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Antarctic Season Opening Talk

October 7 @ 6:00 pm - 8:15 pm

1) Great Scott: The Story of a Christchurch MemorialSarah Murray, Curatorial Manager, Canterbury Museum, presents the story of this important Christchurch memorial, considering the history, context and significance of this magnificent example of public art.

Speaker’s profile:

Sarah Murray is Curatorial Manager at Canterbury Museum and Adjunct Fellow in History at the University of Canterbury. Over her eleven years at Canterbury Museum, Sarah has curated more than twenty exhibitions including such favourites as the Paua Shell House and Quake City. She was also part of the team who developed the international touring exhibition, Scott’s Last Expedition which travelled to Australia, the UK and New Zealand in 2011-13. She has published several books and articles relating to the history of New Zealand during the First World War, sport and identity and museum collections. One of her most recent research activities was the completion of a significance assessment on the memorial to Robert Falcon Scott and the Polar Party.


2) Rediscovering the Magnetic Observatory of ChristchurchMagnetic observatories were peppering the Northern Hemisphere in the 1800s, but there were few of these touchstones of science and navigation for those daring to explore southern lands, oceans and beyond. A “Magnetic Observatory” was on the 1850 plan of the new settlement of Christchurch, and it was built in the Botanic Gardens for Scott and other explorers heading to Antarctica. Today we have a plan to rediscover its past and to the city’s continuing Antarctic endeavour.

Speaker’s profile:

John Clemens is the Curator of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and a trustee of the Botanic Gardens Charitable Trust. He is trained as a scientist, a horticulturist and landscape architect.

If it’s possible to insert the photos, that would be great, but if not, no problem.

For Bernier’s talk, could you rename it as


The Ghost Ships of the Arctic: the Discoveries and Exploration of Sir John Franklin’s missing ships

In 1845, Sir John Franklin and his men sailed from England on HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, hopeful to find the final link of the Northwest Passage. Both ships were abandoned in 1848, and it was believed that the crews walked to their deaths across the Arctic. In the decades that followed, search expeditions brought back relics, some written documents and numerous accounts from the Inuit giving some information on the grim fate of the Franklin Expedition crews. However, the recent discoveries of HMS Erebus in 2014 and of HMS Terror in 2016 re-open the interpretation of what happened to Franklin’s men as they tried to escape the Arctic. Both wrecks are extremely well-preserved in the cold waters of the Canadian Arctic, rising from the sea floor up to the upper-deck.

This presentation will showcase the search efforts led by Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team and some of the findings following more than 250 hours of diving on the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror in one of Canada’s most challenging environments.

Speaker’s profile:

Marc-André Bernier is the Head of Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology team for which he has worked since 1990. With this organization, he has worked all over Canada in numerous National Parks, Marine Conservation Areas and National Historic Sites and has directed many notable projects including the excavation of the shipwreck of the Elizabeth and Mary, part of Sir William Phips’ fleet that besieged Quebec City in 1690, and the archaeological survey that led to the discovery of a World War II American plane in the St. Lawrence River. He was board Member of the Advisory Council for Underwater Archaeology of which he is the former Chair and a member of the International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage. He has also participated in underwater archaeology projects in France, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Columbia and the United States. More recently, the Underwater Archaeology team that he manages led the search for the missing ships from Sir John Franklin’s 1845 Expedition. He was of one the first archaeologists to dive on both HMS Erebus and HMS Terror after their discovery in the Canadian Arctic in 2014 and 2016 respectively.



October 7
6:00 pm - 8:15 pm


The Philip Carter Family Concert Hall – The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts
156 Armagh St
Christchurch, 8140 New Zealand
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