(Tannatt William) Edgeworth David

(1858—1934) geologist

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Douglas Mawson (1882—1958) scientist and explorer in Antarctica


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(1858–1934) was professor of geology at the University of Sydney. Born in Wales, David arrived in Sydney in 1882 to begin fieldwork as assistant geological surveyor. His successes included the discovery of the South Maitland coalfields. Appointed to the chair of geology in 1890, David was an enthusiastic and inspiring teacher whose lectures were popular with both students and public. Fieldwork was central to his wide-ranging research program: ‘Go and see’, he exhorted theory-laden colleagues. His efforts to obtain samples by deep bore on the coral atoll of Funafuti received international attention, providing evidence for Darwin's theory of atoll formation. Inspired by his lifelong interest in glaciation, David eagerly joined the Shackleton expedition to Antarctica in 1907. Though the oldest member of the team, he led the successful first ascent of Mount Erebus, and with his former student, Douglas Mawson, undertook a perilous journey to the South Magnetic Pole. David returned to Sydney a popular hero.


From The Oxford Companion to Australian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Australasian and Pacific History.

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