The South Polar Times: Deleted Scenes

The first two volumes of the South Polar Times, Antarctica’s first newspaper, were produced during the austral winters of 1902 and 1903 on the National Antarctic Expedition, on board the Discovery. It was in keeping with a long tradition of polar publication going back to the North Georgia Gazette & Winter Chronicle, a handwritten newspaper produced by the first Parry expedition of 1819, and then upheld by the Franklin search expeditions and the Nares expedition which also brought along printing presses to produce their own publications. (For more on the history of polar publishing, see Hester Blum’s News At The End Of The Earth.)

Though produced on board the Discovery as it wintered in the ice like previous polar papers, South Polar Times was less a newspaper than a magazine, influenced by contemporary publications such as Punch, school magazines, and shipboard chronicles — such as “O.H.M.S.,” the book which Ernest Shackleton had compiled aboard the troopship Tintagel Castle in 1900.

The first volume of the SPT, as it was ubiquitously known, was edited by Shackleton. After he was invalided home on the Morning in 1902 after returning from the Southern Journey, Louis Bernacchi took over to produce the second volume. Each issue was composed of anonymous submissions, selected and typewritten by the editor, and supplied with illustrations by Wilson and other artistically inclined members of the crew, such as stoker Arthur Quartley, the son of a well-known painter.

For Scott’s second expedition, the tradition was upheld, and three issues of the third volume of the South Polar Times were brought out during the winter of 1911. Apsley Cherry-Garrard acted as editor and Wilson returned as illustrator. 

The editorial sensibilities were somewhat different than the Discovery volumes. Fewer strictly scientific articles were published, and fewer long straightforward reports on expedition activities, sledge journeys, etc. Brevity and levity were favored, with expedition events being presented in the form of “Some Antarctic Archives” hieroglyphics and characterful retellings (e.g. “A Flight Up The Ferrar”). Photography by Ponting, caricatures by Lillie, and watercolors by Day were also included.

The greatest contributor to these issues by far was geologist T. Griffith Taylor, whose prolificity saw him provide about a third of the total 152-page count of the three 1911 issues combined. No contributions from the mess deck were included in the third volume, unlike the Discovery volumes to which Frank Wild and other sailors had contributed. Scott also did not contribute anything save a precis of the forthcoming Southern Journey. 

The fourth volume consists of one issue only and was produced after the deaths of the polar party, during the winter of 1912. Debenham contributed illustrations in the sad absence of Wilson. Many of the pieces included in this issue had been written the previous year, and an editorial decision was taken (presumably by Cherry) to remove all mentions of members of the Polar Party from those pieces. They suffered in quality as a result, and I was curious as to the original contents of these specific pieces, as well as to the editorial process of the Terra Nova SPT in general, and what other changes Cherry might have instituted. 

Volume III can be read here (US only, or VPN) and Vol IV here.

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a bound volume of the handwritten and typed drafts submitted for consideration for the Terra Nova issues of the SPT (SPRI MS 505/5;EN). It was donated by Cherry’s widow after his death. Permission to reproduce quotations from the MS has been given to me by SPRI.

Helpful annotations by Cherry indicate many of the identities of the authors of the unsigned pieces not otherwise credited in the published SPT, and recognition of handwriting based on other signed sources in the SPRI archives can help supply the rest. 

This is far from an exhaustive report on the editorial process—I just wanted to point out some of the most interesting changes that I came across in my initial exploration of the draft volume.

Partially accepted

These pieces were only partially reprinted in the published SPT, but longer drafts are present in the MS.

Answers to Correspondents

“Answers to Correspondents” appears on page 50 of the published SPT, at the close of the first issue of the 1911 volume.

Biologist Edward “Marie” Nelson submitted the published Answers listed under “Farmer Hayseed,” “Father,” “William,” “Pat,” & “McCormick” (Oates, Ponting, unknown, Keohane, Taylor). The Answer listed under “Carbide” (Day) was added in Cherry’s handwriting below Nelson’s on the draft page—possibly a verbal contribution was sought, or it was of Cherry’s own composition. 

