100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Endeavour Print Page Print this page

The plaque commissioned by the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions Club (ANARE), commemorates the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the fisheries investigations ship Endeavour off Macquarie Island on the 4th or 5th of December 1914, with the loss of 21 lives.

The SY Aurora (Captain Davis) arrived at Macquarie Island in November 1913 transporting the three-man 1914 Bureau of Meteorology party: Harold Power (meteorologist and leader); FJ Henderson (wireless operator); and J Ferguson (general hand). The Bureau had arranged to take over the Australian Antarctic Expedition hut and continue daily weather observations.

The changeover of the 1914/1915 parties had been difficult to arrange, with the Aurora undergoing a refit to take the Ross Sea party to McMurdo Sound as part of Shackleton’s imperial trans-Antarctic expedition.

Accordingly, the fisheries investigation ship, Endeavour, was chartered and arrived at the Island on 28 November 1914 via Hobart. Charles Harrisson, Mawson’s western party biologist joined the ship for the round trip.

With the resupply and changeover completed, Power and Harrisson, along with 19 officers and crew, including the Commonwealth Director of Fisheries Mr Dannevig, set sail on the return voyage to Hobart. Providentially, the two other members of the 1914 Party, Henderson and Ferguson, had decided to stay on the island for a further year, with Arthur Tulloch, leader of the 1915 Party.

The Endeavour left the island on 3 December 1914 in fog and within 24 hours struck gale force winds and a storm which lasted for two days and was never seen again, despite searches by two ships, and a land search of the length and breadth of the Island by the 1915 party.

In view of the Great War, it was decided to close the meteorological and wireless station and the last meteorological observations were completed on 30 November 1915.

Unfortunately, by the time that the loss of the Endeavour had been acknowledged in Australia, the Australian Imperial Force had already set sail for Egypt and in the cataclysm of the Great War, the loss of these men was largely forgotten.

Following the closure of the meteorological station in 1915, it would be another 33 years before the station was reopened by ANARE in March 1948.


Address:Macquarie Island Station, Australian Antarctic Territory
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -54.499616
Long: 158.936526
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Disaster


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:April-2015
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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