Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Read Diaries from Scott’s Final Antarctic Expedition

A grisly first-hand account of the discovery of explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s frozen body is now available to read online.

Canterbury Museum has digitised two diaries written by Tryggve Gran, a Norwegian who went to Antarctica with Scott’s Terra Nova expedition (1910–1913). The diaries can be viewed on the Museum’s Collections Online web page.

The Museum bought the diaries at auction in December 2018 for £150,000 (NZ$278,000).

One of the diaries, written in Norwegian, is an account of the expedition from 7 November 1911 to 25 February 1912. The other, in Gran’s imperfect English, covers the period until the expedition returned to Lyttelton, New Zealand, in February 1913.

The second diary describes Gran’s horror at finding the frozen bodies of Scott, Edward Wilson and Henry “Birdie” Bowers on 12 November 1912, more than 7 months after they perished returning from the South Pole.

“I will never forget it so long I live – a horrible nightmare could not have shown more horror than this,” he wrote. “The frost has made the skin yellow & transparent and I’ve never seen anything worse in my life.”

After retrieving the diaries and personal effects of Scott, Wilson and Bowers, Gran’s party collapsed the tent and piled snow on top of it to make a cairn. Gran made a cross from his own skis on the cairn, electing to take Scott’s skis back to the expedition’s base.

“I am using the Owner [Scott]’s ski[s] – they must finish the journey – and they will,” he wrote in his diary.

These skis are now on display at Holmenkollen Ski Museum in Oslo, Norway.

Gran’s English diary also covers his ascent of Mount Erebus with fellow expedition members Raymond Priestley and Frederick Hooper, and the Terra Nova’s arrival in New Zealand with news of Scott’s death.

Dr Jill Haley, Canterbury Museum Curator Human History, bid for the diaries on the Museum’s behalf when they were auctioned at Christie’s in London.

She says the diaries provide a unique eyewitness account of a significant event in world history.

“Tryggve Gran wrote books about his Antarctic adventures, but these diaries are unique because they weren’t written with an audience in mind. The events and feelings recorded in them are totally authentic.

“For example, when the Terra Nova arrived to pick the men up in 1913, Gran wrote, ‘Hurrah,’ in big letters all over one page. He was obviously very happy to be heading back to civilisation.”

The diaries’ purchase was funded by the Adson Trust, which was formed in 2010 after a generous posthumous donation to benefit the Museum from Arthur Henry Harrison of Blenheim.

“Mr Harrison’s generosity has allowed us to make sure the content of these diaries is shared with the world,” Dr Haley says.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: 1917's 1,000 Yard Stare

Sam Mendes has created a terrible and barbarous trek, one that we appreciate all the more for being catapulted right into the midst of this ear-splitting melee from the film's opening sequence. More>>

Floorball: NZ To Host World Cup Of Floorball In 2022

In a major coup for a minnow nation in the European-dominated sport of floorball, New Zealand has won the rights to host one of the sport’s marque international events. More>>

National Voyage Continues: Tuia 250 Ends

Tuia 250 has unleashed an unstoppable desire to keep moving forward and continue the kōrero about who we are, say the co-chairs of the Tuia 250 National Coordinating Committee, Dame Jenny Shipley and Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. More>>


Te Papa: New Chief Executive From Its Own Staff

Courtney Johnston has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Te Papa. Ms Johnston will take up the role in December 2019. Since its founding, Te Papa has had a dual leadership model, and as Tumu Whakarae|Chief Executive, Johnston will share the leadership with Kaihautū Dr Arapata Hakiwai. More>>


Over 150 Productions: NZ Fringe 2020 Has Launched

The upcoming festival will be held at 40 venues all over Wellington Region from 28 February to 21 March, and includes every genre possible—theatre, comedy, dance, music, clowning, cabaret, visual art, children’s shows and more! More>>





  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland