic Continent.” The publication detailed the challenges and achievements of the expedition and further raised public awareness about Antarctica.