National Library of Australia
The collection contains papers assembled by Alex Brown during his expeditions to Macquarie Island (1956), Mawson (1958) and Davis (1961) in Antarctica. The papers include personal messages sent to his family, official monthly newsletters, a catalogue of lichens and algae collected on Macquarie Island, a diary of a four month seismic traverse south of Mawson, nest records and logs for research into snow petrels (1958-1962), Davis and Platcha weather station radio logs, newspaper cuttings and photographs, and colour slides of Macquarie Island and Antarctica including expeditioners, wildlife and landscapes.
The collection is available for reference.
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Alex Brown, National Library of Australia [class number, box number and series and/or file number]'.
The papers were donated to the Library by Alex Brown in April 2000.
Duncan Alexander (Alex) Brown was born in Antwerp, Victoria on 6 June 1925. He completed his secondary education in 1941 and was still in training with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as a wireless air gunner when World War II ended in August 1945. In 1946 he attended a Radio Technician (Civil Aviation) course at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and obtained a First Class Commercial Operator's Certificate in 1948.
Brown was a member of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) to Macquarie Island (1956), Mawson (1958) and Davis (1961). Although he worked primarily as a radio telegraphist, he assisted in biological work on Macquarie Island including the collection of botanical specimens. He also conducted independent research on the breeding biology of snow petrels at Mawson and Davis in 1958 and 1961, during which time he was official collector of biological specimens for the Victorian and Queensland museums. He was also the official postmaster on all three expeditions and surgical assistant at Mawson and Davis.
Brown also took part in the 1958 summer seismic traverse which extended 270 miles south of Mawson and lasted almost four months. The purpose of the traverse was to "investigate the ice cap - its surface altitude, its thickness, the depth and nature of the bedrock under the ice, the fabric of the ice and its accumulation rate" (See also Aurora, vol 8 no 3, March 1989, pp 15-17 and vol 8 no 4, June 1989, pp 19-20). Brown was awarded the Polar Medal for his contribution to the success of the 1958 Mawson expedition and had a land feature named after him - Brown Range. Brown Range is the southernmost and highest group of peaks in the Framnes Mountains south of Mawson.
After returning from his last expedition to Antarctica in 1962, Brown taught electronics at the Civil Aviation Technical Training College in Melbourne. In 1977 he became Principal of the College, a post he held until his retirement in 1985.
Brown was the author of Breeding biology of the snow petrel, Pagodroma nivea (Forster) (Melbourne : Antarctic Division, Dept. of External Affairs, 1966), co-author of The biology of the Vestfold Hills Antarctica (Melbourne: Antarctic Division, Dept. of Science, 1973) and assistant editor of the ANARE Club journal Aurora, 1990-2000.
Comprises papers assembled by Alex Brown during his expeditions to Macquarie Island, 1956, Mawson Station, 1958, and Davis Station, 1961, in Antarctica. The papers include personal messages sent to his family, official monthly newsletters, a catalogue of lichens and algae collected on Macquarie Island, a diary of a four month traverse south of Mawson Station, nest records and logs for research into snow petrels, 1958-1962. The collection also includes Davis Station and Platcha weather station radio logs, newspaper cuttings and photographs and slides of Macquarie Island and Antarctica, including expeditioners, wildlife and landscapes.
Contained in 5 boxes.
There are clippings of articles by Australian journalist Osmar White, who was on board the MV Thala Dan during the 1958 ANARE coastal exploration of the Australian Antarctic Territory; photocopies of official monthly newsletters (1958); progress reports by P.G. Law from aboard M.V. Thala Dan; station news sheets The Mawson Maize written by Bill Wilson; Russian Antarctic philatelic covers franked 'Mirny' (Russian Antarctic Station), 1958-1959; and official reports written by Brown on radio communications and equipment used on the seismic traverse.
(See also snow petrel logs (1958-1959) in Series 3)
Comprises a small box containing 19 colour slides showing the wandering albatross and other wildlife.
Contained in 1 file.
Comprises two hardbound diaries: 1. Personal handwritten diary of biologist Kent Keith, entitled "A year on Macquarie Island, 1956"; 2. Extract from Alex Brown's "A voyage of discovery on the NV Valla Dan and a year at Mawson, 1958".
Contained in 2 volumes.