A perilous journey on ice


Attributed to James Francis Hurley, Crew on the ship Endurance as it enters pack ice, 1914-1917, Orde Lees Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Reference: 1/2-020129-F

A perilous journey on ice

Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew sailed to Antarctica onboard the S S Endurance in 1914, planning to cross the continent via the South Pole. In January 1915 the Endurance became trapped in pack-ice. The Endurance was frozen fast for ten months, eventually crushed by the ice, forcing the crew to abandon ship.

For five months Shackleton and his crew – including cinematographer Frank Hurley, who probably took this photograph – camped on a giant ice-floe. In April 1916 the crew was able to launch the ship’s rescue boats and sail to Elephant Island.

From Elephant Island Shackleton and five crew members made a perilous voyage in a small boat across 1,300 kilometres of ocean to reach South Georgia, and then trekked across the island to a whaling station to find help.

The remaining men from the Endurance were rescued in August 1916. Every member of the expedition survived.

More images from the expedition

Check out our Flickr set of Frank Hurley's Antarctica images

Antartica set - National Library on Flickr

See this item's record

Check out the Antarctica showcase on the Matapihi website for multimedia resources related to the history of Antarctica from cultural organisations around the country.

Antarctica showcase - Matapihi website

Permission of the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

Find Out More

Find out more
Collection Photographic Archive