The Library has recently acquired a journal recording the first Russian Antarctic expedition in 1819-21.

Explore the 1819-21 Russian Antarctic expedition journal record in Trove

Kazanskīĭ vi︠e︡stnik, published in 1821 by the Imperial Kazan University, includes an early eyewitness account of the voyage, as detailed in the letters of Ivan Simonov. Simonov was a Professor at Kazan University and the expedition’s astronomer aboard the Vostok. In the June 1821 issue of the journal he shared his experiences and impressions during the expedition's Australian layover in March 1820. Simonov highlighted the achievements of the then-Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, in his admiration of the State’s schools and hospital. His account provides a valuable personal perspective of the early colonial settlement and the surrounding landscape of Port Jackson. 

The title page of a book written in Russian.
Kazanskīĭ vi︠e︡stnik (detail), 1821, nla.obj-3334206423

The expedition and the Vostok were commanded by Gottlieb von Bellingshausen who, alongside Captain Lazarev of the Mirny, made many important Arctic discoveries. Their voyage mapped the southern shore of South Georgia Island and documented three Traversay islands in the South Sandwich group. The expedition also proceeded further south in an unsuccessful search of Terra Australis (a hypothetical continent south of Australia). During the expedition, Bellingshausen observed what is now known as the Antarctic continental ice shelf and later became known as the ‘discoverer’ of continental Antarctica. 

An old map of Antarctica from 1842.
Benedetto Marzolla, Carta generale dell' Antartica, 1842, nla.obj-232378909

The Library has acquired several books and maps relating to Bellingshausen’s Antarctic expedition, and proactively collects material relating to Antarctica. Continue learning about this expedition through our catalogue, including the 1831 official account of the voyage.