Protective clothing worn on Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1913, by Morton Henry Moyes

Contributed by: Individual

Morton Henry Moyes, Antarctica, ca 1911, half plate photonegative, State Library of NSW Snow helmet used by Morton Henry Moyes during Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1913 Balaclava used by Morton Henry Moyes during Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1913 Sun goggles used by Morton Henry Moyes during Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1913 John Robert Francis Wild & Morton Henry Moyes in "The Grottoes", ca 1911, Shackleton Ice Shelf (Antarctica), quarter plate photonegative, State Library of NSW Moyes on nightwatch duty at "The Grottoes", ca 1911, Shackleton Ice Shelf (Antarctica), half plate photonegative, State Library of NSW Morton Henry Moyes' outfit for his search for Charles Turnbull Harrison, ca 1912, Shackleton Ice Shelf (Antarctica), quarter plate photonegative, State Library of NSW
  • Australian dress register ID:

    496
  • Owner:

    Individual
  • Owner registration number:

    H9550
  • Date range:

    1911 - 1913
  • Place of origin:

    England
  • Gender:

    Male
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Object information

Significance statement

These protective accessories were worn by Morton Henry Moyes who worked as a meteorologist on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) between 1911 and 1913. They are part of a collection of protective clothing worn by Moyes on the AAEand are indicative of some of the equipment necessary to survive and work in the harsh conditions of Antarctica. Along with related items in the collection, they signify Australia's immense contribution to exploration and scientific research in the Antarctic region and provide insight into a story of adventure, hardship and tragedy in a time of heroic Antarctic exploration.

Led by (Sir) Douglas Mawson, the AAE charted and explored sections of the Antarctic coast. The expedition also successfully used radio communications for the first time in Antarctica and carried out valuable studies in geology, biology, meteorology, magnetism and oceanography. 

Alongside the later Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) of 1929-1930, the AAE laid the basis for Australia's claims to almost 42 per cent of the Antarctic continent and resulted in some of the most important Australian scientific undertakings and discoveries of the 20th century.

Unfortunately, the AAE was not without hardship and tragedy. During the summer of 1912-1913, through unavoidable circumstances, Moyes was left to carry on work alone at the AAE base for a period of nine weeks. Several reminiscences were later published by Moyes describing his torrid experiences during this time.

Further to this, during a sledging expedition undertaken by Douglas Mawson, Xavier Mertz and Belgrade Ninnis, an accident occurred whereby a team of six dogs, a sledge containing most of the party's food and Ninnis himself, fell into a deep crevasse. Attempting to make their way back to the base 500 kilometres away, Mawson and Mertz were forced to eat their remaining dogs for food. One hundered kilometres away from the base Mertz died and Mawson was left to complete the journey by himself arriving back at AAE hut on the 29th of January, 1913, only to find that his ship and all but six of his team had already set sail for Australia.

Author: Michelle Brown, Assistant Curator (02/02/2007), revised by Rebecca Anderson, PHM Curatorial Volunteer, 25/09/2013.

Description

These sun goggles are are made out of celluloid, Bakelite®, velvet and cotton elastic. The lenses, which are yellow/green in colour, join across the bridge of the nose with a piece of elastic. There are three holes in either side of each lens and a thin strip of brown velvet has been sewn around the rim of each eye piece. The goggles secure around the head with brown elastic straps that fasten with a metal hook and eye. There is a metal buckle on one side of the strap which can be used to adjust the length.

This balaclava was worn by Morton Henry Moyes as part of his protective clothing during the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Sir Douglas Mawson between 1911 and 1914. It is made out of charcoal coloured, machine-knitted, wool and has a V-shaped opening cut into its face, above which is a short visor. The wool around the neck of the balaclava is slightly frayed and there is a pom-pom on top.

This snow helmet, which is kaki green in colour, consists of a head to shoulder duffled covering with a pipe-framed bucket hood around the face. It is made out of gabardine and the hood has a single button fastening at its base. The crown of the hood is flat and five flat pannels attach to it, flaring out over the sholders. Moyes' name is written in black ink on the inner side of the hood and there are some black markings on the back of the helmet.

Link to further information about this object

History and Provenance

Morton Henry Moyes (1886-1981) was born on 29 June 1886 at Koolunga, South Australia, to parents John Moyes and Ellen Jane, née Stoward.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

Moyes graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1910 with a Bachelor of Science in physics and mathematics. He studied geology under Douglas Mawson, who later hired him to join the Australian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914 as the team's meteorologist.

On his return to Australia from Antarctica in March 1913, Moyes became headmaster of the University Coaching College, Sydney. In February 1914 he was recruited as a naval instructor at the Royal Australian Naval College, specialising in mathematics and later in navigation. 

In January 1916 Moyes was made navigating officer of the 'Aurora', which sailed from New Zealand to the Ross Sea to rescue members of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 'Endurance' expedition. Moyes returned to the Navy in 1919 as instructor lieutenant with seniority, and was promoted to instructor lieutenant-commander in 1920 and commander in 1924.

At Mawson's request, Moyes was seconded to the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, 1929-1930, where he served as Survey Officer for the scientific staff.

