Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Correspondence of Douglas Mawson, 29 September - 16 October 1911
MLMSS 171/vol. 14/pp. 261-263, 265, 289-291, 295
Commander Antarctic Expedition,
I am desirous of offering my services as photographer and kinematographer to the expedition. Have had over II (eleven)years practical experiencein every branch and have given considerable time to scientific research in photo-micrography and Natural History. My work is well known throughout Australasia and I have much pleasure in mentioning as references Mr J.J.Rouse, Aust KodaK Ltd:Mr John Harrington, Harringtons Ltd:Mr LeSeouf,Royal Zoological Society: Mr Hallman,Museum: Mr R H Branguin Sydney TechnicalCollege: or in fact any of the leading amateurs or professionals of Sydney.
I an 26 Years of age and unmarried,and have had a good share of "roughing it ". At present I have a large commercial Photographic business and have much pleasure in inviting you to my rooms to see my work. As I have a very keen interest in the expedition and its object, I am prepared to offer my services absolutely free and any competitive arrangement I shall be pleased to submit to. Also hold Sydney Tech College,Honors certificates for Electrics .
(Dr Mawson 2)
I need scarcely add that in the interests of science and love of photographic art no diligent perseverance, thought and originality would be lacking to ensure success in my department,
J F Hurley
22 Lodge St
6th October, 1911.
South Antarctic Expedition,
I hear that my son, Mr J.F. Hurley, has applied
for the position of Cinematographer and General Photographer
to your Expedition. Now I tell you this is not in fairness
to himself, as he has an internal complaint, and 1 am certain
he is not strong enough for the position. He has never roughed
it in any way during his life, and has lung trouble so bad that
I do not think he would come back if he started, and in justice
to myself I think you should put him right out of your mind.
In conclusion, I want to ask you a favour, and that
is, do not mention to my son that I have written you, and you will
(Mrs) M.A Hurley
The Gaumont Co., Ltd,
379 George Street,
University, 16th October, 1911
In reply to your further communication of the 14th with regard to the rumour concerning Mr. Hurley's condition, you will have before this have received 2 Medical Certificates. Mr. Hurley assures me that there is absolutely no truth whatever in any rumour that may be current, that he has Lung trouble. He is much exercised to learn the source whence the rumour comes and we think you may take it that it is not correct. For your own sake as well as our own, we want to see you have the right man on the expedition, for it would be not only a direct monetory loss, both to your expedition, and our company as well as more particularly a source of great embarrassment and did weight for you to carry, if you unfortunately took away a man in any way weak, or unfit. To the best of our knowledge, Mr. Hurley is well and sound, but you will have an opportunity to examine Mr. Hurley's condition before he actually leaves with the expedition.
So far as Mr. Hurley's abilities as a Photographer are concerned, (?) in our opinion is the better man of the 2 that you mention. Our own man as a Cinematographer, we are quite prepared to place against almost anyone you care to name in this country.
Now we want you to please take the following words or two of advice in the spirit they are intended. We are perfectly willing for Primmer to go with you if you desire, but really we hardly think that it would be necessary and to your benefit, to take him in addition to Hurley. We think in thus advising we are consulting your interests quite as much as our own. By the time that we have got through with Hurley, he will know perfectly well what is to be done and how to get the best results
with the Cinematograph Camera. Of the two you would say that physically Primmer is a stronger man. The journey that he has just accomplished is a most trying and difficult one, and has undoubtedly got him into good condition.
If there is any further information that you are in need of, please advise us at once, and we will endeavour to the best of our ability to help you in any way.
Believe us, remain,
For the Gaumont Agency,
F. Grant. Manager.