University of Tasmania
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Beyond the heroic stereotype: Sidney Jeffryes and the mythologising of Australian Antarctic history

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 04:33 authored by Elizabeth LeaneElizabeth Leane, Ben Maddison, Kimberley NorrisKimberley Norris
In 2010 the Australian Antarctic Names and Medals Committee announced that it had named a glacier near Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica in honour of Sidney Jeffryes. Jeffryes was a member of Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), 1911-14, and the decision to attach his name to an Antarctic feature, coming just before the centenary of the AAE’s departure, reflected a gradual historical revisionism around the expedition occurring at this time. Seeking to ‘honour … historically significant figures … whose contributions [to the AAE] have not yet been recognised’, the Committee also attached the names of two other previously ignored members of the expedition to glaciers (AG, ‘Australian Antarctic Glaciers Named’). In 2017 this approach was extended to include the non-human, when 26 islands, rocks and reefs around the site of the AAE headquarters were named in honour of the ‘beloved dogs, which played a critical role in Australia’s heroic era of exploration’ (AG, ‘Mawson’s Huskies’). After nearly a century of focus on the ‘Great Man’ of Australian Antarctic history—Mawson—the criteria for significance were beginning to broaden.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Australian Humanities Review








School of Humanities


Australian National University

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Copyright 2019 Australian Humanities Review

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Understanding Australia’s past; Understanding past societies not elsewhere classified