News

Keep us informed!

We love to hear of any news about the island. If you have an item of news you would like to share with members, please contact us to give us details.

We produce a newsletter twice a year, which is sent to all our members. Copies of earlier issues are available to download below.

"The Maritime History of South Georgia"

22nd October 2013

Bob Burton has recently published a short book introducing the history of South Georgia from the perspective of the vessels that have sailed, and occasionally come to grief in, its stormy waters. The book is richly illustrated with photographs and includes a map of the island showing the sites of the many wrecks and hulks on the shores of the island.

The book is published by the South Georgia Heritage Trust, and is available from their website.


Rex Hunt

11th June 2013

A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Sir Rex Masterman Hunt, CMG (29 June 1926 - 11 November 2012) will be held at St Clement Danes, the Central Church of the Royal Air Force, Strand, London, WC2R 1DH on Tuesday 11 June 2013 at 2.30pm. Rex was the Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands at the time of the Falklands war.

Admission will be by ticket, which can be obtained from the Hon Secretary of the Falkland Islands Association. Applications should include the full names of those wishing to attend and a postal address for tickets, together with a note of their connection with Sir Rex. Applications can be sent by email to honsecfia@msn.com, or by post to 6 St Anne's Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 6AU. The closing date for tickets is Friday 31 May 2013.


Facebook

14th May 2013

We're pleased to announce that the Association now has a Facebook page!

If you are a Facebook user, do please visit us and contribute at facebook.com/southgeorgiaassociation.


New stamp issue

13th may 2013

On 11th June 2013 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands will release a set of stamps to commemorate Rex Hunt, who was Governor of South Georgia at the time of the Falklands war. Rex Hunt died a few months ago, and a Memorial Service will be held on the same day at St Clement Danes church in London.

First day covers of the stamps are available from the Pobjoy mint. They have offered lower rates to members of the Association.

The Falkland Islands post office will also shortly be releasing stamps and coins commemorating Lady Thatcher, and the offer extends to cover these too.


Update on Habitat Restoration Project

28th March 2013

The habitat restoration project on South Georgia is proceeding well. Most of the reindeer have been turned into some exceedingly tasty venison, and spreading of rat bait by helicopter over large areas of the island appears so far to have been extremely succesful.

The South Georgia Heritage trust has regular updates on the project on their newsletter page.


Watercolours by Karl Smith

26th February 2013

The artist Karl Smith recently travelled to South Georgia on a Churchill fellowship to record the old whaling stations. He has being keeping a blog of his travels to showcase the resulting paintings, which are inspired as much by the striking natural landscape as by the industrial heritage of the ruined stations.

Karl hopes to put on an exhibition of paintings in due course, to which members of the SGA will be welcomed. In the meantime, you can view many of the paintings on his blog at www.southernoceans.blogspot.com.


In The Footsteps Of Polar Giants - A Lecture by Henry Worsley

23rd April at 7.15pm

Henry Worsley will be giving a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society on 23rd April about his two polar journeys. The lecture is a personal reflection using diary entries, photographs and original film footage from Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen.

The lecture is in aid of the Shackleton Foundation, and there are further details on their website. Tickets cost £20.


"Troubled Waters: trailing the albatross, an artist's journey"

20th November 2012

After living with wandering, black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses thirty five years ago on Bird Island and South Georgia in the remote Southern Ocean, Bruce Pearson returned recently to see what had happened to some of the birds he had known so well. Troubled Waters: trailing the albatross, an artist's journey is the resulting book.

Bruce worked with BirdLife International to gain extraordinary access to the work of the Albatross Task Force, last year joining the crew of a longline fishing boat, and a trawler, off the coast of South Africa.

Troubled Waters is a unique collaboration between art and conservation, transforming a personal passion for albatrosses into a thought-provoking personal story, and portfolio of work, that brings to life the open ocean and which responds to an urgent contemporary conservation issue.

For more information please visit www.brucepearson.net. There will be an exhibition of Bruce's work at Art Galleries Europe, 18 Maddox St, London, W1S 1PL from 26 November - 1 December 2012 (10am - 5.30pm daily).


"Alps to Antarctica" exhibition

9th October 2012

Rowan Huntley has extended an invitation to SGA members for a private viewing of her new exhibition "Alps to Antarctica". at the Alpine Club, 55 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3QF. The exhibition features paintings and studies of South Georgia amongst other Alpine and Polar scenes.

The private viewing will be held on the 9th October from 5 to 7pm. The exhibition is then open until Christmas - further details can be obtained from the Alpine club on 020 7613 0755.

The invitation is available to download here.


Invitation to Discovery Point

21st November 2011

Members of the association are invited to attend an event at Discovery Point in Dundee on the 24th November. A presentation of artefacts used by Dr. Reginald Koettlitz on the 1901 - 04 Discovery Expedition will be made by Ann Koettlitz, great-niece of Dr. Koettlitz.

This will be followed by the announcement of a major new book, Scott's Forgotten Surgeon, Dr. Reginald Koettlitz, polar explorer by Gus Jones.

The invitation is available to download.


Celebration of the SGA's 10th Anniversary

8th October 2011

Members of the association recently celebrated our 10th Anniversary in style, with a dinner at the Royal Overseas League in London. Paintings and a photo competition brought back memories of the island for many, and we were entertained by the folk singer Cliff Wedgbury, who performed a number of his Antarctic ballads - including a new song written especially for the occasion.

