Scott of the Antarctic: Tasmanian Connections


Presented by Professor Pat Quilty AM and Gillian Winter

Start Date

29th Mar 2012 6:00pm

End Date

29th Mar 2012 8:00pm


Centenary Lecture Theatre, Grosvenor Crescent, Sandy Bay

RSVP / Contact Information

RSVP - E:; P: 6226 2521

Robert Falcon Scott, the renowned Antarctic explorer, set foot only briefly on Tasmanian soil in 1901 when he called at Macquarie Island. His links with Tasmania are much more substantial than that.  The lecture will include an appreciation of the contributions of Scott and his expedition members to the culture of Antarctica through experiences and literature.

Professor Patrick Quilty AM was Chief Scientist for the Australian Antarctic Division and is now active in studying Antarctic history and its connection with Tasmania.

Gillian Winter is a widely published social historian whose research into British Polar explorers stimulated an interest in Hobart’s links with Antarctica.


When, early in 1913, the death of Scott and four of his companions on their return from the South Pole was announced, his sister was travelling to Tasmania the wife of the newly-appointed Governor Sir William Ellison-Macartney. His mother, another sister and a niece were also there providing a family association with Tasmania of at least four years.

When the foundation stone was laid for St Alban’s (now Edge) Anglican Church in Claremont, a parishioner offered to have installed a stained glass window to commemorate Scott. Only recently has the designer/maker of the window been identified and this provides links with other individuals who, at the time, made important contributions to Tasmanian culture.

About the speakers:

Professor Patrick Quilty was Chief Scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division and is now Honorary Research Professor at the University of Tasmania with experience in academia, industry and federal government. He first visited Antarctica (1965/66) with the University of Wisconsin and has been on many tourist ventures. He participated in many marine science programs and has published over 200 scientific papers. Honours include Membership of the Order of Australia (AM), Distinguished Alumnus from the University of Tasmania, US Antarctic Services Medal, Royal Society of Tasmania Medal, and Distinguished Lecturer (Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia). He has five species, a range of nunataks and a bay named in his honour. He is a patron of the University of Western Australia Geoscience Foundation.

Gillian Winter is a fifth-generation Tasmanian, who works as a librarian and freelance historian. She has published numerous articles and written and edited books on aspects of Tasmania's history. A social historian, her interests include colonial theatre, art and literature, the volunteer militia and Antarctica. It was Gillian's research into the 1840-41 visits of the British polar explorers, Ross and Crozier, that stimulated her interest in Hobart's links with Antarctica. She has since investigated further the role that Hobart played in the early discovery and exploration of the continent.

In 1996, Gillian's painstaking research revealed the story behind a beautiful, stained glass window in the Hobart Anglican Church of St Alban's. It had been given in memory of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, who had perished in his 1912 attempt to beat Amundsen to the South Pole. Gillian discovered that the city was home and host to a large number of Scott's relatives, including his wife, Kathleen.


Click here to access the recording of this lecture.