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Date: 1907-1909

Shackleton's first expedition to the Antarctic as leader had the ambitious goal of becoming the first to reach the South Pole. Expedition ship Nimrod was towed to the edge of the pack ice by Koonya in an attempt to save on coal. After a flurry of correspondence with Captain Scott, Shackleton had agreed to land his party away from the old Discovery base in McMurdo Sound. However, upon arriving in the Antarctic he was forced to re think as ice conditions made it impossible for him to create a base at his intended destination on Edward VII Land. Returning to Ross Island he set up a hut at Cape Royds the expedition ship sailed back to New Zealand leaving a party of fifteen to overwinter. The expedition introduced a number of innovations, using both Manchurian ponies and a motor car for sledge hauling along side more traditional methods of dog sledges and man hauling. A party led by the eminent scientist Tannant William Edgeworth David became the first to climb the active volcano Mount Erebus between 5th and 11th of March 1908. He along with Douglas Mawson and Allister Mackay also became the first to attain the South Magnetic Pole, 16 January 1909. During the Antarctic winter of 1908 the first book to be published on the continent, Aurora Australis was produced using a printing press supplied by Joseph Causton & Sons and brought from England, illustrated by George Marston, Ernest Joyce and Frank Wild acted as printers while the volumes were bound by Bernard Day using packing cases made of Venesta board. Shackleton's attempt to reach the South Pole fell just short, when, suffering from lack of food and battling blizzards and headwind he made the decision to turn around less than a hundred miles from his goal. The five men party consisting of Shackleton, Jameson Adams, Eric Marshall and John Robert Francis [Frank] Wild had pioneered a route up the Beardmore Glacier becoming the first men to stand on the polar plateau. Their return journey was a race against time which they would have lost if Nimrod had not stayed longer than the appointed leaving date, but they sailed for home in March 1909 with all members of the expedition safely on board. Shackleton became a national hero being knighted for his achievements. Expedition voyages: 1: London to Lyttelton 1907. 2: Lyttelton to the Antarctic and back January-March 1908. 3: Lyttelton to the Antarctic and back December 1908 - March 1909. 4: Lyttelton to Sydney to London 1909.

Nimrod Expedition sledging flag - film