Five other Answers submitted by Nelson did not make the final cut: 


We do not consider you are wise in attempting to improving your complexion by heightening the colour of your cheeks. That you should also have extended this treatment to your nose seems to us all the more extraordinary since from your own description you must be more of the florid than anemic type. 


We do not consider your specimen as suitable for presentation to a club. 


If, as you say, you really were asleep, your actions do not necessitate a declaration of your intentions. We advise you to consult your doctor about diet.


A single lady cannot be too careful about the respectability of her lodgings or the character of her companions.


If you experience difficulty in making your self understood in your own tongue you cannot do better than learn English. 

Rouge is Atch, who was affected by facial frostbites during the winter. Willie, like William in the published Answers, could possibly refer to either Lashly or Wilson—I’m not really sure what is being referenced in either instance. Somnambulist is Cherry, who was a chronic sleeptalker (and possibly sleepwalker). “Your doctor” might be a reference to Wilson—Cherry is referenced in another SPT piece (“The Ladies’ Letter”) as constantly seeking advice from him. Jessica is Deb, who is referred to throughout the SPT as Jessica, Jasmine, Jessamine, or Jessie, and who was bunkmates in “the Ubdug den” with the disreputable Gran (deemed “immoral”) and Griff (Nelson’s sparring partner, verbally and physically). 

And Silas is that goldarned Yank Silas! 

Further Answers to Correspondents were submitted by Silas and Griff. Some of these were included in the 1912 issue and some weren’t, but they aren’t as funny as Nelson’s so I won’t bother delving into them here.

Songs and their Singers

The published version of this piece appeared in two parts, on pages 132 and 139 of the SPT volume. The draft is in Teddy Evans’ distinctive handwriting, and includes a great number of songs which did not make the final cut, such as:

Hello! Little Girl, Hello! (Telephone Song) – Sunny Jim 

Everybody works but Father – Victor 

A soldier + a man – Titus

Terry my blue eyed Irish Boy – Patsy Keohane

You can get a sweetheart any day – Soldier 

Love is meant to make us glad – Trigger

How does the early morning  – Marie

Oh What’s Womans Duty – Jasmin

The Maple Leaf for ever – CSW 

Matron’s in the cold cold ground  – Trio Blossom Blucher & Weary Willie

The Poacher – Amundsen

Poor old Joe – R Falc.

The Star Spangled Banner – Uncle Silas

The Student Song – Grif, Silas & Sunny Jim 

Tarpaulin Jacket – Grif

Tim The Dragoon – Titus

Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (Motor Sledge Song) – Bernard, Teddy, Lashly & Tom The Cook

There is a tavern in the Town – Tofferino

I see youve got the old brown hat on – Bugs

The horse the missis dries the clothes on – James Pig 

Has anyone seen our cat – Cheetham

After the ball – Atch 

Beautiful beautiful bed – Marie 

The scientific man – Grif 

A few themes emerge. “Marie” Nelson’s dislike of getting out of bed, Silas the Yank, Griff the scientist, Titus the soldier. Jasmin and her womanly duties make another appearance. Gran’s romantic tendencies are referenced. Interesting to see “poacher” Amundsen on the list; also interesting is the attribution of “Poor Old Joe” to Scott — a very melancholy minstrel song. Sunny Jim’s “Telephone Song” could be a reference to his use of the phone to count out seconds as Silas watched for an astronomical transit.


A very abridged version of this submission appears on page 88 of the published SPT. 

The draft was written in black ink in all-capitalized print, which had the effect of disguising the handwriting. Here is the text of the full original piece: 















Only Rivets/Anybody Else, Bill, Titus, & Griff made it into the published version. 

