White Flag of Antarctica

White Flag of Antarctica flown by the 'Discovery' when she sailed for Antarctica carrying the BANZARE expedition (British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition) of 1929-31. It was intended as an improvised courtesy flag representing a continent with no flag of its own. The 'Times' noted that during a reception on 1 August 1929, before her departure from London: 'The ship was flying the Union Jack at her forepeak, the white Antarctic flag at the foremast, and the Australian flag at the stern'. The white flag was flown again when the ship left Capetown on her journey south. The flag is made of plain white cotton sheeting, hand sewn with a rope and Inglefield clip attached. There is no hoist, the edge of the flag is turned over the rope.

The British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition 1929-1931 was led by Sir Douglas Mawson (1882-1958). The expedition vessel was the RRS ‘Discovery'. In addition to oceanographic research carried out by the expedition, the coast from 47ºE to 75ºE was charted by ship and aircraft and a new area named MacRobertson Land. After wintering in Australia the expedition returned to the Antarctic and carried out magnetic observations in Commonwealth Bay. The Banzare coast was discovered from the air and the Sabrina Coast named. Princess Elizabeth Land was discovered and the Australian Antarctic Territory annexed for King George V.

Object Details

ID: AAA0895
Collection: Flags
Type: Flag
Display location: Not on display
Events: Antarctic Exploration: British, Australian, New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, 1929-1931
Vessels: Discovery (1901)
Date made: 1929
People: Child, John B.
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: 889 x 1498.6 mm

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