Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

Registered envelope addressed to J H Collinson Close, Mosman, NSW

2003.0083.0025

Registered envelope addressed to J H Collinson Close, Mosman, NSW

Object information

Description

John Collinson Close was an 'assistant collector' on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14, led by Douglas Mawson.

Physical description

A cream coloured registered envelope, which features two stamps, four postmarks and the typewritten address 'J.H. Collinson Close, Esq., / 14 Want Street, / MOSMAN. N.S.W.' Handwritten in black ink on the left hand side of the envelope is the text 'Antarctic', and there is a red Post Office 'Registered Cross' penciled over the entire front of the envelope.

Statement of significance

This collection comprises objects belonging to John Henry Collinson Close, a member of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911-1914, led by Dr Douglas Mawson. It includes a telescope and case; pocket compass; Bryant and May matchbox (used to keep Close's Morse code); diary entries and letters from Close to his wife Alice (three on AAE letterhead); a hand-stitched canvas pouch with a label written by Close in ink, containing two rock samples collected in Antarctica and sent to Alice by supply ship in 1912; a copy of Life Magazine from September 1914; newspaper cuttings of eight articles written by or referencing Close; three typescript letters, including correspondence from Douglas Mawson; handwritten copies of two poems, including one by Tennyson; a newspaper cutting of a Douglas Stewart poem; and a registered envelope addressed to Close.

The John Collinson Close collection dates from the 'heroic era' of Antarctic exploration, perhaps the last great period of geographical discovery on Earth. It demonstrates key events in a story that led to Australia's claim over 42% of the continent. Linked to this story, and to this collection, are simultaneous ties to the old notions of Empire and the assertion of a new national identity. Close's private letters and journalism reveal the contrast between the personal experiences of a lesser-known expeditioner and a venture, overshadowed by a mythologised leader, now abstracted into the national memory and imagination.

Object information

Back to top