2008, 85 Minutes
The Douglas Mawson Antarctic Expedition of 1912 is one of the most amazing feats of physical and mental endurance of all time.
After an horrific journey across hundreds of kilometres of frozen wasteland, during which his two companions perished, the world was amazed to hear that Douglas Mawson had survived. Some questioned how it was possible, and the media of the day reported that he’d considered eating the body of his dead comrade, Xavier Mertz. Mawson was later knighted and became a hero, but the question of how he lived when others died has tantalised scientists, historians and explorers ever since.
Now, Australian adventurer Tim Jarvis retraces Mawson’s gruelling experience to find an answer. Having been almost killed during his own solo trek to the South Pole in 1999, he confronts the deadly ice again—as Mawson did, with similar meagre rations and primitive clothing and equipment.
It’s a bold and unprecedented historical experiment that will provide clues to what happened to Mawson physically—and mentally—as a man hanging on the precipice of life and death. Combining the drama of Jarvis’s contemporary adventure with chilling dramatic reconstructions, expert commentary and stunning footage from the original expedition photographed by Frank Hurley, this is an extraordinary story of human survival.
A Film Australia Making History Production in association with Orana Films. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Channel 4. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Writer/Director: Malcolm McDonald
Presenter: Tim Jarvis
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Classification: PG. Consumer advice: Survival themes.
Curriculum Links: Science, History, Geography, SOSE/HSIE, Personal Development, Health, Outdoor Education, English and Media.