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Klarius Mikkelsen's 1935 landing in the Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica: some fiction and some facts

  • F. I. Norman (a1), J. A. E. Gibson (a2) and J. S. Burgess (a3)

Exploratory activities of Norwegians, particularly those directed by Lars Christensen, off eastern Antarctica are discussed briefly in relation to contemporary Antarctic investigations and politics. The interests of Norway there and Christensen's role in establishing an understanding of the local coastline are indicated. Particular attention is paid to the landing made by Klarius Mikkelsen in the Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica, on 20 February 1935. Note is taken of the site's recent re-discovery, and the symbolic role of the landing in the national aspirations of Norway, Britain, and Australia is discussed. Mikkelsen operated under commercial and scientific interests promoted by Christensen, and his landing was, at least in published material, seen as an extension of them. However, there is a suggestion that not only had a new Norwegian land been discovered, and a landing made, but that a claim to it was at least considered. Such a claim was not appropriate given previous agreements between Norway and Britain. The site's location and environs are discussed, as are subsequent flights over it and visits made there by Australian expeditioners. The ambiguity associated with claims that Caroline Mikkelsen was the first woman to land on the Antarctic mainland is also examined. Since Mikkelsen's site was on an island within the Tryne Group, to the north of Davis station, if a mainland location is required to establish such an event, then an alternative (Scullin Monolith) is proposed; however, on this occasion four women were involved, but who was first ashore remains uncertain.

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Polar Record
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