SHACKLETON NEWS ARCHIVE
Michael Broad has recently written to the Hon. Treasurer from Dunedin, New Zealand.
"You will of course know that Commander Frank Worsley was born at the small harbourside community of Akaroa on Bank's Peninsula, New Zealand.
Down on the foreshore is the sculptured head of Frank Worsley, placed there just a few years ago, and unveiled I believe by John Thomson, author of "Shackleton's Captain".
"During early December I spent a few days at Akaroa, and one of my tasks was to take photos of the sculpture. Unknown to me at the time my camera played up and I did not have any photos. 'Not to worry,' I thought, 'there are bound to be some on the internet'; but not so.
"I have searched under Akaroa, Frank Worsley, Frank Worsley sculpture, and on several Shackleton and Antarctic websites with no success. I emailed Akaroa Museum and the attached photos were located for me; they were apparently taken in August 2005. I could not locate anything on your website, but as you have extensive information I could easily have missed it. However if you have a use for these photos, please feel free."
The striking sculpture or bronze bust, sculpted by local Christchurch artist Stephen Gleeson, located on the Reserve near the main wharf in Akaroa, came about as a direct result of the publication of John Thomson's timely and hndsomely presented book on Worsley, which prompted others to consider whether a permanent memorial should be established. Lynda Wallace, director of the Akaroa Museum, confirms that the bust came about thanks to the work of a local committee, known as the Worsley Memorial Committee, which was set up with the purpose of collecting donations towards the cost of a suitable memorial to Frank Worsley. The committee included the then Director of the Akaroa Museum (till 2001), Steve Lowndes, Eric Ryder (a local publican), and Worsley enthusiast John Cook. The successful fundraising drive took three to four years to complete. The plinth that the bust is mounted on was constructed from Antarctic rocks, donated by Mrs Jenny Helm, and the bust was unveiled, fittingly, by John Thomson, Worsley's biographer, on 6th March 2004.
Needless to say, we are extremely grateful to Michael for sending us these excellent photos: a fitting tribute to the man who skippered Endurance and Quest and who navigated the James Caird in impossible conditions to make a perfect landing on South Georgia. Worsley's account of the crossing is still arguably the finest first-hand account we have of the story of the James Caird.
Those who visit the Scott-Polar Research Institute's website exhibit 'Virtual Shackleton' (see below) will have a splendid chance to see high-resolution pictures of the pocket watch and chronometer on which Frank Worsley depended, together with his sextant, for fixing his sights in 1916 and achieving the precise bearings to make a perfect sea approach to the West coast of Soutth Georgia, finally making it to harbour at Peggotty Cove and King Haakon Bay.