February 6, 1912: The Aurora in search of Wilkes’ disputed land

[Mawson’s ship Aurora, Captain John King Davis commanding, headed west after establishing the base camp at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay, to land Frank Wild’s western party on unexplored shores.]

–from Captain Davis’ narrative in Douglas Mawson’s Home of the Blizzard

“In laying our plans we had hoped to disembark the western land party in the vicinity of Knox Land, if not already accomplished farther to the east.  It was, therefore, most disappointing when impenetrable ice blocked the way before Wilkes’ “farthest south” in that locality had been reached.  Three determined efforts were made to find a weak spot, but each time the Aurora was forced to retreat, and the third time was extricated only with great difficulty.

“In latitude 65 degrees 5′ S. longitude 107 degrees 20′ E., a sounding of three hundred fathoms was made on a rocky bottom.  In our opinion this sounding points to the probability of land within sixty miles–so far confirming Wilkes’ report of land in this vicinity.”

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