Hobart’s role in Antarctic Exploration

People may not be aware of the historical richness of Hobart in Tasmania in relation to Antarctica. Most of the greats of Antarctic exploration had a connection to this town. Biscoe, Dumont D’Urville, Ross, Bernacchi, Borchgrevink, Weddell, Mawson, Amundsen, Franklin, Furneaux, Crozier and others. As a staging point for Antarctic expeditions, Hobart was in an ideal position and is still today one of the Antarctic gateway cities. Not everyone used it though and Scott and Shackleton never came here but they still had some connections to it.
The author of this article tells  one story from its rich history. Roald Amundsen is probably most famous for being the first to reach the South Pole in the ‘race’ against Robert Falcon Scott. Tragically, Scott and his companions died in their attempt. While they were still trudging through the snow, Amundsen had completed his mission and returned to his base camp, boarded his ship, Fram, and headed back to Hobart.
On his trek to the Pole, Amundsen slept in a small, cramped tent with his companions, while the Antarctic winds battered it from all sides, but I don’t recall him ever complaining. However, when he arrived back in Hobart on the 7th March, 1912, after his epic adventure he described his hotel room as ‘miserable and small’. He wrote in his diary that he was treated as a tramp.
This wasn’t so surprising when you consider that he didn’t announce his arrival, was wearing a seaman’s sweater, peaked cap, speaking with a foreign accent and perhaps looking worse for wear after 99 days of trekking in the ice. To the owners of Hadley’s Hotel he looked like someone who might skip out without paying but they gave him a cramped room under the stairwell anyway.
The next day Amundsen went to have photographic plates developed and sent a coded telegram to his brother to give to the King of Norway announcing his success in reaching the Pole. A few days later when the news reached the media his hotel lobby was crowded with reporters. He was no longer the foreign tramp but Amundsen the great explorer. A thanksgiving service was held for him in the cathedral opposite the hotel and boat races held in his honour. Amundsen hosted a dinner for his entire crew at Hadleys and his earlier treatment was forgiven and forgotten.
If you go today to the Grand Mercure Hadleys Hotel you’ll find the Amundsen Suite, a grand double suite, which is nothing like the small room Amundsen actually spent a few nights in.

Thanks and credit to Robert Evans at:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/2212798205/?hoisted_section_header_type=recently_seen&multi_permalinks=10163721019658206