If we can assume the contributor did not include their own name, it might have been Meares, Teddy, or Silas. Of those I think Silas the most likely as I recognize his handwriting (in the same black ink) on the following draft page in the bound volume, the “Exchange & Mart” advertisements, some of which also appear on page 88. Also Silas would be a highly likely candidate to both make fun of Griff’s verbosity and to highlight Taff’s contribution to the Western Journey. Just kidding, the estimable Kay has informed me that they actually viewed an early draft of this piece in Birdie’s papers! I was misled by his use of his own name, sneaky sneaky.

“The Little Perisher” is Atch, who was lost in a blizzard in early July. “Trigger” is Gran, notably obsessed with his own strength and fitness. “Jessie” (Deb) hailed from “the arid waste” outside of Sydney, Australia; “Rivets” (Day) had a nominally determinative connection with light and dark which was frequently remarked on, being in control of the hut’s acetylene lighting. 

The reference to Cherry appearing in the illustrated contemporaries (magazines) is unclear but I thought might be a jab at his general poshness? Tealin says it could refer to a stack of magazines found in the Cape Royds hut which included photographs of Cherry’s Oxford boat races.

Not accepted for publication

Many pieces submitted in 1911 which did not make the cut did eventually end up in the 1912 issue in some form or another, with a few exceptions. 

Tryggve Gran submitted a fantasy on the subject of post-expedition life. Imagining a future where he leaves the expedition before the second winter and immediately gets married, he writes a report back “home” to Cape Evans, describing stepping off the ship in Lyttleton to a crowd so “Polar Mad” that they bear him aloft in their arms and rip his clothing off for souvenirs. However, he is not so much a celebrity in Australia, which disappoints him: 

I did not stay a long time in NZ – but went on 
to Australia. In Australia every thing was more or 
less Mawsen. Mawsen Chocolata – Mawsen Drops – 
shortly said – Australia had advanced into a
sphere – in which I could not remain. 

Teddy Evans submitted a humorous piece from the perspective of James Pigg, Keohane’s beleaguered pony. It’s very well written and entertaining, so one must assume the reason for its non-acceptance was the knowledge that the SPT would be printed and sold to the public upon the expedition’s return, and the piece as written reflected too poorly on the treatment of their animals to be allowed to be included. 

Dear Mr. Editor,

I am a common pony, just an ordinary Siberian pony. I was persuaded to join Capt. Scott’s expedition against the advice of my friends by an appeal to my vanity by that [felon?] Meares. It is time I wanted to see something of the world and my wishes have been gratified. I have traveled thru’ China, thousands of miles over the ocean & I have visited Grif-Land and Maori-Land – no pun meant “Sweet Marie.” 

I have done some sledging too; not much but quite enough to see what the Barrier is like, and I know what load a pony can pull & what a pony [might?] to pull, two very different things. Fortunately in my youth I was unlucky enough to get “water on the knee” playing Kick-first or touch-last when I was a colt. I use this little infirmity now with some wisdom. When the surface is bad I develop a limp & so shift my burden on to the sledges of others – a horse may go a long way in this fashion. Last February I soon tired of sledging on a ½ belly full of insipid chaff and so when I heard Capt. Scott talking of sending Blossom & Blucher back I limped badly & told Keohane I was done. Now that same Patsy is a nice little fellow & he told Capt. Oates our boss. 

Capt. Oates told his boss, and so it came to pass that I was returned “empty” with the Baltic Fleet! 

Of course as soon as the main party had gone on I took off my limp and once again began to “Play up.” 

I then determined to thoroughly enjoy myself & so I did. My companions Blucher & Blossom were useless feeble creatures. Blucher was a pale little horse who had served in a [cater’s?] barrow in the slums of Vladivostok. He had never been properly nourished & was entirely unfitted for the rigours of the Antarctic climate. Blossom was a spirited old cock but he was old and “He’d led a ‘hard life.” These poor fellows soon died & then I could practically share the tent with the three sailormen who accompanied me. They amused me tremendously & I always neighed & whinnied at their jokes – specially when Patsy told of how as a boy he had thrown stones at a poor old man on the beach. He had stoned the old fellow from a cliff & in his anxiety to hit him fell over the edge & “If it hadn’t been for the poor old man, who carried me home, I should have been killed,” said Patsy. 

