Statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Christchurch
Statue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Christchurch by Archives New Zealand
On 17 January Captain Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole – one month after Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had become the first person to do so.
Scott (1868–1912) was an English Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions. His first was the ‘Discovery’ Expedition 1901–04, where he set a new southern record by marching to latitude 82°S and discovered the Polar Plateau, on which the South Pole is located. The second ‘Terra Nova’ Expedition 1910–13 had a tragic ending however. Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that they had been preceded by Amundsen’s expedition. On their return journey, Scott’s party discovered plant fossils, proving Antarctica was once forested and joined to other continents. At a distance of 150 miles from their base camp and 11 miles from the next depot, Scott and his companions died from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold.
This image is of the Scott Statue which stood at the intersection of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street in Christchurch from 1917 to 2011. The Christchurch City Council commissioned the statue in 1913 and it was sculpted by his widow Kathleen. Kathleen first visited Christchurch to farewell her husband when the Terra Nova expedition sailed from Lyttelton in November 1910. She was travelling back to the city to reunite with him when she learned of his death.
The statue toppled off its plinth in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. It has been in storage since the disaster, but is currently being moved to a temporary location in the Quake City exhibition foyer, where it can be viewed for free while its restoration is considered.
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Material from Archives New Zealand