In recognition of the work undertaken during his three Antarctic expeditions, Moyes was awarded a bronze clasp, polar medals in bronze and silver and in 1935 he received an Order of the British Empire.

Where did this information come from?

Australian Dictionary of Biography Online: http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.auAustralian Antarctic Division: http://www-new.aad.gov.au/

Haywood, Elizabeth, 'Australian Antarctica: Celebrating fifty years of Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions', Australia Post Philatelic Group, Melbourne, 1997

Mortimer, Gavin, 'Shackleton and the Antarctic Explorers: The men who battled to reach the South Pole', Carlton Books Ltd, Dubai, 1999

This garment has been exhibited

Sun Goggles: Currently on display at the Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill, E Store - Level 2

Balaclava: Currently on display at the Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill, E Store - Level 2

Snow Helmet: Currently on display at the Powerhouse Discovery Centre, Castle Hill, E Store - Level 2

  1. Place of origin:

    England

  2. Owned by:

    Morton Henry Moyes

  3. Worn by:

    Worn by Morton Henry Moyes in his role as meteorologist on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1913.

  4. Occasion(s):

    Worn by Morton Henry Moyes on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Sir Douglas Mawson, between 1911 and 1913.

  5. Place:

    Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica.

  6. Made by:

    Sun Goggles: Maker unknown

    Balaclava: Maker unknown

    Snow Helmet: Made in England by the luxury fashion company Burberry Group plc.

  7. Made for:

    Participants of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Sir Douglas Mawson.

Trimmings / Decoration

These sun goggles are unadorned.

This balaclava is adorned with a pom-pom.

This snow helmet has Moyes' name written in black ink on the inner side of the hood and there are some black markings on its back.

Fibre / Weave

These sun goggles are are made out of celluloid, Bakelite®, velvet and cotton elastic.

This balaclava is made out of charcoal coloured wool, possibly coloured using natural dye.

This snow helmet is made out of kaki green coloured cotton gabardine, possibly coloured using natural dye.

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye

Manufacture

These goggles were manufactured in England around 1911. Brown velvet has been hand sewn around the rim of each lens and the goggles's elastic head band has been hand sewn to the lenses.

This balaclava is both machine knitted and hand sewn. It was made in England around 1911

This snow helmet was made in London, England, around 1911, it is machine sewn. It was made by Burberry, now a luxury fashion company. In 1879 Thomas Burberry invented a weatherproof cloth that could breathe and keep cool under the most inclement conditions. He went on to create the foundation of a business that went on to serve men everywhere, from the trenches of World War I to the windswept polar regions of Antarctica. Burberry fitted out the Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen polar expeditions as well as Mallory’s 1924 ill-fated attempt on Everest.

Label

No labels.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other

Cut

These sun goggles were shaped to fit snugly over the eyes of the wearer, reducing exposure to sun and wind. The adjustable brown elastic which attaches the two eye pieces together, and which attaches the goggles around the back of the head, helped the eyepieces to fit firmly against the face and stay in place.

This balaclava was cut in a way that made it both snugly fitting and practical. The V-shaped opening cut into its face allowed the wearer to see and breathe comfortably, while minimising the amount of skin left exposed to the severe climatic elements of Antarctica.

This snow helmet was shaped in a way that allowed it to fit over the top of layers of protective, insulating, clothing. The bottom of the snow helmet flares out, enabling it to sit over the collar of the wearer's' jacket and it is large enough to fit over a balaclava. The pipe-framed bucket hood, which fitted around the wearer's face and fastened at the bottom with a single button, has been reinforced with machine stitching.

  1. Bias
  2. Straight

Fastenings

These sun goggles secure around the head with brown elastic straps that fasten with a metal hook and eye.

This balaclava has no fastenings.

This snow helmet's hood is fastened with a single button at its base.

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

The rim of these sun goggles has a layer of velvet attached to them which protects the wearer from the sharp edges of the eyepieces.

This balaclava contains no stiffening, lining or padding.

This snow helmet's round, pipe-framed, bucket hood has been reinforced with machine stitching. The edge of the hood has been reinforced with a thin ridgid support, possibly made out of metal.

Measurements

Sun Goggles: When laid out in one length this pair of goggles measures 620mm long, 57mm high and 25mm deep.

Balaclava: The inside hem circumference of this balaclava is 610mm and the distance across the front peak is 280mm.

Snow Helmet: The inside hem circumference of this snow helmet is 1340mm. It is 450mm wide, 375mm high and approximately 500mm deep. The width of the brim is 280mm.

Note: Each objects measurement has been taken when object is orientated as worn.

Condition

The fibres of the balaclava look felted worn and matted.

The sun goggles' hook and clasp show signs of slight corrosion. The goggles' celluloid, Bakelite® lenses seem scratched and slightly cracked.

The snow helmet is faded, worn and has black and white marks and smears on its lower hood.

Insect damage

The balaclava has many small holes accross its lower front and back, possibly caused by insect damage.

The sun goggles and snow helmet show no sign of insect damage.

State

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor

Damage

  1. Brittle
  2. Crease
  3. Discolouration
  4. Fading
  5. Frayed
  6. Holes
  7. Stained
  8. Stretched
  9. Worn

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