Well, after an odd little journey to Corner Camp I was set to Hut Point via Castle Rock. The other ponies, who thought they would get to Hut Point first, tried to swim & were all drowned except one, Nobby. I was so angry when Nobby started putting on side about going further south than any living pony, that I jumped out of my little igloo & bit him in the neck. Took four men to drag me away, but Nobby has never dared to talk Latitude since we returned – He only talks science & art which I allow. 

This preamble is that I believe that 10  honest ponies are to be despatched towards the pole and when their finest efforts have been made, they are to be slain. Yes slain – thrown aside like sucked lemons! 

I shall never see Maori Land again, never see the Hut again and what can I do, sell myself to the devil & devote my time to crushing Oates. 

Yours till the nosebag is empty

James Pig 

Birdie Bowers submitted a lengthy recap of the Depot Journey, running to some six handwritten pages. He presents these as extracts from his diary, but as they are written in an irreverent tone I suspect he merely referenced his diary to compose them especially for the SPT—although I do not have access to his diary to check if that’s the case.

Like Teddy’s article this is a high-quality piece of writing and the only reasons I can imagine for not accepting it are its length and its explicit descriptions of animal violence in a lighthearted tone. An excerpt: 

Feb 15th

Weary Willie’s restful attitude nearly did for him today. Dropping astern of the cavalcade he sought out a place for a quiet nap & proceeded to lie down in spite of Trigger’s objections. Two ski sticks were shattered over him to no purpose but his repose was shattered alright when the leading dog team spotted the recumbent figure ahead. Had Krisravitza been in this team his influence for good might have averted the catastrophe, as it was the dogs, horse, harness & sledges were soon indistinguishable one from the other. To do him justice Weary used his teeth as well as his limbs to good effect, and the dogs after a few of them had been more or less laid out by Father M. who was valiantly striking into the brown with the Chui Stick – did not seem to mind what they got their teeth into, provided it was soft. Trigger, who gave us to understand that he acted with remarkable coolness & decision in this emergency, received among other trifles, an unnecessary share of the Chui Stick before he could extricate himself. 

Feb 16th

Weary Willie is now ultra weary after yesterday’s amusement & Trigger tries to walk on one leg. Hot oats have been prescribed for the former. They smelt very succulent. It is only with the greatest difficulty that we can persuade Farmer Hayseed not to eat them himself.

Fondness obliges me to also note that the entry for March 24th features Birdie’s use of his own nickname for Deb: 

March 24th

Hut Point – Depot laying for this season completed, all parties living in hut till strait freezes sufficiently to bear us to Winter Quarters. We are settling down now to a course of blubber – prescribed by the faculty who seem obsessed with the idea that unadulterated grease is the ideal food. That however is not the least of our afflictions. [The Glacier Skidders] have returned & their adventures in the Western Mountains is the sole topic of conversation. According to Griff [the] physiographical investigations have surpassed in excellence anything hitherto attempted. While Jessie Nodules thinks that the geological work has never been taken in hand in a more masterful manner. 

1912 Changes

Understandably, in 1912 after realizing the Polar Party must have perished, the expedition members did not feel quite up to their level of levity which had pervaded their work the previous winter. Two pieces by Griff (now departed) submitted the previous winter were included in the 1912 volume, and three pieces by Deb were also included, whose drafts show that they too had been written in 1911, due to their inclusion of both departed and dead expedition members. 

These pieces were subject to editing by Cherry which display the editorial priorities of the SPT during 1912. 

