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Encyclopedia > Stromness (South Georgia)

Stromness is a former whaling station on the northern coast of South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic. Its historical signifigance is that it represents the destination of Ernest Shackleton's epic rescue journey in 1916. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, also claimed by Argentina. ... Portrait of Ernest Henry Shackleton Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton CVO, OBE (February 15, 1874 – January 5, 1922) was an Anglo-Irish explorer, now chiefly remembered for his Antarctic expedition of 1914–1916 in the ship Endurance. ...


In 1907 a "floating factory" was erected in Stromness Harbor; the land station being built in 1912. Stromness operated as a whaling station from 1912 until 1931. In 1931 it was converted into a ship repair yard with a machine shop and a foundry. It remained operational until 1961 when the site was abandoned.


In 1916, Ernest Shackleton and a small crew landed on the unpopulated southern coast of South Georgia at King Haakon Bay after an arduous sea voyage from Elephant Island in a 22' lifeboat. Shackleton along with Tom Crean and Frank Worsley then trekked across South Georgia's mountainous and glaciated interior in an effort to reach help on the populated northern shore of the island. After 36 hours of crossing the interior they arrived at the Stromness administration center which also was the home of the Norwegian whaling station's manager. This building has been dubbed the "Villa at Stromness" because it represents relative luxury compared to its surroundings. A NASA satellite photograph of Elephant Island Elephant Island is an ice-covered, mountainous island off the coast of Antarctica in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands in the Southern Ocean. ... Tom Crean with sled dog puppies, circa 1914 Not to be confused with Victoria Cross recipient Thomas Joseph Crean Tom Crean (20 July 1877 – 27 July 1938) was an Irish Antarctic explorer. ... Worsley aboard the Endurance Frank Worsley (1872 – 1943) was a New Zealand sailor and explorer. ...


In the decades following its closure, Stromness has been subject to damage from the elements and many of its buildings have been reduced to ruins. However, recent efforts have been made to restore the "Villa" and clean up debris from the rest of the site in order to make it safe for visitors. Outside of Stromness is a small whalers' cemetery with 14 grave markers.


External sites:

  • Regional Maps of Stromness
  • Photo of Stromness from the Harbor

 
 

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