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John Henry Collison Close, Antarctic Expeditioner (1871-1949)
Image: Photograph - Frank Hurley, Portrait of J.H. Close, 1911-1914
Source: Museum Victoria
John Henry Collison Close, was born in Sydney in 1871. At the age of twenty, with the outbreak of the South African War, he enlisted in the armed forces and saw active service in Rhodesia. When he was selected to join the Australian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) he was teaching physical culture in Sydney.
An Antarctic expeditioner with Sir Douglas Mawson from 1912-1914, Close was a member of the Main Base Party (Adelie Land) and several sledging parties. He spent two summers and one winter in the Antarctic.
On one of the sledging journeys, Close was instrumental in saving his own life and that of his two companions, Frank Stillwell and Charles Laseron. The group were about to enjoy a hot breakfast at 'Aladdin's Cave' - a shelter dug out of the snow on the plateau above Cape Denison - when Stillwell and Laseron suddenly collapsed unconscious. Realising that accumulating carbon monoxide was threatening their lives, Close thrust an ice axe through the snow blocking the cave's entrance before blacking out himself. The deadly gas escaped through the small hole, allowing the three men to regain consciousness and make a slow recovery.
Sir Douglas Mawson (1996). The home of the blizzard: the story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914. Wakefield Press, South Australia
Australian Antarctic Division. 'Home of the Blizzard'. http://www.mawsonshuts.aq/cape-denison/people/john-henry-collision-close.htm accessed 9/3/2010
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Great Britain Rhodesia 1896 British South Africa Company's Medal 1890 - 1897 Rhodesia 1896, Mint: Royal, London Other Details: British South Africa medal for service in Rhodesia, awar ...
The 'Aurora' or Mawson's Antarctic expedition vessel.From: Hobart, Australia Images: 1
Photograph of J.H. Close taken by Frank Hurley on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914. Part of a collection of Antarctic exploration documents and photographs. Close worke ...Images: 1
Emperor Penguin muff, which came with a matching stole, made from a penguin pelt brought back from the Antarctic by Australian Stanley Taylor. Stanley Gordon Roberts Taylor was Leading ...Images: 3
Emperor Penguin stole, which came with a matching muff, made from a penguin pelt brought back from the Antarctic by Australian Stanley Taylor. Stanley Gordon Roberts Taylor was Leading ...Images: 2
Great Britain Boer War Queen's South Africa Medal 1899 - 1902 Other Details: Awarded to J.H. Close, S.S. Major, Kitchener's F.S. for service in Transvaal, Orange Free State, Cape Col ...
Bryant and May Patent Safety Match Box collected by Australian Antarctic Division Director, Dr Phillip Law from Mawson's Huts, which were constructed during the Australasian Antarctic E ...Images: 2
Dip Circle in wooden case manufactured by Moritz Meyerstein. A Dip Circle is a geophysical instrument used to determine the inclination of the Earth's magnetic field to the horizontal a ...Images: 4
Wooden sledge used by Arch Hoadley on the Australasian Antarctic expedition 1911-1914, which was led by Douglas Mawson. Charles Archibald (Arch) Hoadley was a geologist on the Western p ...Images: 2
Great Britain, Polar Medals Antarctic Exploration Polar Medal 1904 - George V in silver with bars ANTARCTIC 1912 - 14 Other Details: Polar medal awarded to John Henry Collison Close. Cl ...