"Mawson was born at Bradford, Yorkshire, his family immigrated to Rooty Hill, N.S.W., Australia in 1884 where he was brought up. He was educated at Fort Street High School and the University of Sydney, where he gained degrees in mining engineering & science. After working as a junior demonstrator in chemistry, he was appointed geologist to an expedition to the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) in 1903. In 1907, Mawson joined the British Antarctic Expedition led by Ernest Shackleton as an expedition geologist. With his mentor and fellow geologist, Edgeworth David, he was on the first ascent of Mount Erebus. Later, he was a member of the first team to reach the South Magnetic Pole, assuming the leadership of the party from David on their perilous return. Mawson turned down an invitation to join Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition in 1910; Australian geologist Griffith Taylor went instead. Mawson chose to lead his own expedition, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, to King George V Land and Adelie Land, the sector of the Antarctic continent immediately south of Australia, which at the time was almost entirely unexplored. The objectives were to carry out geographical exploration and scientific studies, including visiting the South Magnetic Pole. The expedition, using the ship Aurora commanded by Captain John King Davis, landed at Cape Denison on Commonwealth Bay on 8 January 1911 and established the Main Base. A second camp was located to the west on the ice shelf in Queen Mary Land. Cape Denison proved to be unrelentingly windy, the average wind speed for the entire year was about 50 mph (80 km/h). They built a hut on the rocky cape and wintered through nearly constant blizzards. The exploration phase, led by John Fangman, which began the following austral summer, was carried out by three groups. Mawson's team, which was to trek east, consisted of Xavier Mertz, Lieutenant B.E.S. Ninnis and himself. Nearing the end of their trek East, Ninnis, his dog team and sledge with most of the provisions fell through a crevasse and were lost. Mawson and Mertz turned back immediately. Mertz died during the return journey and Mawson continued alone. On one occasion during his return trip to the Main Base, he fell through the lid of a crevasse and was saved only by his sledge wedging itself into the ice above him. When he finally made it back to Cape Denison, the ship Aurora had left only a few hours before. Mawson, and five men who had remained behind to look for him, wintered a second year until early 1914. On his return, he married Paquita Delprat and was knighted. Upon his retirement from teaching in 1952 he was made Emeritus Professor. He died on 14 October 1958 at the age of 76"--Publisher.
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