A man of great vision and determination, Sir Douglas Mawson is a hero in every sense of the word, responsible for a legacy of scientific knowledge and great inspiration. His collection and the exhibit are inspiring to all visitors.
The South Australian Museum's gallery 'In the Footsteps of Sir Douglas Mawson' uses artefacts and specimens to give some insight into the achievements of this remarkable man whose scientific curiosity took him from the hot Australian outback to the frozen Antarctic.
The gallery displays many of Mawson's personal belongings: his sled, scientific tools, boots, camel-hair sleeping bag, mittens and balaclavas. There are letters, papers, photographs and a model of the hut where he and his team lived. There is even a real ice-wall and an Antarctic rock that visitors can touch.
Sir Douglas Mawson's half sledge and knife were recently included in the list of 2005 Bank SA Heritage Icons, compiled by the National Trust. Mawson used the knife to saw his sledge in half following the death of his two companions while they were surveying the Antarctic in 1912. With the half sledge Mawson travelled the 160km alone back to base camp. The half sledge and knife form part of the Mawson Collection at the South Australian Museum and are on display in the exhibition In the Footsteps of Douglas Mawson.