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Tuesday, 21 April 2009
It is 100 years since one of the University of Adelaide's most famous alumni - Sir Douglas Mawson - returned from his first expedition to Antarctica.
The event was celebrated today at a ceremony organised by the South Australian Museum, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Mawson's return from Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition.
During that expedition, Mawson was among the first men to reach the South Magnetic Pole.
Associated with the University of Adelaide for 50 years as a lecturer and Professor, Mawson was first appointed to the University in 1905 and retired in 1952. His academic career was interrupted by three expeditions to the Antarctic as well as his service during the First World War.
In addition to the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-09, Mawson carried out expeditions to the Antarctic in 1911 and 1929, becoming famous as the sole survivor of the three-man sledging trip during the 1911 expedition.
His academic achievements have also been celebrated. While he was a lecturer in mineralogy and petrology at the University of Adelaide, Mawson identified the site for Australia's first uranium mine. As a Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the University from 1921, he set up a highly effective teaching and research department.
The University of Adelaide boasts a great collection of artefacts from Mawson's expeditions in the Tate Museum, which is one of Australia's most impressive geology museums. The museum was established in 1925 and can be found in the Mawson Laboratories on the North Terrace Campus.
"The Mawson labs are an extraordinary place. It is great that the University of Adelaide honours the links that it has with Mawson," said Mark Pharaoh, the Mawson Senior Collection Manager from the South Australian Museum.
Professor Richard Russell, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Operations) from the University, Professor Robert Hill, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Sciences of the University as well as members of the Mawson family attended today's ceremony.