Last of the Terrorcas

Books by Poe, Wells, and Verne were among the expedition library, and this piece by Griff is a science-fiction adventure story which betrays the influence of those authors. The published version is a shade less violent than the draft, as well as being edited for length generally (Griff not being physically present might have given Cherry the courage to do so without facing his wrath). 

Some differences (parts absent from published version in bold): 

Early in 1911 three members of the expedition together with myself made a sledge trip up the Koettlitz Glacier. Beanam, whom you all know, Welch and the Iceman were my companions. 

Beanam is Debenham (also present in the persona of the anxious President in this story), Iceman is Wright (the goateed Amurrrkan), and Welch is Taff Evans. The speaker (the ex-President) is Griff. 

One evening – I think the 26th of February – we had pitched our tent on a patch not so bestrewen with bottle-glass ice as usual – and were rejoicing in the gleams of the never-setting sun. He had come out for his evening peep at us over the hump of Lister; grinning to think his glare blinded our wished-for view of the mountains. Our conversation turned on a variety of topics. The old argument of Australia versus the States came up. Said Beanam “You can’t deny that an Anglo-Australian was the first to touch this continent” The Iceman said that he was in a position to disprove this statement. He remembered an old sailor who spent the dusk of his life in the Dry goods store of the Iceman’s native village. He had been with Wilkes on his Expedition south. He declared that their ship had actually reached the continent and that the botanist of the party “a [???? travelled??] Noo Englander like myself” remarked the Iceman, swam ashore to investigate some vegetation he saw on the shore. The ships were driven away by a sudden blizzard and could not return for some days. Two [???, one ????] old Hank then pulled ashore to rescue him and were horror struck to find the corpse of the botanist pierced by two deep wounds in the chest. He had apparently been overcome by despair and committed suicide; for his bared knife was deeply stained. Curiously enough his body and the ground around him was bestrewn with small plates of mica, but no one gave any heed to this circumstance, though old Hank asservated “He’d never seed how the goldarn cuss could hev med them goldarned gashes with that ‘ere goldarned bowie!” The affair was hushed up, for Wilkes had enough misfortunes to report, and hence few people know of the first landing on Antarctica. 

The Iceman’s yarn was received with some incredulity but Welch seemed much interested. “Well, sur,” said he, “I made a course to starboard yesterday while the hoosh was cooking and took sights for some of those garnets. There was a heap of “mikey” – the stuff they put in the front of blubber stoves to take an observation of the combustion – lying there on a cargo of this seaweed. I gave it a miss not having much use for it, and eventually deviated for the tent; but this yarn reminded me of the stuff.” 


Suddenly Beanam exclaimed “There’s an aeroplane!” We turned round and saw a queer structure – more like a dragonfly than an aeroplane – rovering over our camp. Suddenly the weird shape swooped onto the tent and as we rushed toward it, we saw it was an incredibly large insect with [platy?] wings 10 feet long, and a terrible equipment of mandibles, claws, and sickle-like feet. The head was attached by a long thin neck & was armed with a frightful proboscis like an Uhlan Lance! With this weapon it was stabbing our tent till it resembled a canvas cullender, & then it crawled to the sledges and commenced to sample our food supply. We could see that its wings and elongated body were closely covered with overlapping sheets of a mica-like substance – much as the delicate scales cover a butterfly’s wing. Simultaneously we remembered the end of the American Botanist. Those fearful gashes in his chest and the unexplained “mica” fragments covering his body. We had no weapon but the Iceman’s trusty axe which seemed little use against a 6 foot lance tipped with organic steel! I counselled retreat to the cave, and we warily made our way thereto. The sun shone out brightly, and our dark clothing as we traversed the snowy debris attracted the attention of the enemy. Rising heavily he beat to windward & then swooped towards us; evidently anxious for more savoury food than his customary seaweed. We rushed helter-skelther for the nearest ice cave, – which had an opening about 10 feet high, but which we hoped might soon narrow and afford us a temporary shelter. 

