Mawson's huskies are to be honoured on Antarctic landmarks

Husky dogs from the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914. Photograph taken by Frank Hurley at Cape Denison.

The huskies dogs from early Antarctic exploration by Australia are being honoured with their names bestowed on a prominent landmarks across the icy continent.

The Australian Antarctic Division Place Names Committee today announced 26 islands, rocks and reefs are being named after the dogs which played a critical role in Australia’s heroic era of exploration a century ago.

The huskies served alongside Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson and his men.

“The dogs were used for expedition transport, pulling sleds laden with supplies, as well as providing companionship for the men,” says names committee chair Gillian Slocum.

“While some of the dogs returned to Australia, others sadly perished in the harsh conditions.”

A number of features near Cape Denison, where Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914 was based, have been named after the huskies.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen gifted Mawson a husky named Lassesen, in honour of the dog that was with him when he reached the South Pole in 1911. Lassesen Island in the Mackellar Islands is named after Mawson’s dog.

Pavlova Island, Ginger Reef and Devil Rock were all four-legged members of the Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914. Pavlova was named after the famed Russian dancer Anna Pavlova, who was a friend of Belgrave Ninnis who cared for the dogs during the expedition.

Ninnis later died during a sledging journey, when he and six of the party’s best dogs, as well as most of the supplies, fell through a crevasse.

Other huskies named after royalty, explorers, sporting champions, singers, comedians and Greek mythology lend their names to features such as Mary Island, Caruso Rock, Jeffries Rock and Franklin Reef.

Huskies served at Australian bases in Antarctica until 1991 when Australia signed an international treaty forbidding non-indigenous species from the continent.

Here’s vision, shot by famed Australian photographer Frank Hurley, of Australia’s first Antarctic huskies:

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