Swedish South Polar Expedition, 1901-03

Hugh Osborne FRPSL

Despite earlier exploitation, South Georgia remained uninhabited, but proved useful to Antarctic Expeditions, the Swedish no exception.  Their ship, SY Antarctic, visited the Island 22 April – 15 June 1902 enabling Captain CA Larsen to explore Cumberland Bay.  During his stay, Larsen selected the location for his future whaling station.

1902 (18 June) Postcard sent from Stanley but written in South Georgia, just off-shore in local waters

Sent by CA Larsen, soon after arrival at Stanley on 11 July with SY Antarctic ex Antarctica, via South Georgia. He wrote to Baron Conrad Falkenberg, who was married to one of Expedition Leader Otto Nordenskjöld’s sisters, Elsa. Franked with a FI QV 1d tied by 22.JU.02 type F.4A datestamp.

The picture side of this homemade card shows an elephant seal (produced made by an expedition member from a photo glass plate).

The message reads: “18/6 1902   Mr Baron,  A Greeting from (“Syd Georgias”) South Georgia’s inhabitants I send you with wishes for the well being of you and your family.  Hearty Greetings, CA Larsen”.

The only known item sent from South Georgia by members of this expedition, and as far as known, it is indeed, the earliest known piece of mail actually written on South Georgia!

Postcard – South Georgia pitching the tent in Cumberland Bay, 28 May 1902

Wharton CI-1 Published in 1902 when the Expedition returned to Stanley