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Man’s best friend(s) to finally have their day

Jack Ward
Dogs and their Antartica Explorers
An exhibition paying tribute to dogs in Antartica begins tomorrow at Canterbury Museum  Wikimedia Commons

Antarctica's canine explorers will finally get the recognition they deserve with an exhibition commemorating their feats beginning tomorrow.

The exhibition at Canterbury Museum has been in the planning process since November last year.

It chronicles the lives of dogs in Antarctica from their arrival in 1899 until the last dogs to leave the ice in 1994.

Jill Haley, the head curator at Canterbury Museum said the exhibition’s primary goal wasn’t about the history of dogs in Antarctica, but rather to show "an appreciation of them and their contributions to Antarctica in exploration".

Haley wanted the exhibition to be a place to "celebrate and commemorate and remember their contributions".

The exhibition is dear to Haley’s heart as she has been researching this topic since 2016 and she owns two Husky crosses herself.

One of the experts who was interviewed for the exhibition was Frank Graveson, a field assistant and dog handler in the 1960s.

Graveson was part of the last sizable expedition to Antarctica that included dogs, 36 in total, from October 1963 to February 1964. 

He said having the dogs was essential as the work they were doing could not have been done without them.

For Haley, the lesson she would like people to take away from the exhibition was the fact that these were dogs, not just tools used to haul equipment across the ice.

The exhibition will run until March next year.