If you weren't able to come along in person, you might like to read David Tatham's speech looking back at the achievements of the association over the last 10 years.

Here's to the next 10 years!


Account of South Georgia Surveys published

24th July 2011

Alec Trendall, who served as a geologist with the South Georgia Surveys of 1951-52 and 1953-54, has recently published 'Putting South Georgia on the map' - an account of the surveys that Duncan Carse organised to produce the first accurate map of the island.

The 216-page book has a large format and uses photo-quality paper throughout, so that the many photos tell the story in parallel with the text. Coloured maps, redrawn from the 1:200,000 map that resulted from Carse's expeditions, show the routes travelled.

The book is available to purchase at the author's web site.


Vacancy for South Georgia Director, SGHT

7th July 2011

The South Georgia Heritage Trust is accepting applications for the new position of Director, South Georgia. The director will look after the SGHT staff on South Georgia and manage the South Georgia Museum from October to March each year, living and working on South Georgia for this period.

The appointment for this role will be made prior to the 2011-12 season which begins in October 2011. Applications need to be submitted by 12th of August 2011.

To download the job description and find out how to apply, please visit the South Georgia Heritage Trust website.


Habitat Restoration Project

1st June 2011

The first phase of the habitat restoration project on South Georgia appears to have been successful, with no reported sightings of rats in the Grytviken area since bait was spread by helicopter in the summer.

Larger areas of the island will be cleared of rats over the next couple of years, and removal of the reindeer population is also planned. Removing the introduced species will allow the native species to flourish on the island.

The latest news on the Habitat Restoration Project is available on the South Georgia Heritage Trust website.


Wildlife and Protected Areas Bill

9th June 2010

The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands have begun a public consulation on a new Wildlife and Protected Areas bill for South Georgia. Details of the revised legislation are available on the South Georgia Government website.

The South Georgia Association will be responding to the proposals. If you would like to ensure your views are taken into account, you are welcome to contact us directly - or why not make your views known on the new legislation thread on the SGA forum! Signing up is easy, and we'd welcome discussion from members and others with an interest in South Georgia.


Rat Eradication

6th June 2010

The South Georgia Government have given the go-ahead to the South Georgia Heritage Trust's plan to eradicate rats from South Georgia.

Brown rats were introduced to South Georgia by sealers and whalers and now occupy the entire north-eatern coast of the island and the southern coast at the north-west end. Mice are also present in some areas of the island. Rats predate on ground nesting birds such as the South Georgia pipit and small petrels and the South Georgia pipit is absent from all rat infested areas. The eradication of rodents from South Georgia was identified as a high priority in the GSGSSI Plan for Progress. Over the last five years the South Georgia Heritage Trust have been developing plans and raising funds to undertake the eradication. The presence of glaciers on South Georgia, which isolate sections of the island, means that the eradication can be undertaken in stages. However the rapid retreat of many of the glaciers increases the urgency of undertaking an eradication programme.

More details can be found on the Government website. You are also welcome to read the SGA response to the proposals.


SGA benches installed at Grytviken

16th January 2010

Three sturdy wooden benches commissioned by the SGA have been handed over to the island to let weary visitors (and residents!) rest and relax while taking in the stunning scenery and wildlife.

The benches were skillfully hand-built by Thies Matzen, who has been living on South Georgia for the last few months on his historic yacht, Wanderer III. Thies constructed the benches in the museum workshop. The benches are very solidly built to withstand the worst of South Georgia weather.

We'd like to extend our grateful thanks to Thies for the hours he has spent in building the benches, and to the South Georgia Museum for offering to look after the benches for us. We're sure they will be appreciated by many over the coming years!


David Drewry elected chair

The 8th AGM of the Association was held at the Royal Overseas League, London, on the 29th May. As well as committee reports, we heard messages from the South Georgia Heritage Trust, Oyas Venner, Howard Pearce (until recently the commissioner of SGSSI), and government officers. Professor Nick Owens, director of the British Antarctic Survey, gave a talk on the scientific work the Survey is undertaking around South Georgia.

Professor David Drewry was elected chair of the Association at the meeting. David has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull since 1999. He was educated at the University of London (Queen Mary College) and holds a Doctorate in Geophysics from Cambridge University, Emmanuel College (where he is Honorary Fellow).

He was previously Director-General of the British Council (1998-99), Deputy Chief Executive at the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)(1994-97), Director of the British Antarctic Survey(1987-94), and Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (1983-87).

David will be taking up the post in January. David Tatham will continue as acting chairman in the meantime.


"Making History" - Radio 4, Tues 9th June

In the 9th June episode of 'Making History', presenter Vanessa Collingridge talks about life on South Georgia with one of the few surviving members of the British whaling fleet.

More details can be found on the 'Making History' website. If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to the programme via the BBC i-Player.


Watercolour of Grytviken

The Association recently purchased and donated to the South Georgia Museum a watercolour of Grytviken that was found by a member in a Car Boot Sale. We believe that it was painted during Governor Hodson's visit to the islands in 1928, details of which were published in a recent Falkland Islands Journal. The Artist is unknown and any suggestions are most welcome.