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Richards, Richard Walter

Richards, Richard Walter

Alias: Dick

Title: Mr

Dates: 1893-1985

Nationality: Australian

Awards: Polar Medal (silver); Albert Medal (1923)

Richard Walter (Dick) Richards was born on 14 November 1983 in Bendigo, Australia. He attended Bendigo High School and studied mathematics and science at Melbourne University. He was lecturing at the Junior Technical School in Ballarat when he was selected as physicist for the Ross Sea Party on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-17 (Aurora).

Richards was a member of the party with the task of laying a chain of depots across the Ross Ice Shelf towards the Beardmore Glacier, providing supplies for Shackleton’s trans-polar party. As one of the few capable of hauling during the gruelling southern journey, he was instrumental in saving the lives of several companions, an achievement for which he was awarded the Albert Medal (later exchanged for the George Cross). On his return to the base at Cape Evans in July 1916, Richards became serious ill and was looked after by John Lachlan Cope.

After the expedition, Richards resumed teaching in Australia and in 1964 was appointed principal of the School of Mines and Industry at Ballarat, he position which he held until his retirement in 1958. Richards died on 8 May 1985 at Point Lonsdale, Australia. He is commemorated in the Antarctic with Richards Inlet (83°20' S 168°30' E).

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