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Richard McElrea

Richard McElrea

Richard McElrea has had an interest in polar history from a young age as a schoolboy in Dunedin. In 1971 he worked as a NZ Antarctic Society volunteer at the historic huts of Scott and Shackleton on Ross Island, Antarctica. This gave him rare insight into the huts and their contents 50+ years on from when the occupants left them.

It also led him to research the little-known story of the last party of the ‘Heroic Era’ that used these huts, and he interviewed three of the survivors.   He was co-author of Polar Castaways; The Ross Sea Party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton (2004) and co-produced a book on Shackleton’s first expedition - Shackleton’s Lieutenant, the Nimrod diary of A.L.A. Mackintosh, British Antarctic Expedition 1907-09 (1990). In recent years he has written a number of articles on polar history and early conservation of the historic huts. 

As President of NZ Antarctic Society, and later as Chair of Antarctic Heritage Trust, he was part of the early conservation planning for the historic sites in the Ross Sea Region, now Specially Protected Areas under the Antarctic Treaty. 

His presentations on Le Soleal will include the two Shackleton’s expeditions, the Aurora Relief Expedition 1916-17, Antarctica’s first chaplain (Rev. Arnold Spencer-Smith), history through the lens of the Antarctic huts (including the expeditions of Robert Scott and Carsten Borchgrevinck) early conservation of the historic sites and the more recent work of Antarctic Heritage Trust. 

Language spoken: English


Photo credit: ARR

You will soon be able to travel alongside Richard McElrea