A queer smell assailed us as we ran to the cave. All around were scattered seal skeletons and we had to jump over several fish rotting by its mouth. We had no time to search further, but bolted into the inner recess. The stench was unbearable, & as we turned a corner just as our winged foe dropped at the entrance – we saw that we had fled Charybdis to fall into Scylla. A long low form rose with a snarl from a heap of bones which it was crunching and waddled clumsily but rapidly towards us.


We leaped on a ledge & awaited his onslaught. At this moment the long neck & head of our earlier opponent appeared blocking out the light. The land Orca (or Terrorca as it was later named by the eminent Bilson) bristled with fury. His snarl changed into a continuous growl and his jaws clashed like a well oiled portcullis. We were completely wiped from his memory and he rushed after the rapidly retreating intruder. 


Yet the Iceman flung his mighty hand around the sinous neck and exerting that grip for which he was justly famous, he broke the creature’s neck.

Alas! it was his last act. He had met the fate of his country-man, and America had lost her boldest son. Sadly we returned to our camp, our scientific ardour quite dampened by this mishap……

(The edited version had “arms” in place of “hand.”) 

A Day’s Doings as Told By Our Diarist 

This piece is one of the funniest in the entire SPT but you have to know an awful lot about the peccadilloes of various expedition members, especially Griff Taylor, to get the joke. It was written by Debenham as a parody of Griff’s diary entries, and includes digs at: his dislike of eating, his love of arguing, his habit of quipping in Latin (a language he professed to despise), and his constant geological and physiographical theorizing. Much of the best bits were edited out in the published version, including references to the Polar Party. 

Some differences (parts not present in published version in bold): 

Calm Day. Woken as usual at 7.30 by the Bower Bird’s Hat.

Breakfast is an unintellectual meal, so gave it a miss. Better a bit more bunk than a bite more breakfast. Must get that off my chest sometime before the company. 

Settled down to my pantographic survey of the region, am busy now in fixing the relative positions of the Golden Stairs and the Celestial Pole, both being in transit with Inaccessible.

Had just worked out the Right Ascension of the Golden Stairs when I was interrupted by that peregrinating pestilence, Patch, (am going in for alliteration now, find it pays with the unintellectuals) desiring my company up the Ramp. Humoured him and took a theodolite with which I was able to get cuts on to two seals and a top hole fix for the middle of the Sound, which is quite wrong in the existing maps. 

Thought out a new theory as to origin of debris cones, yesterday’s wasn’t good enough. “Och I’ll get another yin” will be a good motto for me when I run out of Latin ones. 

Can it be that they represent the fortuitous eructations induced by the hypothetical erosion of a pseudo-cyclical ice-age upon a primeval glaciarised (non-glaciated) topography, the unessential details of which have since been atrophied?

Hot-stuff theory that, guess it will paralyse the great Austrian. 

Made 3 [blood?] sketches of Patch’s net (which I labelled Going! Going! Gone!), fell down the Golden Stairs and so home. Told Jimson the new theory, he was no end bucked, said it worked in with his observations on the effect of the aurora on the imagination. 

Owner said it was as good as the last one. 

“Owner” (Scott) changed to Silas in published version. 

Had a frightful cag at lunch with the Du Car about the primordial atomic protoplasm. Don’t know much about it but they’re good words, and anyway cagging induces greater cerebration and that’s what I’m after. 

After lunch retired for a siesta as the pseudo-scientists started blatting about golf and the Pivotty Rivets asked me the relation between a caddy and a caddy’s worm. Must think of some new names for these blighters, can’t let myself be biffed out in mere verbosity. Made a genre sketch of Jasmine brushing her (his) hair – it’s a fool nickname anyways, mixes up the genders. 

This section was entirely excised. Du Car is Nelson, Pivotty Rivets is Day. Jasmine is Deb; some commentary here from him on on record re: the use of the nickname.

