November 1912: Moyes alone

–from Leif Mills’ Frank Wild

[Frank Wild’s western explorations had left Morton Henry Moyes alone at the home base, with the plan that Charles Harrison would return and rejoin him at the base in Queen Mary Land.  However, the while en route and for emerging circumstances, it was decided that Harrison would remain with the field party, thus leaving Moyes alone at the base, with no way of knowing that all was well in the field.  Moyes solitary sojourn at the hut was to last 67 days.]

“At the hut Moyes was counting the days until Harrison should appear.  As the week ended he climbed on to the roof each morning to see Harrison returning.  He got more and more anxious as the days went by and Harrison did not appear.  He said later [Walkabout] ‘My anxiety increased as he became well overdue.  There seemed to be no reason why he should not have returned.  Ther had been no blizzard to cause delay or to blot out sledge tracks. . . .I could only think that disaster had struck Harrison, and in the agonizing few days of uncertainty that followed I could vividly picture him lying dead or injured somewhere out on that wide white plain.’

“Moyes was kept busy at the hut with taking reglar meteorological observations, but he was increasingly worried about Harrison. . . .He loaded a sledge with provisions and set off to man haul there.

“Moyes was able to follow the outward tracks of the party and after three days reached the crevassed region where ht though he might find a trace of Harrison.  There was nothing there.  Moyes wondered if some disaster had overtaken the whole party.  He searched the area and then reluctantly decided he had to turn back.”


One thought on “November 1912: Moyes alone

  1. I w
    I was interested to read details about Morton Henry Moyes, who was a meterologist with Mawson’s expeditions, 1911-1914. He was a third cousin to my late mother. Margaret Masterson (variations: Masters, Mastison) was a convict from Ireland,who was convicted of “passing forged notes” and arrived in NSW on board the “Elizabeth” in 1818. With her were her two daughters, Ann aged 8 and Alice aged 4. Ann Mastison married Alexander Brown at Parramatta on 25 August, 1830. On the same day her sister Alice married John Owen – married by the Reverend Samuel Marsden. My great-great grandparents were Ann and Alexander Brown. Alexander Brown was a convict from Edinburgh who arrived in NSW on board the “Guilford” in 1822. He was assigned to the Mcarthur family at Camden as a groom. After he gained his freedom, Alexander was appointed a police constable at Parramatta. A daughter of John and Alice Owen was Elizabeth Owen, born 1837 who married William Moyes and then lived at Picton, NSW. William and Elizabeth had a son, John Moyes, a school teacher, (later headmaster of St Peters School in Adelaide) who was born in Parramatta, NSW. He married Ellen Stoward, born in Orange, NSW, who was the daughter of a mining engineer. John and Ellen (nee Stoward) Moyes had four sons and two daughters. One son being Morton Henry Moyes. So Morton was a great-great grandson of Margaret Mastison, the convict who arrived in 1818. Morton had three brothers and two sisters. One brother was John Stoward Moyes, who was the Anglican Bishop of Armidale, NSW. Another brother was Alban George “Johnny” Moyes, cricket commentator and journalist. “Johnny” was selected to play cricket for Australia, but Word War I intervened so he went off to war and won the Military Cross. See the Australian Dictionary of Biography website – – for details about Morton and his brothers.

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