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Scott, November 1910

November 25, 2010


Scott and Shackleton chose the Port of Lyttelton as the New Zealand base for their Discovery, Nimrod and Terra Nova expeditions. Scott was reportedly given two choices of base for his first expedition: Melbourne and Christchurch – each of which had a magnetic observatory. He may have chosen Christchurch simply because it was closer to the Antarctic, but the presence of his cousin, R.J. Scott, a Professor of Engineering at the University of Canterbury, may also have had an influence. As in Port Chalmers, there were generous offers of goods and services from the Harbour Board and local businesses. Scott and Shackleton were rewarded with similar generosity on their subsequent expeditions, as was the Australasian Antarctic Expedition when its ship the Aurora called at Lyttelton in 1912. [ Pics below: Scott’s ships in Lyttelton Harbour, the Magnetic Observatory at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and a teacup from the Terra Nova (in the Lyttelton museum).] 



The Terra Nova sailed from Lyttelton to Port Chalmers in Otago. There was a half-day holiday on the 29th November for the people of Dunedin, many of whom saw the Terra Nova sail . There is a recipe in a book I have for ‘Scott’s Farewell Square’, which is a chocolatey, raisiny, datey, walnutty, cocoa-y, buttery, syrupy, eggy, Weet-Bixy treat

It was heavy going for the Terra Nova on her voyage to the Pole. In ‘South With Scott’ Admiral Lord Mountevans reports that conditions were bad on account of hundreds of miles of pack ice they had to sail through.

Fortune smiled upon them for Christmas as they had been able to catch nine penguins which they then had roasted for their dinner. Lord Mountevans adds that they had an enormous box of Fry’s fancy chocolates for dessert.

But it ended badly.

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