Publication Date: May 22, 2014 | ISBN-10: 1493577301 | ISBN-13: 978-1493577309 | Edition: 1
1956, in the height of the cold war; it was the biggest wintering expedition that Australia had ever sent to Antarctica. The fourteen scientists were chosen from a field of hundreds of applicants. The surveyor, the central character in Fixing Antarctica, is Sydney Kirkby.
Syd will go on to clock up extraordinary achievements but already he has achieved the impossible. He had polio as a child so there was no way he could have passed the Commonwealth medical test to be selected as the surveyor in this important Antarctic winter expedition. It took a bit of cunning but he got through that hurdle. The age requirement for any member of the team was twenty-six years old. Syd will celebrate his twenty second birthday during his winter at Mawson Station. Only fully qualified surveyors were interviewed by the Director of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE). That was in July 1955. Syd’s qualifying exams were scheduled for September that year, so he was a few months short of even that basic requirement.
Despite this start to his career in Antarctica, over the next twenty years, Syd Kirkby will explore and map more unknown regions in the world than any other person in history.
Fixing Antarctica is the first full biography of this important twentieth century explorer. Set in the Cold War and told through interviews with his contemporaries, his own personal diaries and his surveyor’s diaries, this thrilling account establishes Kirkby in his rightful place as one of the great polar explorers.
Cover Illustration: The cover of Fixing Antarctica is drawn from a huge portrait by Tom Macbeth. Tom is an internationally recognised, multi-award winning, self taught, Australian artist working in oils. He focuses on photorealistic portraits and has been a finalist in both the prestigious Archibald Prize and it’s associated Salon Des Refuses as well as the Black Swan Prize.
You can see other photographs of Tom painting this portrait of Syd, which he entered in the Archibald Prize competition and see other example of his work on his website: