SYDNEY – Over 20 prominent landmarks across Antarctica will be named after Lassesen, Pavlova and Alexandra, the dogs that took part in the first Australian expeditions to the region, the Australian Antarctic Division Place Names Committee officials said on Wednesday.
These huskies were part of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914) led by Australian Douglas Mawson (1882-1958), whose expeditions allowed the country to claim 42 percent of the White Continent as its territory.
“The dogs were used for expedition transport, pulling sleds laden with supplies, as well as providing companionship for the men,” Gillian Slocum, the chair of the committee, said in a statement.
A total of 26 islands, rocks and reefs located near Cape Denison, where Mawson had set up his base camp, will be renamed after the dogs who led that historic expedition, the committee announced.
“While some of the dogs returned to Australia, others had unfortunately perished in the harsh conditions,” Slocum added.
Slocum also explained that the names of the most important dogs will be immortalized for their contribution to Antarctic exploration.
“Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen gifted Mawson a husky named Lassesen, in honor of the dog that was with him when he reached the South Pole in 1911. Lassesen Island in the Mackellar Islands is named after Mawson’s dog,” Slocum said.
An island will bear the name of Pavlova, a husky who was named after the famous Russian ballerina, a personal friend of Britain’s Belgrave Ninnis, who took care of the dogs during the expeditions.
Ninnis (1887-1912) died along with six dogs when his sledge, loaded with provisions, fell through a crevasse during one of the expeditions led by Mawson to explore a coastal area around 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Cape Denison.
Female husky Alexandra, named after Queen Mother Alexandra (1844-1925), also died during the expedition and will now have another Antarctic island named after her.
Some other places on the continent will also bear the names of huskies named after British royalty, explorers, sporting champions, comedians and Greek mythology.