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Ernest Shackleton visits the Wairarapa - 1917

Sir Ernest Shackleton with Mrs C. Gray and Mr Gray at the summit of the Rimutaka Hill, 1917. They are standing alongside their Dodge car.  91-055/49C.R3B1S6


Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton gave a lecture in the Masterton Town Hall on 3 March 1917. This was covered by the Wairarapa Daily Times, who wrote:


The trials and tribulations of the men who invade the fortresses of the Frozen South were pictured in graphic language by Sir E. Shackleton before a large audience in the Town Hall on Saturday evening, the proceeds being in aid of the widow of the late Captain Mackintosh and the Red Cross Band. The Mayor presided. 
In the course of his lecture. Sir Ernest stated that after the expedition was organised, and on the point of failing, the war clouds loomed in the sky. He immediately offered the services of his ships, stores, and men, but was instructed to proceed on his expedition. Several of his men were now going on active service, nine were already at the front, and one had been killed in the trenches.
Shackleton after the loss of Endurance
Dealing with the voyage on the Endurance, he stated that when they expected the ice to open up it closed in on them, and the pressure became so great that finally, on October 27th, 1915 the ship was crushed, and she sank on November 20th. With their three boats, the largest but 22ft long, and with 28 men, and with their goal 20 miles away, the party slowly trailed their way over the ice, encountering innumerable dangers, and suffering many hardships. Finally they came to the open sea. and then followed the adventurous trip to Elephant Island.

Owing to the impossibility of relief coming to Elephant Island, Sir Ernest decided to make a dash for South Georgia with a few of the party in one of the boats—a distance of 750 miles—over the turbulent seas. Then followed a hazardous trip of the frail barque through a storm tossed ocean: but throughout the voyage, when things seemed at their very worst, they turned round for the best, and the explorers won through. Finally the cliffs of South Georgia were seen, a landing was effected, and a perilous journey was made over ice-bound mountainous country—which had never been tried by man before, until a whaling station was reached.


Launching the James Caird from the shore of Elephant Island, 24 April 1916.
Sir Ernest then detailed the various attempts made to rescue Wild's party, and the success of the fourth—four and a half months after he had left Elephant Island. Sir Ernest then referred to the Aurora expedition, and stated that Captain Stenhouse performed as fine a piece, of work as ever man did when he brought the ship to safety.
At the conclusion of his address. Sir Ernest Shackleton stated that, in view of the many kindnesses shown him in the Wairarapa, he had decided to place some of the dogs that had accompanied the Antarctic Expedition on exhibition in Masterton in aid of the Red Cross funds. The lecture, which was profusely illustrated, was greatly appreciated. At the conclusion of the address a vote of thanks was accorded to the speaker. 
A sum of £63 was taken at the door.

Sources:
Wairarapa Archives
Papers Past - Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LXX, Issue 146189, 5 March 1917, Page 6
Wikipedia - Sir Ernest Shackleton 

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