Interview with Morton Moyes

Ros Bowden interviews Captain Morton Moyes

This interview was recorded in 1977.

Morton Henry Moyes (1886–1981), naval officer and Antarctic explorer, was born in Koolunga, South Australia. In 1911, he became a member of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911–1914), and was appointed to the staff of the Western Base Party as a meteorologist. This party, under the leadership of Frank Wild, consisted of eight men. They were landed on the Shackleton Ice Shelf in the vicinity of Queen Mary Land by the SY Aurora on 15 February 1912. During the autumn and spring of 1912, Moyes took part in several sledging journeys. In November 1912 eastern and western sledging journeys were planned.

The intention was for Morton Moyes and Charles Turnbull Harrison to stay at the base camp. However, Harrison persuaded Wild to let him accompany the Eastern party as far as Hippo Island. Moyes agreed to remain alone at the hut in Harrisson’s absence — but just for three weeks.

As it turned out, Harrison remained with the sledging party and Moyes spent nine weeks on his own at the winter quarters on Shackleton Ice Shelf.

About the recordings

These sound recordings are edited extracts from Ros Bowden’s interviews with Captain Moreton Moyes, recorded in 1977 for an ABC Radio National program.

During the 1970s and 1980s Ros Bowden worked as a freelance journalist, recording, editing and producing many radio programs for the ABC. Bowden interviewed Captain Moyes, aged 91 at the time, after reading about him in an article in the North Shore Times. Over two sessions, Moyes related his experiences as a meteorologist with the 1912 Western Base Party of the Australian Antarctic Expedition. He also talked about his childhood, his working life in the Australian Navy and about his involvement in establishing the naval college at Jervis Bay.

Ros Bowden deposited with the Library her collection of over 150 hours of recordings in 1998, and the Moyes recordings are part of this collection. The original studio quality recordings have been preserved at the Library and now digitised, so that interested visitors can arrange to hear the whole Moyes interview in the Mitchell Reading Room.

Presented by Ros Bowden in 1998 
MLOH 304, 114 – 117

Download the MP3 of the interview

Listen to excerpts from Moyes' diary read by Brendan Cowell.