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2 corrections, most recently by doug.butler - Show corrections

Antarctic Exploration

Money Was Scarce When Rymill Expsdition Started

When Mr. John Rymill, of Penola, approached the Scott Polar Expedition in London, in 1934, in the hope of securing some financial aid for an ex- pedition he was planning to Graham Land, south of South America, he received no help, but on placing his plans before the Royal Geographical Society, Admiral Sir William Goodenough persuaded the Colonial Office to give him a grant of £10,000.

"I estimated that it would      

need about £20,000 for a two year trip," Mr. Rymill told members of the Naracoorte Rotary Club in an address, "and while going around beg- ging, I was amazed at the willingness of many business people who were prepared to assist, either with cash or   supplies for the expedition."

He was also able to sell the book and press rights,

which further swelled the  



The first job was to find a ship, and he finally pur- chased one from Southamp- ton. it was an old Brittany fishing schooner which the French Government had taken over for a training ship for girls. It was later engaged in the bootlegging trade, until America re- pealed the Prohibition laws. He bought the ship for £2,000 and spent another £2,000 on repairs and eouipment.

Through Sir William Good- enough, who introduced him to an influential person at Lloyds, Mr. Rymill managed to insure the ship and use it as security against financial



As he could not afford the luxury of a crew, the party consisted of young Cam- bridge scientists, all of whom ultimately secured  

good positions as a result of their experiences gained through the expedition. The British Navy generously   provided three officers on full  

pay, and they were the only members of the crew who  

were paid.  

There were nine in the  

ship's company. They sailed the "Penola" 38,000 miles, sailing the Antarctic, and ex- periencing two winters.

When they had nearly reached their first base, they ran into a rock and badly cracked the keel of the "Pen- ola." Lord Leverhulme, who controls most of the whaling operations of the world, gave free docking facilities at   South Georgia for repairing the ship.

"Fortunately, the British Museum paid £4,000 for the  

published results of the ex- pedition, and a wealthy

public-spirited citizen offered   to buy the "Penola" as a training ship. In fact, it was the last boys' training ship to leave port under sail," concluded Mr. Rymill.


From this expedition, Mr.   Rymill found that ail miner- als in South America, were also located in Graham Land, and that the Andes Mountain Range petered out about 1,000 miles from the tip of Graham Land. He also discovered a large rift valley and a wonderful fossil bed. One very small lichen was found, but otherwise there was no vegetable or animal life in the Antarctic.

The financing of polar   expeditions was mow a  

much easier matter, as  

most governments were prepared to spend, money   in large sums, because   of the possibilities of   finding valuable uranium  

deposits. As much was now being spent on one  

ship as Mr. Rymill had spent on his entire expe- dition.