Had a scrap with the Cheery Blackguard who spoke lightly of Christabel and myself. Nemo me impune lacessit. 

Spent the afternoon in magnetic hut with Jimson doing a quick run on tea and toast. Hist, not a word to the wife – the unregenerated Philistines think we’re finding the dip of the horizontal component. 

These two sections were kept in the final version but their positions were reversed. Cheery Blackguard is Cherry, Jimson is Simpson. Identity of Christabel unknown – CSW? (Though his female nickname is “Sally” in “The Ladies Letter.”) Could be a reference to suffragism viz. Christabel Pankhurst – Griff was a supporter of women’s rights. 

Dinner was a bilge-ous meal – they talked bilge to the right to the left and all round me; Pinker-Ponker dilated on the charms of O Matsu San – Taters blatted beer and bloodshed – Billson burbled mere platitudes – all tosh, the whole lot of it and as no one would listen to what had I to say on fences as a Physiographic factor in France I retired to my bunk and read German. 

Later I emerged and got paralysed at chess by the wily Jasmine, it’s a mud game, if ever there was one. Hic illae lacrimae! 

This section was also totally excised. Pinker-Ponker is Ponting; Taters is Titus Oates; Billson is Wilson. Jasmine triumphs in the end! (Hinc illae lacrimae = Hence these tears!

A quiet Sunday afternoon

This piece is also by Debenham. Adjustments were made for the second winter (originals which were excised/changed indicated in bold). 

“What do you think of this for a glabroid nodule,” said Birdie one afternoon, as he entered panting with a huge rock in his arms. 

“Glabroid nodule!” from the petrologist – “I suppose it’s another piece of kenyte picked up in the ash heap; – Umph anortholoclase felspars as I thought, in a matrix of tuffacious lava. Where did you pick it up?” 

“Oh, found it in situ on top of one of the icebergs.”

“Liar!” said the physiographer politely, “Don’t you see it can’t be in situ on an iceberg. It really is a most interesting sample though of weathering by wind action, see how the regularity of the weathering shows that the berg can not have shifted its position for several million years.”

“I entirely disagree with you” came from the meterologist, “It shows rather that the prevailing wind direction has not changed for that space of time”

“Damn rot” came from the corner, “Can’t you see that the berg being stranded, the obvious deduction is that the Antarctic continent can not have shifted much during past ages. But by far the most interesting fact about the thing is the way the crystals have grown along the optic axis.”

“Never heard such bilge in my life,” said the physiographer. “I must retire to my bunk.” 

On which the discussion died a natural death.

In the published version, Birdie’s part was changed to Atch, meteorologist (Simpson) was changed to biologist (Nelson), and physiographer (Griff) was changed to & combined with Geologist/petrologist (Deb). 

This kind of made the whole thing nonsensical, as it’s a skit on the very specific habits/common sayings of each member—Birdie’s habit of bringing in rocks for the geologists to examine, Griff spouting theories, Simpson always disagreeing with said theories. In fact the only person who gets away unscathed is Silas (“Damn rot”) and his enjoyment of crystallography. 

Brief notes on the 1912 edition 

The 2012 volume of the SPT’s 1912 edition, edited by the late & great Ann Savours, has a few attribution errors in its table of contents. I believe the Table of Contents was compiled by Debenham, or otherwise an employee of SPRI. It is similar to the covering letter on the volume of SPT drafts, but that volume may not have been consulted. 

“An Antarctic breakfast” was probably not written by Hooper – the handwriting on the draft is clearly Atkinson. “Walt Whitman” was probably not written by Cherry-Garrard, as the handwriting on the draft is Nelson’s distinctive left-handed penmanship, and Cherry did not submit any pieces other than his editorials. Of course there’s always the chance people handed drafts off to others to disguise handwriting, but I think these are safe bets as to the original authors.

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